In 2016, the Los Angeles Rams returned to California after more than two decades away. Owner Stan Kroenke built his $5 billion-plus SoFi Stadium and a team that could make the Super Bowl. Now, with the franchise playing a home game in the Big Game, you’d think the league and the organization would want club legends like Eric Dickerson in the building for this triumphant moment.
That’s what sports talk radio hosts Maggie Gray, and Andrew Perloff assumed too, but Dickerson told them a different story. One about getting tickets that don’t show him the respect he deserves as one of the greatest players in Rams and NFL history.
Eric Dickerson is one of the best running backs in LA Rams and NFL history
Texas high school legend Eric Dickerson stayed in-state for college, spurning Texas A&M for the upstart SMU, where he became part of the iconic Pony Express backfield. He ran for 4,450 yards and scored 47 TDs at Southern Methodist, but the programs received the NCAA “death penalty” after he left for paying players.
While a standard joke at the time was that Dickerson would have to take a pay cut going to the NFL, the LA Rams drafted the talented runner No. 2 overall (behind John Elway) in the legendary 1983 NFL Draft.
The highly-touted RB didn’t disappoint in the pros either. He won Offensive Rookie of the Year over the likes of Elway and Dan Marino while leading the league in carries (390), rushing yards (1,808), total touches (441), and yards from scrimmage (2,212) in his first season.
In year two, Dickerson led the league in rushing again, this time cresting the 2,000-yard mark, and scored the most rushing touchdowns (14). Two years later put up the best rushing mark again and won the 1986 Offensive Player of the Year Award.
In 1987, the All-Pro runner and the LA Rams got locked in a contract dispute, and the team traded him to the Indianapolis Colts. He played four seasons in Indy before finishing his career with one season apiece with the LA Raiders and Atlanta Falcons.
Despite the acrimonious end, Dickerson is most associated with the LA Rams. So, with the franchise back in California and the team in the Super Bowl, you’d think Dickerson would be there.
The Hall of Fame LA Ram won’t be attending the Super Bowl
Maggie Gray and Andrew Perloff, hosts of the Maggie and Perloff show on CBD Radio, also assumed that Eric Dickerson would be attending the Super Bowl to cheer on the organization that drafted him.
They were wrong too.
After asking what time the Hall of Famer had to arrive at the stadium on Sunday for the Big Game, Dickerson explained he wasn’t attending, and the placement of the free tickets the NFL wanted to give him is the reason why:
I don’t think I’m going to the game. I’ll watch it on TV. … Let’s put it like this here, my tickets — they wanted to give me tickets in the rafters. … In the 400, the 480 section? I said, ‘I’d rather stay at home and watch it.’Eric Dickerson on watching the LA Rams in the Super Bowl
Dickerson quickly pivoted and said that the most important thing was for his beloved Rams to win the game. He also said that he gave the Super Bowl tickets to his assistant.
Is it a bad look for Dickerson to complain about the location of free Super Bowl tickets?
Everyone can draw their own conclusion, but the truth is, Dickerson gave his body to the NFL for over a decade while the Rams franchise and league made millions. Yes, he was compensated more than most players in his era, but he made little compared to what players (who he helped pave the way for) make today.
Instead of giving the best seats in the house at SoFi Stadium to the biggest bigwigs from Pepsi, Visa, FedEx, and Microsoft, the NFL could carve out a better section for the legends who made the NFL and the Super Bowl what it is today.
Dickerson’s career earnings
Eric Dickerson was one of the highest-paid players of his era (and that’s not counting his SMU days). As the No. 2 pick in 1983, he started out on a four-year, $2.2 million contract and signed a new deal with the LA Rams in 1986 for four years and $2.95M.
Unhappy with a contract he outperformed, the Rams eventually traded him to the Indianapolis Colts, where Dickerson signed a massive (at the time) three-year, $4.5M deal. When that pact ended, the RB signed a final, four-year, $11.2M deal in 1991 that took him through the end of his career.
All told, Dickerson made a tidy $18.6M in his NFL career.
While that is certainly a ton of money and a career paycheck we’d all sign up for in a heartbeat, it pales in comparison to what star players earn today.
With career earnings of $292M, Tom Brady is the highest-paid player overall in NFL history. Adrian Pederson is the highest-paid RB ever, with $103.2M in career earnings, and the Dallas Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott is the active leader at $58.2M so far.
Dickerson’s $18.6M puts him 72nd all-time among running backs.
Sure, Eric Dickerson can probably pay for his own ticket to the Super Bowl, but he shouldn’t have to. A league that rakes in billions of dollars each year should show more respect to its legends and not stick them up in the rafters for the biggest game of the year.