Blog Entry

The Daily Shoutout: New info on NFL career length

Posted on: September 15, 2011 4:51 am
Edited on: September 15, 2011 10:58 am

OPENING HIT: The following is a subject that will likely cause great debate. I can tell you some NFL players will react almost violently to it.

Later Thursday morning the NFL will release information from a study that shows there's been a dramatic shift in the length of careers of NFL players. I've gotten a copy of the information and if the numbers are accurate they show NFL players have twice the length of careers as previously thought.

Now this is sure to cause many veteran players pause. They are likely not to believe the numbers. Indeed some players I contacted expressed doubt the statistics were accurate.

But again, if they are, this is pretty remarkable news.

Here is a portion of what the NFL says: "Based on statistical analysis by NFL Management Council and AonHewitt, the 206 drafted rookies who began their careers on NFL 53-man rosters this past weekend will have an average NFL career length of nearly seven years (6.86). Including the 60 undrafted rookies on Kickoff Weekend 2011 rosters – the most since 65 in 2003 -- the expected average career length of a 2011 rookie still exceeds six years (6.36)."

It was previsouly believed the avereage career length was around threee years. So the NFL is saying a new analysis shows that a decades-long belief is incorrect. The NFL said something similar during the lockout and it caused some union members' heads to explode. Now the NFL is claiming to offer concrete proof that today's players will have careers a lot longer than players in years past.

Which is pretty interesting. 

The release from the NFL continues: "NFL Management Council calculated average expected NFL career length using statistics from its prior study on career expectancy for players entering the league between 1993 and 2002. 120 of the players entering the league during that time period earned spots on 2011 Kickoff Weekend rosters.

The average current experience listed on 2011 opening-day rosters is 4.3 years. However, this number does not represent average expected career length."

Again, if true, this all fairly stunning. It will be interesting to see how players react as this news becomes public.

This information could represent the fact that the league's increased safety measures for its players -- better protection for concused players, less physical contact during drills, the new kickoff rules which decrease violent collisions -- will help lengthen careers.

So fairly remarkable stuff, yes. But think about it even if the average career length doubles for NFL players to almost seven years that's still only seven years. That's not a whole lot, is it? That demonstrates the fragility of even these players who are the toughest and greatest athletes in the world.

Nonetheless this could still be good news for today's NFL player.

Category: NFL

Since: Sep 16, 2006
Posted on: September 16, 2011 10:00 am

The Daily Shoutout: New info on NFL career length

The 3 to 4 year average number was based on EVERY player to ever be in camp, not just the active roster. To me a player should not be counted unless they actually play in a regular season game, you have players that never play on every team in the NFL.  Some teams carry a 3rd sting QB that never sees the field of play, true they can get hurt in practice just the same as a game, which is why the NFL uses players that make the active roster. The players want every player that ever practices with a team to count.

Since: Apr 14, 2007
Posted on: September 15, 2011 8:41 pm

The Daily Shoutout: New info on NFL career length

Serphnx that's okay, you didn't understand nearly every aspect of the lock put either. What it means is just another example of the NFLPA using false information to mislead players. If course the NFL did their homework, it is of course their business. Players are just temporary help.

Since: Sep 25, 2009
Posted on: September 15, 2011 5:59 pm

The Daily Shoutout: New info on NFL career length

I don't know how this makes much difference. 

Since: Sep 28, 2006
Posted on: September 15, 2011 4:34 pm

The Daily Shoutout: New info on NFL career length

The numbers use to include guys that were on the team but did not make the Active Roster.  Notice in their wording they were very specific about Active Roster. The players always liked including all the guys that never made an Active Roster because that drove the number way down so they could justify how much money they were demanding.

There is always unsigned guys that can be signed if an injury happens during the season so the number can be slightly skewed from the pure math stated below.

The point is the average career length has always been higher than 3 years. I tried to explain this during the lockout but the anti-owner posters just could not grasp it.

Since: Aug 14, 2006
Posted on: September 15, 2011 11:47 am

The Daily Shoutout: New info on NFL career length

DOh... other way around  faster at 22 than at age 27...

Since: Aug 14, 2006
Posted on: September 15, 2011 11:32 am

The Daily Shoutout: New info on NFL career length

pennlion, Exactly what I was calculating when all this 3 year crap was being tossed around when 18 game debate was going on.  I could not figure out where all these players were coming from if they only added 266 a year to the league but losing over 500 (number needed if average is only 3 years).  Plus there is canadian league and arena league that lengthens the players career.  It is not injuries that keeps this number at around 6-7 years also.  It is expectations that newer is better and you don't run or play as fast at age 22 then you do at age 27.  LETS GO TO 18 GAMES ALREADY!!!  Preseason blows.

Since: Sep 15, 2011
Posted on: September 15, 2011 10:19 am

The Daily Shoutout: New info on NFL career length

There is very simple math at work here. It does not take a study. 32 teams times 53 players equals 1696 total players. If 266 new players join the league every year, that is a turn over every 6.37 years. (What do you know, that is what the study shows)

It is impossible to not have an average career that simply equals total players divided by new players each year. 1696/266=6.37.

This is math, pure and simple. Some players will leave in one year, some will leave in 20 years, but the average has to be the same. I hope the NFL didn't spend too much money studying something that a 4th grader would know in 5 minutes.
The study should focus on average career length of players not picked in the first 2-3 rounds. That may be the 3-4 year number most players have to deal with.

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