It's almost Super Bowl Sunday, which means we're also perilously close to the end of the football season (that faint 'yay' you just heard coming from the middle of the country was the sound of my girlfriend cheering)
And as the season draws to an end, we can only hope that the Colts win this Sunday's match-up against the Katrina Memorial Saints. (It's not that I have anything in particular against the Saints, I just want Peyton Manning to go down as better than Tom Brady, because he is, so I'll be a Colts fan)
But more broadly, as I was listening to an NFL-related podcast, I came back to thinking about my own hypothetical football career. No, not my secret plans to make billions of dollars, buy a team and then make myself GM. What I mean are my plans to play in the NFL, if I could choose any position to play.
An important caveat, is that we aren't talking about where you'll create your digital version of yourself in Madden or some other video game. In those circumstances, you go for the glory, quarterback, running back, something flashy. You're little digital self needs to get digitally paid, digital endorsements, and dates with the little digital cheerleaders. He should go big.
But if you had to pick a position to play in the NFL, you personally had to put on a uniform and go out there every Sunday...you'd be crazy not to be a punter.
I know, I know, sounds crazy, but hear me out because I've given it some thought.
Now it's true, as a punter, you don't get the glory that the big time guys get. But if I was going to want to play in the NFL, I would want two things...
- I'd like to play for a long time
- I'd like to not get killed
And hey, if possible, I'd like to avoid getting booed to the point that I'd lash out and spit on a fan or something.
Punter, that's the safe choice.
If you want to be a running back, that's great, have a nice 4 year run until you've been tackled so hard and so long you can't get out of bed. Defensive line? That's great if you want to have the physical equivalent of a car crash 50 times a week. Quarterback? Forget about the physical pounding, you get second-guessed by every armchair genius with a TV.
When you're the punter, no one cares about you (except for the die hards, and they probably don't even care that much)
It's really hard to draw attention as a punter, and it's almost as hard to get the crowd to hate you. Whenever you come in the game, it's already 4th down, the crowd's already disappointed, they likely aren't even paying attention to what you're up to.
And you might not have a huge signing bonus or huge endorsements, but you do make a good living. A quick check of USA Today's database shows that all the punters in the league make over $330k a year, and lots of them bring home over a million.
All you have to do is watch out for those overzealous special teams players that want to light you up, and like Jeff Feagles, you can play forever.
So if you've got a kid that's looking to go pro, tell him to be smart and start kicking