Do you have 15 cents to help Jerry Jones?

I consider myself an avid sports fan, and at the same time a free-market capitalist, but at some point recently I started to scratch my head and say things just aren’t adding up.

While the average American works his or her 34.4-hour workweek, our role models at the National Football League have been creating somewhat of a mess for themselves. Between perennial player antics, national anthem upheaval and the commissioner’s $50 million (or so) compensation, they have captured the attention of many, but not for the causes they intend.

As we contemplate what side of the weighty NFL issues we support, let’s review a few numbers.

In 2017, the annual median household income in the United States will be just under $60,000. Of that, about $8,200 will be paid in taxes to the federal government. State taxes vary, so let’s call that another $3,000. Of the $48,800 that remains, the average family will spend $19,200 in housing costs, and if that same family skimps on food, they will spend another $7,500. This will leave approximately $22,000 to cover clothing, health care, transportation and other costs of living.

In a parallel universe, the average NFL player makes 31 times what this household makes per year, while the average owner brings in closer to 2,000 times that income. And can you believe it? Jones, the Dallas Cowboys owner, is actually balking at paying the “Commish,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, a mere 833 times (or so) the household median income.

A few other numbers on which to reflect concern the support that all of us provide our “struggling” friends at the NFL. Of the 31 current NFL stadiums, 29 of them were financed in part with taxpayer dollars. How much have we all contributed? Well, if you divide $7 billion across all 300-plus million of us, it’s really not that much ($21.67 per person). Oh, and dang it, I almost forgot that the good old citizens of the U.S. of A. are kind enough to extend 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status to the NFL, which costs us a little bit more, but who’s counting at this point?

Since this is one of our favorite pastimes, and since that median household has a few spare bucks this year, is it too much to ask that four-person household to tighten its budget a little more and give the NFL owners 60 cents (15 cents/person) to cover Goodell’s salary next year so that instead of arguing, they can get back to focusing on how the fans and citizens of this country can better support them?

Oh, and as to whether the NFL should stand during the national anthem: Given all these numbers, I would think the commissioner, the owners and every single player in the NFL would not only happily stand for the anthem, but excitedly sing Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.” as an encore.


Matt Coumbe lives in Eden Prairie.