No sporting event in America excites as many people as the Super Bowl. It takes months of intense teamwork, strategy, and a bit of luck to earn a spot in the big game. Every NFL player dreams of the big game. There is, of course, the glory and fame associated with “NFL champion.” But the other benefit involves a monetary bonus.
Making money in the NFL is risky
Many NFL players’ financial situations can be quite complicated. Most of them have contracts that are at least partly non-guaranteed. As we learn more about safety risks linked to the game, the fact that NFL players have so little financial security has become a controversial issue.
The NFL season can be a war of attrition as much as it is a competition between 32 teams. (Or maybe 31 considering what the Miami Dolphins were trying to do this year.) NFL players put their bodies on the line for the love of the game.
At the same time, the owners’ disinterest in giving out guaranteed money has a certain amount of logic. Football is so dangerous that players can end up with career-ending injuries.
It wouldn’t be prudent to pay out extensive funds in a league with a salary cap, just to watch your star player tear their ACL early in the season. This issue will likely be a talking point in the next round of labor negotiations.
How much is an NFL playoff run worth?
According to Sports Illustrated, NFL players receive annual salaries on a weekly basis in the regular season. (Teams make other payments, like signing or roster bonuses, at different times.) A few playoff incentives aside, team contracts don’t actually account for the postseason.
At this point in the season, players are paid by the NFL itself via a designated postseason fund. Each player on a 53-man roster receives the same amount for each playoff game, regardless of playing time or status during the game.
Players on the inactive or injured reserve list will also get paid during the wild-card game or divisional round. According to the NFL’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement, the payments are as follows:
- Wild-card round, division winner: $29,000
- Wild-card team: $27,000
- Divisional round: $29,000
Of course, the amount on the checks goes up as teams advance to the conference championship games, where each player makes $54,000, and the Super Bowl. Once the two conference winners survive and claim their place in the Super Bowl, they earn the biggest cash bonus on offer. The victors of the Super Bowl make $118,000 and the defeated team gets $59,000.
This number has been steadily increasing over the years. Just two years ago, the Philadelphia Eagles made $112,000 for winning the Super Bowl, and the New England Patriots made $56,000.
All in all, a player that is part of the NFL team who gets to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy up into the sky could potentially earn an extra $257,000 for their exploits.
What kind of bonus do Super Bowl winners receive?
According to the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, the winners of Super Bowl LIV will each receive a $124,000 bonus. The losers will go home with $62,000 apiece.
This means that either 49ers or Chiefs players will get $6,000 more than each member of the Patriots, who won the Super Bowl last year. The losers of Super Bowl LIV will receive $3,000 more per player than the Rams.
Although this isn’t a huge bonus for participants with huge contracts, Super Bowl bonuses are still quite hefty compared to most.
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