It’s a short season, just 17 weeks long. Yet football is the most popular spectator sport in the United States. It’s an amazing feat for a sport that was essentially rugby until 1882. That’s the year when new rules were established, giving each team three tries to advance the ball five yards.
It’s also when football fields had to start using gridiron lines. That was the only way both teams could tell how far they had to go. The early days of football were tough on the players – so tough that when Teddy Roosevelt became the nation’s president, he threatened to ban the game unless safer rules were established. Officials came up with the forward pass, so you could say we have a past president for stuffed bears and modern football. In case you’re curious, helmets weren’t mandatory for football players until 1939.
By the Numbers
The NFL has an annual revenue of $9 billion, with a profit of $1 billion. With all that revenue, the average salary of an NFL player is $2.1 million, according to Forbes. Meanwhile, NBA players earn on average slightly more than $4 million. MLB players average a little under $3 million. To put it all into perspective, the first professional football player, William “Pudge” Heffelfinger, was paid $500 to play in a game in 1892 for the Allegheny Athletic Association.
An average $4 million paycheck is nothing to sneeze at. Even so, author Pablo S. Torre told Sports Illustrated magazine that about 78% of NFL players declare bankruptcy a mere two years after finishing their careers.
NFL cheerleaders are compensated nowhere near the players. You might want to set your pompoms down for this news. They typically make only about $75 a game. Most say that deducting the cost of makeup and hairdressing results in a net loss for them.
Why do they do it? For the chance to be seen on television by millions? They don’t get much airtime, either. Back in 2014, the televised game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the New England Patriots was analyzed, minute by minute. Here’s how screen time played out:
- 35.5% – players standing around between plays
- 24.5% – TV commercials
- 10.7% – replays
- 8.3% – the actual game being played
- 4.9% – coach shots
- 3.2% – referee shots
- 3.2% – halftime
- 2.2% – sideline player shots
- 2% – on-screen promotions
- 5.5% – other (maybe this is where the cheerleaders are)
Six teams in the NFL currently do not feature cheerleaders. The most famous squad belongs to the Dallas Cowboys, a group of women and men originally known as the CowBelles & Beaux.
What We Share with Football
What do cows, former presidents, cheerleaders, and all the rest of the great sport of football have to do with Vinyl Art? For starters, many of us are big fans. The game is also a part of our business. According to sportswriter Dirk Hoag, about 1% of the population of the United States has a job in the sports industry. That’s over 3 million sports jobs.
Nobody at Vinyl Art is a player, a cheerleader, or even a referee – at least for the NFL. We are, however, deeply involved with the sport on any given Sunday. That’s when you’ll see our products in play. We make flat pockets.
Some of the 66,957 spectators who attend an average NFL game will pull their tickets out of vinyl or plastic holders like those we create here at Vinyl Art. Others who are down on the field will wear their ID protected with a badge holder and worn around their neck with a lanyard just like those we create.
Our expertise in flat pocket products keeps us on the playing field during our sporting seasons, but they’re also widely used in many other industries. And, we’ve been doing it for 40 years. So, okay. We’ve still got a way to go to catch up with Wilson – they’ve been making those pigskins for 77 years now.