Football Players Make More Money Than Soldiers and Teachers

Several times in the past few years I have seen people on the internet complaining that players in the NFL make more money than the soldiers and sailors in our military. I’ve also seen the variant complaining that players in the NFL make more money than schoolteachers.

Now before I get into numbers, let me say that I support the military. Their job is very dangerous, and they sacrifice much so that we can live free. Also, the thought of spending seven hours a day alone with thirty children five days a week for nine months makes me shudder. God bless all those of you who do it.

On to the numbers. In the NFL there are 53 players per team. If we multiply that by all 32 teams times the league minimum salary of $405K, we get a total of $686,880,000. When we divide that by the total number of active duty personnel the United States currently fields (1.43 million), we get $480 per year for each soldier or sailor. I think they would pass.

Or, to look at this another way, we could pay each active duty soldier/sailor the same that the poorest football player gets: $405K, and that would total 579 Billion dollars. That’s 20% of our federal budget. And that’s just the league minimum. What if we paid these soldiers the league average salary of $1.9 million? That would amount to $2.7 trillion dollars, which is just short of our annual national income of 2.9 trillion. That doesn’t leave much money for anything else.

If we substitute teachers for soldiers, it gets even worse, because while there are 1.43 million soldiers, there are over seven million teachers in the United States. That would total thirteen trillion dollars, if we wanted to pay these teachers as much as the average football player makes. People, our country only takes 2.9 trillion from us citizens every year, so this is obviously untenable.

So why do football players get paid so much more than soldiers? Because we live in a free market society, and fans are willing to pay admission to the games, they buy licensed products, they watch the games on TV, and they CHOOSE to spend their money on football. Is there anything wrong with this? Absolutely not. Teachers and soldiers are paid by the government. The government only has one source of income: YOU. So the next time you feel it necessary to complain that soldiers or teachers (or anybody really) makes less money than NFL players, stop spending your time and energy on football and send that money to your nearest army or navy base. Ask the base to divide the total among the soldiers. Anything less is hypocritical.

You can either be part of the solution, or you can be part of the (perceived) problem. You make the call.


About Steve Picray

I am the current pastor of the Rapids Street Baptist Church in Adel, Iowa. Every day I commit my life to Jesus Christ. I am also a registered nurse working to support my ministry and my wife and three kids. I am a conservative Baptist. This blog is my view on life. My prayer is that, by reading what I write, you will learn more about me, more about God, and be assisted in becoming the person God means for you to be. If you have a question, just e-mail me at spicray AT gmail DOT com. God Bless!
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33 Responses to Football Players Make More Money Than Soldiers and Teachers

  1. booby bobber says:

    I totally agree.

  2. thomas says:

    Exactly why there shouldn’t be such a thing as a free education or free defense.

  3. Jaydon says:

    I think they should, my dad is in the US Army and is a staff sergeant and has been stationed in germany, been to iraq two times, afghanistan 2 times and saudi arabia once, he is going to Afghanistan again cause of ISIS, ISIS is stupid and insecure people who don’t know what they are getting into.

    • Jaydon says:

      They need to reverse salaries, Football switches with soldiers.

    • Steve Picray says:

      While I understand what you’re saying, it’s not really possible. Thank you for your sacrifice and please thank your dad for his service. I have never been in the military, but several members of my family have (including my dad and all my uncles). I wish there was enough money to pay soldiers millions of dollars, but there’s not enough money in the world to pay soldiers what they are worth.

      I will be praying for your Dad’s safety, Jaydon, along with the rest of our brave men and women.

      • rley says:

        then why don’t we stop paying NFL players so much money give them like 100k a year our soldiers are whats making us a free country if we had no soldiers we all be under chaos and isis would be taking us over. how about every us citizen pays the government to pay our soldiers if there just paying for nfl games and products why not give to our soldiers.

        • Steve Picray says:


          Thanks for your comment. So you’re suggesting we lower the per-player salary to 100K? So if we did that, and then used the money left over (take 100K times 53 players times 32 teams and then subtract that from the total salary cap budget for all 32 teams) this would get us about 4.4 billion dollars, which, when split up among the 1.43 million military service members, would get each of them an extra $3076. Not exactly the salary boost you were looking for, was it?

          As far as your other suggestion (“how about every US citizen pays the government to pay our soldiers…”), where exactly do you think the money comes from that the govt pays soldiers right now? That’s right: us. We pay taxes, and the government uses those taxes to pay soldiers (among other things). So you’re suggesting we increase defense spending? Write to your congressperson. I’m all for it.

          • Nicolas says:

            when you reply to this comment you say that it only applies to football players , but if we gave less money to all sectors that earn much more than they deserve , that amount would rise greatly . I am not a partisan for the military expense and as an european i can tell you one thing i hate this sod , we need socialism, but as long as there are borders and that the whole world isnt one big country we wont be able to tax rich people , because those rich people can always flee to another tax haven : look france 75 % tax on the rich ; ******* french citizen leave france 😞 , thus i hate our world…

            • Steve Picray says:

              What sectors “earn much more than they deserve”? And what this comes down to is that the American people are willing to give their money to the NFL, which pays their players. It’s how capitalism works. All it would take for NFL players to make less money would be for the public to stop buying tickets, stop buying the merchandise, the jerseys, etc. And stop paying for the games to be broadcast. I guarantee the NFL would very quickly not be able to play the players millions of dollars.

              As far as your taxing rich people, I think you don’t understand how economics works. Rich people want to keep their money and make more money, so they create businesses to make more money. These businesses have to hire people, who get paid by the rich people to do things. They then are able to support their families. In the society you envision, the government takes all the money belonging to the rich people, and makes everybody poor (or at least equal, which is the same thing). They tried this in Russia, in Cuba, other places. It’s called Communism and it doesn’t work. Now the one place communism works is China, because they started infusing their communism with some capitalism. Turns out communism works if it’s really capitalism in disguise.

          • Andrew says:

            It’s a boost none the less, it’s a start

            • Steve Picray says:

              The point is that football players make what they do because there are millions of people who choose to spend their money buying NFL things and going to NFL games. That’s where the money comes from. You want an example? Look at the NBA vs the WNBA. People want to watch the NBA, and so they pay big bucks on tickets, etc. So the teams can pass that on to the players. But the WNBA? I don’t know anybody that watches it. They have far fewer fans, and so their players get paid way less.

              The solution to paying soldiers more and football players less is to convince people to choose to spend their money on soldiers instead of football. It’s a free market.

  4. I think that there should be a program or something for our military soldiers that is conjoined with the nfl so that when the people pay for the nfl stuff the arer helping the military finances. i am a huge nfl fan but my dad served in the army also and what it did to him is unspeakable and prbably happens to many othersPart of the reason that football players get such a high salary is because of the risk factor of them getting hurt. If that’s the case why don’t our soldiers get paid triple what NFL players make? i hope that you agree.

    • Steve Picray says:

      Did you read my post? You’re seriously suggesting soldiers get paid triple what NFL players make? That would mean the 1,430,000 active duty servicemen/women would each receive $1,215,000 per year. That means our military budget for salaries alone (not including weapons, bombs, ammunition, ships, tanks, planes, etc.) would be a whopping $1,737,450,000,000. That’s 1.7 TRILLION dollars.

      Our current spending for defense is only $596,000,000 (Billion). You’re proposing that we TRIPLE defense spending, and that’s not including equipment.

      And the league minimum mentioned in my post for NFL players was for 2013. That figure goes up $15K every year. In 2015 that figure is actually $435,000, but I’ve used the 2013 figure in the post to stay consistent.

  5. kaitlyn says:

    I don’t think its an agree or disagree topic. I think it just happens..people above don’t understand that it isn’t the government paying them its the league, the people who tune in to watch sunday football or the people who buy season tickets. My father was in the air force, we weren’t rich in anyway, People go into the armed forces for two reasons 1. to protect our loving land. 2. to have a better life when they come out. That’s what I think it’s all about. They pay for schooling and education, and having that on your resume looks so much better. My father now gets paid more than enough and has a great job because of the experience he had in the air force. It’s all about patience. Money is NOT everything.

  6. JT Wixom says:

    Or they could just pet the soldiers more and not pay the football players not as much

    • Steve Picray says:

      How much should they give each soldier? Did you read the post?

      Here, let me elaborate. The salary cap for each of the 32 NFL teams is $155,270,000. They spend the whole thing. That means that if you add up the salaries of every single NFL player, it comes to almost 5 trillion dollars. If you divided that by the 1.4million active duty military members, if the NFL players played for nothing, and gave their entire salary to the military, each soldier/sailor would get an annual raise of $3500. That’s a raise of about $67 per week. Not exactly life changing.

      But also you missed the point entirely, which was that the reason that these players make any money at all is that Americans are buying merchandise, tickets, and television programming. Americans are giving their money freely to the NFL instead of to the military. So all you have to do is convince those around you to stop giving their money to the NFL and start sending it to soldiers.

  7. Jewls says:

    I’m appalled, that football players and baseball,basketball, any sports players make so much money, my question to all of you mostley the origination of sports are ok withvthis, for onething due they save lives, due they give the right message of life? You all should be ashamed

  8. Andrew says:

    I totally agree with a lot of people on here but if you think about it your ideas are just on this screen, so I would suggest some of you make your letters become a reality because the worst part is that it’s the government that controls it not us and plus the thing is if you care so much then why haven’t any of you done something about it other than complain about it on whatever device you’re on

  9. Eleida Diaz says:

    Exactly…..i think they should tax million dollar athletes a whole lot more than your average citizen and maybe schoolteachers should be given a tax cut and soldiers shouldnt have to pay taxes at all…….

    • Steve Picray says:

      I would agree with active duty military being exempt from taxes, but I don’t agree that athletes should have to pay MORE. They already pay about half their salary in taxes. How much more do you want to gouge them, considering they are putting their careers on the line almost every game??

  10. Sandi C says:

    Before you ask, yes I did read the article, I get it. The NFL pays the football players NOT the government. In a PERFECT world, the NFL would donate some of that money to the government, specifically for US soldiers, (making sure it was acceptable by players of course) that being said this is not a Perfect world and never will be, it is what it is, and it sucks!

    • Steve Picray says:

      Well, the NFL plays the players out of the money that they get from the public. If the public didn’t spend any money on it, their salaries would drop drastically. See: WNBA vs NBA. The NBA players make about 100 times what the WNBA players make, and it’s not because of the gender difference. It’s because the WNBA’s average attendance is about 7300 and the NBA’s is about 20,000 per game. The WNBA average ticket price is about $50 while the average ticket for the NBA is about $150.

      So if these people really want the NFL players to make less money (I don’t think they should), they should spend less of their money on the NFL. And if they think teachers should make more money, they should just give some of their money to a teacher.

  11. nathaniel says:

    this is so stupid. you dont say anything good. you put all the blame on us and make the government seem poor. Look stupid: the USA is in debt 13 trillion dollars so i think we should all start paying attention to the people who can get killed and see people get killed, and even KILL instead of some idiots who run with a ball down a field. You are all idiots. This concludes my rant. Get lives.

    • Steve Picray says:

      Nathaniel, I don’t say anything good? I’m simply pointing out the inherent fallacy in the statement that we should pay soldiers the same that we pay football players. There’s 1,696 NFL players and 1,430,000 soldiers and sailors. There are 843 times more people in the military than there are NFL players. So every dollar you take from a football player to give to soldiers would have to be broken into 843 parts. The total salary cap paid to the entire 1,696 players is almost 5.4 billion dollars. If we just took all that money away from the NFL so those guys got paid nothing at all, and divided it among the 1.4 million military members, they would each get paid $3700 more per year. That’s a raise of $71 per week.

      And my point was simple: The only reason the NFL players get paid that much is because WE are choosing to give them our money. Don’t like that soldiers get paid less than athletes? Start giving your money to soldiers.

  12. nathaniel says:

    oh yeah… we should probably pay them minimum nfl salary and pay the nfl their salary or are you all to stupid to realize that????????????????????? :<

    • Steve Picray says:

      Nathaniel, again, if we paid the 1.43 MILLION soldiers/sailors the NFL league minimum salary, that would cost the taxpayer $580 BILLION dollars per year. That’s 1/6th of our national budget. It would never work.

      And we live in a capitalist system, so the only reason NFL players get paid as much as they do is that people are willing to pay their own money to the NFL. Are you saying that the NFL shouldn’t be allowed to pay their players with the money they get from selling tickets and jerseys and bath towels?

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