NFL Players In Their Own Words

Misconceptions and Problems
Buffalo Bills linebaker Takeo Spikes
Buffalo Bills linebaker Takeo Spikes
Photo courtesy Buffalo Bills

Carlos Emmons:

"[Fans] see a lot of things on TV, and they think it's all parties and just having a great time relaxing. Football at a professional level is a lot more business. I think it was a lot more fun growing up as a kid playing, but now it's more like a job. There's a lot of money to be made in our sport, and I think with the owners and coaches of the team, it's all about money to them also. It's all about them getting the best product they can on the field. That's the way they look at you: like a product. You have to realize that it's your job, it's a business, and if you're not performing at the level you want you to, you'll get fired just like anybody else will."

Jonas Jennings:

"The thing about this game is somebody has to lose, and usually that brings in the business part of it, depending on how much you win and how much you lose. And also, everybody has individual contracts. You've got to be able to come in every day and play hard, and try to keep going with what you started. You never want to get caught up in the business cycle of it. You just want to play football and let the business cycle handle itself."

Willie Anderson:

"[Fans don't always realize that] it's more than just playing on Sunday. If it was just us playing on Sunday, you would never see guys griping and complaining. Wednesday and Thursday makes you do that. It makes it so hard to lose, because you know how much work you put in during the course of five days, then to go out and lose a game, that's when tempers flare up, and you have these big blowups in the media.

"We work hard at what we do. It's not a 9 to 5 construction job. I have a lot of respect for the people who work in real hard labor jobs. I'll never compare it to that, because it is something fun to do. But it is a business, and the NFL owners do expect us to work very hard at making them a lot of money. It says in your NFL contract, you are paid to practice, not play on Sundays -- that's the fun part."

Fred Beasley:

"When I talk to my mom, she says, 'Why do y'all keep on running this play? Why didn't you throw him the ball? Why don't you do that?' That's what they don't understand, people who don't know football as well: It's the strategy part. It would be hard for you to explain to them why we didn't do certain things. Teams will be looking for those things -- teams prepare for you, and the things you always do, after watching them on film. So you can't do things you did when you beat this team so bad the week before. You can't come back and do that same thing again, because the other team knows you're about to do it. You got to change it up some."

Takeo Spikes:

"The biggest thing [fans] get wrong comes from listening to commentators. Commentators don't know everything. So if a commentator says something, they will take it and run with it, without really justifying a reason. As players, we sometimes make it out to be harder than it is, but it's not Xs and Os anymore."

Jonas Jennings:

"I think commentators try to do the best job they can, especially when they're doing play-by-play analysis, but usually they don't understand the rings of protection or other things that we're trying to do."

Fred Beasley:

"You see with all these other professional teams, like baseball and basketball, guys make all this type of money, and they don't come close to doing what we do [physically]. I sometimes wish I would have played baseball, just because of the finances. But I wasn't a baseball guy. The money that we make doesn't come near what baseball players or basketball players make. What we make is chump change to them."

Jonas Jennings:

"I think there are a lot of rules now that take away from the football. You've got unnecessary roughness rules, and celebration rules. There are a lot of things that are nitpicking, because of the business of the game, because of TV and stuff. I understand why they do it, but it really takes away from the traditional, back-in-the-day football."

More to Explore