Monday, February 24, 2014

7 Misconceptions About NFL Wives, Players & Families

It’s a given that wives of current NFL players and wives of former NFL players have one thing in common: Our husbands have beaten incredible odds to play football at the professional level – only .218% of American men make it to the NFL. Beyond that, though, we’re all about as diverse as fish in the sea, even though others might think differently. Here are some of the most common misconceptions that plague us all…

We’re all wealthy.
Scott and I certainly aren’t living in the poorhouse, but we’re far from Park Avenue, too. It’s easy to see why people would think all NFL players (both former and current) are rolling in dough – what with images that the media presents and given NFL salaries these days. But looks can be deceiving. Let me break it down…Scott played nearly seven years in the NFL, but the average NFL career lasts only two years – Just two years! That means most players are done way before they hit thirty. So in order to never have to work again, players must make enough to live off of for the next sixty years, which, for many players, is impossible. Players in Scott’s era (the 90s) made damn good money, but they simply did not make what players make currently – and even now, not all current players are millionaires. The bottom line is that we are careful about how we spend our money so that we can maintain the lifestyle to which we have become accustomed, which includes – but is not limited to – providing a roof over our heads complete with heat, air conditioning, and high thread-count Egyptian cotton bed sheets, keeping our bathroom closet stocked with my arsenal of hair care products, supporting my addiction to Wheat Thins and Laughing Cow cheese, and fulfilling our son’s incessant requests for Chinese take-out.

We employ hired help.
I think the aforementioned answer covers this, but, to be clear, do we have a nanny, a chef, or a maid? No, no, and no.

We spend our days lunching, manicuring, and shopping.
If by lunching you mean slapping together a PB&J in between diaper changes, and if by manicuring you mean wrestling a 35-pound toddler to the floor so that you can cut his Edward-Scissorhand-fingernails, and if by shopping you mean trolling eBay while the kids are in bed…then, yes.

Our husbands have several kids…by other women.
Scott has fathered two kids…and they were both pushed out by yours truly. I have the pooch and saddlebags to prove it.

Our husbands are dumb jocks.
For starters, have you seen an NFL playbook? It is easier to read the formula for cold fusion. (Okay, I’m totally exaggerating, here to make a point.) But, seriously, Scott earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering from Purdue University before getting drafted, and upon retirement, he earned a degree in culinary arts from the Arts Institute in New York City…after he received his teaching certification in the state of New Jersey. Nope, I didn’t just marry him for his brawn.

Our husbands are financially irresponsible.
This is my absolute favorite stereotype to debunk. Yes, Scott made good money during his playing days. Yes, he traveled a lot and lived a very comfortable lifestyle. But he never owned a Mercedes, never lived in a mansion, and never made it rain. He did, however, buy his mother a house, support his family financially, and fund a children’s foundation mostly out of his own pocket. He also paid his taxes, agents, and other dues that are part and parcel with being a professional football player. Ask Scott could he have done some things differently, and he’ll tell you yes. But does he have any regrets? No.

We groom our sons to play professional football.
I'm not going to lie: I would be proud if Scotty followed in Scott's footsteps. But I would also be proud if Scotty decided to pursue a career in medicine, science, or the arts. The bottom line is this: My son's future does not hinge on whether he becomes a professional athlete. Yeah, we’ll probably put him in pee-wee football within the next year or two, but as for setting our sights on the professional level? It’s not something I’m striving for – even though the chances of making it to the NFL nearly double for the sons of NFL players. Will Scotty feel pressure to become the third Conover to make it to the NFL? Perhaps. (Scott’s first cousin, Frank Conover, was also drafted to the NFL in the same year as Scott; more on that in an upcoming post.) But that pressure won’t come from Scott or me. First and foremost, Scott and I want Scotty to be nothing short of passionate about what he does for a living. If that means playing football, then, so be it. But this issue doesn’t just affect our sons: One of Scott’s former teammates has a daughter who played offensive line – just like her father – while she was in high school. (Now how’s that for girl power?) He had to beg her to stop for fear that she’d end up getting hurt.

Click here to read You know you’re an NFL wife when…  

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38 comments:

  1. Great Read!!! I think when the NFL went through that "strike" in 2011 (I think thats the year) everyone got a real idea of what the players and their families go through. Like how sometimes insurance isnt covered and things like that. Or maybe I should say I got an idea of what the real deal was, and how players were supposed to cover a lot of stuff out of pocket. It was very interesting...

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    1. Hi, Carissa! You are so right about that -- the real deal can often be far different than the perceived one. And don't even get me started on health care; we are fortunate to have always had insurance. But insurance, aside, it remains to be seen what will be covered what with the laundry list of injuries that pop up down the line for retired players -- injuries that players may not have signed up for simply by playing professional football. (Don't get me started.)

      Thank you for reading -- and commenting. I appreciate it.

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  2. Okay, I literally laughed out loud about your lunching, manicuring, and shopping answer. And I can't wait to read your bowling party story.

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    1. Hi, Sara! Well, it's true! lol I'm telling you, I've cut Scotty's nails down to the quick so much he runs in the other direction when he sees me with the nail clippers -- and my husband has nicknamed me "The Butcher."

      How are the nights going with K? I'm going to stop by your blog tonight after I put the kids to bed...before I start trolling eBay. ;-)

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  3. Loved the post, great points made. I think many people are too wrapped in the images they see on tv and not in the actual bigger picture ;) Look forward to more shares :)

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    1. Thank you, Mari! Yeah, you're right -- myself included. I had no real idea about any of this stuff before I met -- and married -- Scott.

      Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. (I'm still grateful for the Liebster!)

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  4. This was actually a really interesting read, thank you! We often joke that Tycho should get into professional sports so he can support us... I mean, his family down the road, but if our body types are any indication of what he'll play, we're kinda slated for a kicker. At best.

    Waterboys make good money, too, right? ;)

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    1. Hi, Stephanie! You say "actually an interesting read"...so I surprised you! I love when that happens. Thank you...I think? lol

      I'm not sure about the payday for water boys...I'll have to ask Scott about that one. Thank you for reading and for commenting.

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    2. Bahaha! It was a good surprise, I promise. We always hear only one side of the story (typically from news reporters), so firsthand experience is by far best. ;)

      Yeah, water boy may be all we get, considering his physique. But that's fine. LOL

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    3. lol Thank you. Have an awesome day. :-)

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  5. You are such a riot! I'm glad to hear your side of it. Unfortunately, it's the infamous and scandalous who make the news all the time, so it's easy to get the wrong impression. Thanks for setting us straight. :)

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    1. Lexa...hi!! I so look forward to your comments. (What time is it now in Egypt, by the way? I always wonder that when I read your words...)

      "Unfortunately, it's the infamous and scandalous..."

      ^^^THIS! You are so right. I'm not going to paint all professional football players as saints...because not all of them are. It's just that...you're right: scandal sells. I can't tell you how many times Scott and I have volunteered for a good cause for, say, the YMCA when Scott made meals for kids after school...but no one knows about that.

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    2. Egypt is 7 hours ahead of New York time. But for years I was a singer/dancer in resorts, so I got used to vampire hours -- which keeps my schedule pretty close to NY time! lol

      That's great that Scott's made meals for kids. I bet they will have happy memories of it. I'm sure he (and other NFL players) do a LOT for people who need it. Thanks for reminding us of that. :)

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    3. Okay, Lexa, each and every time you comment I learn more about you...and I like you more and more. And just so you know, I live vicariously through you.

      Thank you for the nice words about Scott.

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  6. The media sure does put sports wives and athletes in a bad light but thanks for clearing things up Courtney. I'm really glad I've met you because you really make me see things differently.

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    1. Louida, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU. Your words mean a lot. I, too, am glad we've met and have already learned so much from you. Hopefully we can meet in person one day! Scott and I have been talking about getting back down to the ATL -- my grandfather is in Stone Mountain, and his uncle is not far from there...

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  7. This is a great post. People tend to generalize others in categories, especially athletes. It's kinda sad because we do not know what happens behind closed doors. People do with their money what they please. Yes those guys are out there making money, but risking their bodies at the same time.

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    1. Thank you for the compliment, Ida! And you are right about the closed doors comment -- which is applicable to us all. I try to remind myself of that before I judge any situation. And it's funny...you're right -- players do risk their bodies to make the game what it is...and people think players make the most money out of the deal, but it's the team owners who get the largest payday. You can't buy an NFL franchise these days -- not that they ever go up for sale -- but if they did, for much less than a billion dollars -- yes, that is billion with a B. Insanity.

      Thank you so much for commenting. :-)

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  8. Culinary school - well then you kinda do have a chef! :o)

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    1. Hi, Susan! Okay. Touche. Although I may not have a chef in the conventional sense, I'd be lying if I didn't admit to Scott saving my ass in the kitchen several times over. Even Scotty knows the difference between what dad makes...and the barely edible slop mom calls a meal. :-/

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  9. One of the reasons why I thoroughly enjoy your blog is because of how candid you are. I think these bullshit shows are making it worse for athlete's families and wives (basketball wives or whatever they are called, I don't own a TV). People forget how many people are actually in the NFL, that's a whole lot of players! So we need to remember that just because the crazy ass, careless, media crazed athletes live their lives like that does not mean the other I don't know, 98% do the same.

    Now, I'm off to watch Make it Rain on YouTube.

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    1. Thank you Dina. Truth and candor: That's all I've got, really. When I sat down with Scott, and told him that I wanted to do this, I told him that my objective, of course, was not to put all of our business out on Front Street, but by the same token, I vowed that whatever I do share with my readers will be the real, cold, hard low down.

      Otherwise...what's the point?

      Thank you for the compliment. It is worth way more than you know...

      LOL!!! (about the Make it Rain video!)

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  10. Love this post, Courtney! I think you explained the myths beautifully. I enjoyed connecting with you on my facebook fan page. Thank you for linking up to Turn It Up Tuesday!

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    1. Hi, Kimberly! Thank you for the kind words. I am so glad we've "met." It was nothing short of my pleasure to be a part of TIUT -- this link-up is beyond words...thank YOU for co-hosting and helping to make this link-up what it is!!

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  11. So what you are saying is - NFL wives are women and mothers just like the rest of us. :D I think the few more flamboyant players and their celeb girlfriends create this picture that we believe the rest of the NFL looks like. Great post! Stopping by from SITS!

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    1. Yup. The few jacked up ones often give the entire group a bad name. (Want to to know something else? Much of the time when you see people who look like they're living large -- they're not. They're faking the funk, quite frankly, but I digress.) Thanks so much for stopping by...and for leaving the comment!

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  12. Haha, I love this. Being from London I know nothing about NFL or their wives. But I love your comment about having "the pooch and the saddle bags to prove it." - very funny. Look forward to more amusing posts. Love from London.

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    1. Hello!! Thank you for stopping by. I have mad love for London, and it's been far too long since I've visited -- 1995! I sure hope you come back! Thank you so, so much for commenting. :-)

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  13. Thanks for sharing information and helping to debunk the myth so many people may have. I never really knew or understood but after watching 30 by 30....it became really clear how a professional player in any game could make the money and lose the money.

    When you think about it - their earnings are in reverse to many others. I am a corporate professional and my money has grown over the years. I am making more and saving more. But when I first started out that was not the case. My first job out of grad school with both an MBA and MHA was a whopping $32K living in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area trying to pay back undergrad school loans.

    For players it is just the inverse - they make all of their money up front and it has to last 30+ years. That is a big order if you ask me. Great read - thanks for sharing. Visiting from #SITSSharefest.

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    1. You bring up *so* many valid points! I was nodding my head all the way through your comment...I hear you loud and clear about making little money on the front end: My first full-time on-air television reporting contract (with CBS WLTX-TV in Columbia, SC) I didn't even make $30,000! And most of my salary went to my AC bill. It's funny, because everyone was like. "You're on TV! So you HAVE to be rich!" They just didn't understand.

      That's the thing about making assumptions about other people's money: It's futile; especially when what you *think* someone has is basically shrouded in illusions.

      Thank you so much for not only stopping by to read, but for also taking the time to comment.

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  14. This is such a great post, and I feel you on it! My husband plays professional hockey in Europe, and there are a lot of myths going about that as well. Its so nice to have others in the same boat. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hi, Samantha! Thank you *so much* for commenting, particularly with your perspective. I'm glad you found this blog, and I hope you come back!

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  15. Thanks for letting us know the real deal because you are right we think one way because of what we see and hear on tv. The comment about the pooch and the saddlebags had me on the floor though. Nice to meet you. Gonna look around for a bit. Stopping by from SITS a day late.

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  16. Hey, I'm working my arse off trying to get these saddlebags off! lol Thank you for stopping by -- and commenting! I truly appreciate it. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday. :-)

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  17. Love love love this post!
    And about Facebook...yes it is making me so mad and I am almost not active in my FB fan page anymore.

    Maria

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    1. Thank you for the kind words, Maria!

      And boo-hiss about Facebook. I'm so not "liking" them right now. :-(

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  18. Great post. My friend's son was drafted this year. I hope he can stay as grounded as you and your husband are. Thanks for addressing the unfair stereotypes.

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    1. Thank you, Lisa! And please extend my sincerest congratulations to your friend's family...

      I appreciate your comment more than you know...

      xo

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