Broker Check
Navigating the Gridiron: A Closer Look at NFL Pensions

Navigating the Gridiron: A Closer Look at NFL Pensions

December 12, 2023

The National Football League (NFL) is a powerhouse in the world of sports, drawing millions of fans to stadiums and screens alike. However, after the thrilling games and highlight-reel plays, many players will seek out NFL pensions to be able to live comfortably in their retirement.

In this blog, we'll outline the basics of NFL pensions, exploring their impact on the lives of the athletes after the game.

The Basic Factors of NFL Pensions

The NFL's pension system is a defined benefit plan, providing retired players with a predetermined monthly payment based on a range of factors, including years of service, age at retirement, and the average salary during their highest-paid seasons.

1. Years of Service

The amount a player receives in pension benefits is closely tied to their years of service in the league. The NFL has a sliding scale that calculates the pension benefit based on the number of credited seasons they play.

2. Credited Seasons

A credited season is a season in which a player is on an active roster for at least three regular-season games. Players can accumulate credited seasons even if they don't play in every game, allowing for flexibility in reaching their pension eligibility.

3. Retirement Age

The age at which a player retires also plays a role in determining their pension benefits. While players can choose to retire at any age, the benefits increase for those who retire later, encouraging players to continue their careers and delay retirement.

NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement Post-2011

In 2011, the NFL and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) reached a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), introducing changes to the pension system. One significant change was the transition to a "2-for-1" credited season system, meaning players would need to play two seasons to earn credit for one year of pension benefits.

Disability Benefits Offered by the NFL

In addition to regular pension benefits, the NFL provides disability benefits for players who suffer career-ending injuries. These benefits, the result of a 2011 challenge by the Players Association, are designed to support players facing long-term health challenges resulting from their time on the field.

  • Players who are deemed totally and permanently disabled can receive up to $265,000 a year ($22,084 a month)
  • Most players receive about $11,500 a month
  • Players approved by doctors for the Social Security plan receive an additional $3,200 a month

Challenges and Controversies of NFL Pensions

While the NFL pension system provides financial security for many retired players, it has faced criticism. Some retired players argue that the pension benefits are insufficient, especially considering the physical toll that football takes on their bodies. 

Several former players have sought increased pension benefits and better healthcare provisions, even going so far as to file lawsuits against the league. 

ProWealth: Helping You Navigate Your NFL Pension

NFL pensions have been shaped by years of negotiations and ongoing discussions. As the league continues to evolve, so too will the conversation around player compensation, retirement benefits, and overall player welfare. 

ProWealth is here to help retired athletes navigate the world of high-performance career compensation, including NFL pensions, helping them live the retirement they desire. Reach out today.

This material was developed and prepared by a third party for use by your Registered Representative. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information.