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The big game

Unless you have been living on Venus or under a rock, you know that today (Feb. 1) is Super Bowl Sunday, and the Seahawks of Seattle face the New England Patriots in Glendale, that gleaming sports Mecca west of Phoenix.

If you are going and have one of the cheap seats, you paid $6,500 for the ticket.

The winners of today’s game will be paid $97k, the losers get $49k. Both teams earned $68k for winning two playoff games on the way to the big time. Bloomberg magazine points out that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is taking a pay cut for the superbowl. During the regular season, Brady is paid $925k per game, which over three games — today’s game plus two playoff contests — would amount to a bit less than $2.8 million. As it is, if the Pats win, Brady will pocket only a bit more than $1.6 million.

Russell Wilson, the quarterback for the Seahawks, earned a paltry $51k per game this season. So his superbowl payoff will be comparatively fat.

Still, you have to wonder if the risk is truly commensurate with the pay, or whether any amount of money is worth it. The game, particularly the professional game, is at a crossroads. In the early 20the century, the high school and colleges came under fire because players were dying — 18 in 1904. President Roosevelt told those in charge to reform it or he would shut it down. They got rid of the flying wedge among other things. Today football, including the high school and collegiate levels, faces perhaps a greater challenge because the solution is not quite as apparent. This video, pieced together from the web photos and therefore heavily pixelated, illustrates the problem better than words (music by Joshua Bell, theme from the movie Ladies in Lavender):

 

 

 

 

 

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