NFL players make a boat load of money. Actually, they make a few boatloads of money. And they enjoy it lavishly as they glide gently atop pristine waters in 80 degree temperature with no humidity. There are no hurricanes where they sail, only a few passing thunderstorms when the NFL fines them for an illegal hit or a rude gesture. And best of all, their boat runs off of solar energy, and it's sunny 99 percent of the time they're on the water!
Then they retire...from boating, of course. They get old. They get injured. And suddenly the waters get a bit choppy. More thunderstorms keep passing by. The world tilts and hurricanes, usually passing harmlessly to their south, now travel further north where that NFL player sails. In other words, they begin to go broke, and more often than not, that NFL player is going down with their ship much sooner than they had expected. According to some reports, at least 78 percent of NFL players declare bankruptcy within five years of retirement.
Overspending. Short careers. Inadequate financial knowledge. Arrogance. Pressure. These are just a few of the reasons NFL players declare bankruptcy so soon after their playing days. And many of these problems are difficult to correct. For example, you can teach a player how to better spend their money, but if they're arrogant or are easily pressured, how valuable is all that education. Answer: Not much.
Every season, the media digs up examples of players who overspend or are hazed or pressured into doing something they don't want to do. The list we've put together includes a number of absurd gifts NFL players have given to their teammates, which gives weight to the argument they go bankrupt for a variety of reasons. For fun, we took liberties with the type of gifts they give. Some are really expensive. Some are funny and some will probably make you squirm in your seat. Nevertheless, they all have one thing in common. They are outrageous.
20 Buster Skrine Buys Joe Haden Some Expensive Kicks
Maybe Joe Haden is one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL because of his footwear. After all, proper footwork and balance is imperative to a cornerback's ability to cover an always unpredictable receiver. Fourth-year cornerback Buster Skrine bought Haden a pair of Italian Giuseppe Zanotti sneakers for Christmas this past season as part of the Browns' Secret Santa exchange. If you have some spending money, you can pick up a cheap pair for around $665; however, if you want to go top-of-the line you can throw down an easy $1,000-plus for the snazzy sneakers.
19 Tom Brady Purchases Ugg Boots for Entire Team
Tease Brady all you want about his upscale and sometimes out-there fashion trends. Brady is like the Patriots. Evolve or die, and Brady chose to evolve when he signed on to become the spokesperson for the new Uggs men's footwear line in 2010. "He embodies the stylish casual attitude that is at the foundation of every product we make..." said Decker's Outdoor Corp. Chairman and CEO Angel Martinez. The price range for Ugg boots sits between $130 and $230 a pair.
18 Russell Wilson Buys Xbox Ones for Entire Offense
How much did a low-end Xbox One cost in 2014? Roughly $350 (it's much more if you throw in a video game or Kinect). How many offensive players were on the 2013 Seattle Seahawks? Thirty-Three. So Wilson spent roughly $11,000 on Xbox Ones for his entire offense. He could have paid off one kid's student loan with that money. We're not sure if the defense was a little frustrated by not being included in this gift. After all, they get the turnovers that gives Wilson the ball!
17 Ryan Leaf Throws a Fit After Being Forced to Pay $3,000 Dinner Bill
We wanted to give Leaf his own special category because not much has been going well for the former quarterback in recent years. Actually, this category doesn't really place him in a great light either. Most NFL rookies reluctantly, but respectfully, pay their rookie dues (e.g., hazing or paying the dinner tab). And those meals aren't cheap, so we can see why some might feel reluctant to do so. Legend has it that Leaf, on the other hand, chose not to pay at all, so the late Junior Seau grabbed the former's credit card and paid for the dinner himself. When Leaf complained, Seau went out of his way to flatten the quarterback in practice the next day.
This is the physically most painful gift on the list.
16 Carson Palmer Forces Teammates to Wear Strange Christmas Outfits
I'm all for quarterbacks buying their offensive lineman gifts for Christmas. They keep the quarterback upright. They're the unsung heroes who help the offense put up lethal numbers. But lineman can also be the butt of jokes and Palmer took advantage when he told his lineman they had to wear ridiculous Christmas outfits before he gave them their presents. Some even sported Christmas sweaters with tights that oozed sex appeal.
15 Aaron Rodgers Buys Teammates Some Interesting Weekend Wear
Despite his apparent aloof persona on the microphone, many in the locker room know Rodgers as a prankster. And they enjoy it. Rodgers has been known to photobomb his teammate's photos, as well as wear curious clothing out in public. In August 2014, he and teammate Matt Flynn wore denim jackets around town. But his jokes might have peaked when he handed out male thongs to all of his teammates one Christmas. One teammate asked Rodgers if he bought the thongs online or stood in line at a store. Rodgers swears he went straight to the store.
14 DeMarco Murray Surprises His O-Line With Computers
Healthy and ready to finally show the NFL what he was made of--figuratively and literally speaking--the University of Oklahoma product had a career year in 2014. His impressive 1,845 yards, 13 touchdowns and 115.3 yards per game were all career highs. That's probably why Murray felt especially generous towards the men who helped him rack up those record-breaking stats. Murray thanked his starting offensive line by leaving sleek iMac computers in their lockers after he broke Jim Brown's record of six consecutive 100-yard rushing games to start a season.
13 Aaron Rodgers' Offensive Line Have a New Way to Study Their Opponents
Rodgers is a leader on the field and off the field. He commands respect in both environments, and it's hard not to give it to him when he purchases new 55-inch LED Curved TVs for all of his offensive lineman. That, or maybe he's just secretly selfish and wants them to TIVO his games so they can watch their quarterback toss beautiful passes to Jordy Nelson on a crystal clear screen. Either way, his offensive line must be happy to have a brand new TV.
12 Tony Romo Gives Offensive Line Something to Travel With
Not to be upstaged by fellow teammate DeMarco Murray this past season, Romo bought all five starting offensive lineman Louis Vuitton travel bags. On top of his starting o-line, he also gave out bags to Jason Witten, Jeremy Parnell, and Mackenzy Bernadeau. Jordan Ross, a writer for CowboysHQ.com, reported the bag's cost ran somewhere between $16,000 and $24,000. Not that Romo would have sweated an $8,000 difference in trying to decide whether or not to purchase the bags.
11 Keyshawn Johnson's Wedding Invitations Are Better Than Yours
We're pretty certain Johnson didn't get many wedding "declines" when he sent out invitations via iPad. And by that, we mean he sent guests a new iPad with an invitation on it. Even if you were on shaky terms with Johnson's side of the family, don't you still have to go out of respect? You not only received an invite to what will be the wedding of the year, but also a new gift to play around with.
Now, we're slightly bending the rules since we're not sure the iPads were definitely sent to former teammates, but we'd bet a few dollars at least one was. Once powered on, the iPads informed invitees about the wedding details, and it also allowed them to buy a present right from the iPad in the form of a pre-downloaded app.
10 Alex Smith Gets Sensitive. Buys Louis Vuitton Satchels for Offensive Line
Smith is known to play it safe on the field. Pro Football Focus ranked the Chiefs quarterback as the second most accurate passer, which, to any knowledgeable football fan, really is proof that he dinks and dunks all day. He also held an average 108.3 passer rating within nine yards of the line of scrimmage, but those numbers plummet beyond 10 yards. However, off-the-field Smith takes some chances. He bought his entire offensive line Louis Vuitton satchels or purses, as one article described them. Now, that's risk.
9 Chad Johnson Drops Beats by Dre for Teammates
Johnson didn't make much of an impact when he was with the Patriots on the field, but he at least tried to make up for it off of it. According to the Boston Herald, Johnson spent a cool $28,000 on Beats by Dre headphones for every member of the team and gave it to them prior to their 2011 Super Bowl matchup against the Giants. That's what happens when you play in 15 games, start three and record 15 receptions for 276 yards and one touchdown. It was a far cry for a receiver who recorded seven 1,000-plus yard seasons in his 10-year career.
8 Eddie George Buys Offensive Line Some New Wheels
Your offensive line stereotypically appreciates things gifts that mesh with their personality. They're blue-collar, lunch-pail guys who fight to keep their million-dollar CEO in power. They get scrapes, bruises, and cuts. They take the blame if their quarterback completes only 50 percent of his passes, but was sacked five times. That's why Eddie George got them all 4-wheelers one season. Forget Gucci bags Louis Vuitton.
7 Vikings Offensive Line Have No Excuses to Miss Work During the Winter
It can get snowy way up there in Minnesota, so Peterson decided to ensure his offensive lineman always had a way to get to practice. After all, snowmobiles helped many Bills players get to practice this past season when over four-feet of snow hit the Buffalo area. Peterson's seen dark days since his expensive purchase, but that probably doesn't stop his former lineman from cruising around in their Artic Cats valued between $7,999 and $12,449 each.
6 San Diego Chargers' Rookies Rack Up an Expensive Dinner Tab
For the love of all that is financially stable in this world, if you're entering the NFL draft, tell the Chargers not to draft you in the first round. If they select you, you're probably spending much of your first pay check taking your team out to dinner. Maybe that's why Eli Manning forced the Chargers to trade him to the Giants during the 2004 NFL draft, after all. In 2009, Larry English, the Chargers' first-round pick, racked up a $15,000 dinner bill. That seems light when compared to Shawn Merriman's $32,000 dinner check.
5 Tom Brady Sends His Offensive Line Cruising in Some Spiffy Wheels
Patriots' fans can partly thank the team's usually stellar offensive line for keeping Tom Brady's offensive chugging along. Brady would likely agree. That's why he gave his lineman all Audi Q7, a small gesture to keep them protected on the road. It was also in part for the lineman's continued support of the not-for-profit Best Buddies, who aim to open up some opportunities for people with learning disabilities.
4 Dez Bryant's $55,000 Rookie Dinner Tab. Enough Said
I'm not even sure I could rack up a $55,000 food bill in food over a lifetime. Bryant managed to do so in one night. At the time, Bryant was a rookie and his teammates pressured him into paying the full bill, which he did. There were many in league circles who weren't pleased with Bryant's teammates request or Bryant's gesture and ordered the NFL spend more time educating players about their luxurious spending habits.
3 Brett Favre's Not so Merry Christmas
As much as Favre gave to him team on the field, rumors always circulated he gave less to them off of it, in the form of presents that is. Former Packers' guard Aaron Taylor once told NFL.com that Favre's old-southern "sensibility" had a way of grounding players who might otherwise get caught up in the hoopla in the NFL. This could explain why he never reached for his pocket come the holidays.
Nevertheless, one year--after much berating from this lineman--he took his protectors down to Cancun for some fun in the sun. The lineman were thrilled for their all-expense paid vacation from the Mississippi native. However, there was a catch. Two days into the trip, Favre mentions to his lineman that they'll have to earn their stay by attending an autograph session the next morning. While the lineman were slightly upset, they weren't surprised by Favre's show of consistency.
2 Russell Wilson Sends His Organization Away
Most see Wilson as a genuine, kind, and humble individual. Rare qualities for a football player, in a league where bravado is usually a key component to a player's acceptance. Nevertheless, Wilson's virtues have mostly been a hit in the locker room despite a few players (foolishly) questioning his racial allegiances. And why wouldn't he be accepted after what he did one year for his team?
Let me first ask you this. Have you received a nice refund check lately? Maybe a promotion? If you did, you might spend it on a vacation to Italy (for one) or just stash it all in the bank to pay off some student-loan debt. Wilson spends his extra money on all of his teammates, handing over two first-class flight tickets provided by Alaska Air. Want to get away? Call Wilson. He'll help you.
1 Andre Johnson Plays Santa. Spends $19,000 on Christmas Gifts for Kids
We're breaking the rules here, but we think it's actually a great way to round out this list. When first constructing this article, we were researching all the different ways players eventually go broke spending money on their teammates. And we found some absurd gestures of kindness. Plane tickets. 4 wheelers. Cars. Expensive footwear, satchels or luggage. But sometimes the best gift of all is not giving one...at least to a teammate that is.
We profiled Johnson here, but there are countless examples across the NFL of players giving back to children during the holidays. A couple of years ago, Johnson opted to give $19 thousand dollars worth of presents to foster kids in Texas. If that doesn't make you tear up than you probably need to see a doctor. We're not saying it's good that players splurge their money--most of them are broke when their playing days are over--but we suppose if they're going to, spending to help is the best way to do it.
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