NFL players are notorious for going broke when they end their careers. Some of them even go all out and find themselves filing for bankruptcy. After such renowned careers and all those huge paychecks, it seems unthinkable that NFL players could ever end up broke.

But 1 in 6 of all NFL players find themselves going bankrupt. This article is going to explain why this is the case.

No Training

Going broke isn't just a problem with NFL players. It's a problem across so many aspects of society. This is because, like many undergrads, there's no direct training in how to manage money and how to prepare for the future.

Many of these NFL players came from poorer backgrounds where saving didn't happen and money was usually spent as fast as it came in. The sudden burst in income doesn't change their spending habits it merely increases the scale of the spending.

When the income drops, the spending doesn't and it eventually leads to bankruptcy.


There's no quicker way to lose all your money than to start gambling. NFL players feel like they have money to burn, and so they gamble with larger and larger amounts. This may be due to peer pressure or it may be due to an addiction.

Regardless of the reasons, gambling has a strong link with NFL players. The statistics say that least 58% of people feel excitement when they win a game. Apply this to the high-intensity culture of the NFL and you have a recipe for disaster.

Although sports and online betting are heavily restricted in the US, it doesn't seem to solve the problem.

In such a macho environment, when someone has an addiction they generally don't speak about it. This leads to a situation where all these men are forced to suffer in silence, assuming they even manage to reach the stage where they admit to themselves that they have a problem.


Divorce has an extremely high recurrence rate among NFL players. The reasons for this are debatable, but it happens all the time. Unfortunately, the US is a country where the penalty for divorce is high.

Many NFL players also have kids. Therefore, during a divorce they have to give away half of their assets to their ex-wives. Add on alimony and child support payments and the vast majority of regular income is going straight into their bank accounts and straight back out again.

This doesn't change following retirement. The consequences of a divorce persist long into the future.

Supporting a Village

A lot of players who go bankrupt feel like they have to help their fellow man. They believe that they have to support their families and friends. It leads to a situation where the player is supporting a village on their income.

The current rate of compensation in the NFL enables them to do this. On the other hand, people begin to expect the same kindnesses even after their final season has ended and their income rates have dropped.

Poor Use of Time

The NFL has one of the shortest seasons in all professional sports. There is one tournament and a regular season consists of 16 games, assuming that the player is a regular starter. This can go up to a maximum of 19 if the Super Bowl/Pro Bowl are taken into account. It's not a long time. The off-season lasts from February to September, assuming that the player's team goes all the way to the big game.

The off-season could be used in order to build up some additional streams of income. A lot of players never take these opportunities. Instead, they simply decide to have a good time. While there's nothing wrong with this, it's a poor use of time and it prevents building up that all important financial protection going forward.

How Can NFL Players Turn their Lives Around?

The NFL and the various football unions have attempted to address the problems. They have brought in help to train current and former players in good financial practices. It's important that players engage with these processes so they have the skills necessary to improve their lives going forward.

The name of the game is planning. Players that don't plan tend to find themselves in positions of poverty. There's no better time to plan than when the money is good. Don't wait until problems start.

Last Word

It's possible for all players to turn their lives around. But the earlier this process starts the better. They must acknowledge the need to change as soon as possible.

How do you think the NFL should make an effort to stop players from burning their income away today?