Roger Goodell: Football players live longer than non-football players

AP

When NFL commissioner Roger Goodell appeared at the Jets facility yesterday, the headline quickly became rookie safety Jamal Adams saying he’d be content to die on the football field.

But if you take the words of Goodell at face value, Adams might not have to, because football is apparently good for you.

In talking about the topic of health and safety, Goodell pointed out that professional athletes actually have longer lifespans than non-professional athletes.

“The average NFL player lives five years longer than you,” Goodell said. “So their lifespan is actually longer and healthier. And I think because of all the advancements, including the medical care, that number is going to even increase for them.”

He said it with a straight face.

We asked the league for clarification on the numbers Goodell was referring to, and they passed along a 2012 study from the Centers for Disease Control. The study was conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which studied the age and causes of death of players who spent five years in the league from 1959 to 1988.

The study showed that the players involved were not only living longer, but had lower rates of cancer and heart disease. In the summary, it actually includes the sentence: “We realize that professional athletes are physically unique compared to the general population.”

While seemingly obvious, it’s the kind of thing that’s lost in the messaging, when the commissioner is selling the apparent health benefits of playing football.

To his credit, Goodell acknowledged that Adams was speaking (we think) rhetorically.

“What he was really making the point of is how much he loves the game and how passionate he is of the game — that he loves playing it, and it’s just something that means a great deal to him,” Goodell said. “I think the fans understood the emotion of what he was saying.”

That’s fine, as long as they also understand the emotion of Goodell saying athletes living longer isn’t necessarily the same as athletes living better lives. While there might be holes in the recent study that showed 110 of 111 donated brains of former NFL players showed evidence of CTE, there remain legitimate questions about the long-term effects of the game.

We may not know what they are. But most reasonably intelligent people would conclude that a lifetime of collisions with other large professional athletes might not actually be conducive to your health, no matter how the commissioner tries to sell it.

88 responses to “Roger Goodell: Football players live longer than non-football players

  1. I would be interested to know the findings in regular people for CTE signs in a deceased brain. I imagine it is still shockingly high. Lots of people take head trauma at one time or another in their life, and lots go unreported.

  2. Roger misspoke. What he meant to say is that the average salary of an average NFL player affords him the ability to pay for high quality health care and a steady intake of healthy food, which subsequently leads to a longer life. Thank you, fans, for funding these athletes.

  3. Hey Roger ….correlation without causation.

    There are so many things wrong with his statement, or at least what he is trying to imply. The response to this should be quite entertaining.

  4. Such a duplicitous POS. As highlighted in the article, talking about a subset of the population that obviously exercises (in the extreme), has far lower rates of smoking, etc. If you want to make a true claim compare outcomes to a like control group (athletes in general, NBA, etc.) and maybe talk about quality of life rather than put out this strawman BS that is misleading, not to mention two decades old. RG is the definition of an empty suit.

  5. I wonder how many other athletes would show signs of CTE? Bull riders? Moto cross racers? Hockey players? MMA, martial arts combatants? (boxing is too obvious). Folks, some of these activities are dangerous–and come with lasting adverse health effects, or at least the risk of such. It really does not matter what the latest science shows, who’s hiding some study, or arguments over this study or that. IT’S A DANGEROUS SPORT. I saw a high school player I knew become paralyzed for life on the football field when I was in gradeschool. No one needed to explain the risks after that. It’s why my parents did not want me playing (I played 6 man football in Texas, far riskier than 11 man, generally speaking). So–the issue then becomes about money. Lawyers convincing people they deserve some. That’s it. We all know it. ps—not one single NFL fan anywhere gives a single f**k what Goodell says, so, there’s that as well.

  6. Geeze Goodell is just a lying piece of money grubbing human filth.

    I could not spout the constant lies he does and then look in the mirror and not loathe myself. What a vile little worm of a man

  7. Goodell, you remind me of the backside of a donkey.

    Better living through the use of chemicals.

  8. CTE is being rammed down our throats. Players years ago were likely lied to, but we now know so much and upcoming players from Pop warner on up are told the risks. I’m comfortable letting it be at this point, these players now know what they’re actually signing up for.

  9. Live longer? Maybe. Less cancer? I can believe that. Healthier lives? Not a chance!

    My body is broken down because of football (did not play in the pros). I know if I had done a different sport, I would not deal with as much the pain I do. That said, I would not trade in my time on the football field for anything.

  10. It’s not a lie if you believe it!

    Had to read this article twice and clicked on the other links to be sure…

    I’m starting to think that Goodell has CTE.

  11. “…the commissioner is selling the apparent health benefits of playing football..”

    I’ll yield to no one in my disdain for this commissioner, but that’s an absurd and unfair construal of his remarks. One of the two largest existential threats to the NFL is the perception that it’s killing its players, which, if true, could conceivably lead to Government sanctions which might render the game far less appealing to its target audience. The commissioner claimed no health benefits; he merely observed the possibility that the life-shortening health impairments are possibly overstated…

  12. And this is the imbecile that the owners choose to represent them. Dude needs to learn when not to talk.

  13. o the commissioners defense – this is the guy who thinks that pot is addictive and more dangerous to one’s health, mind and soul, than opioids, alcohol and concussions.

  14. There is data that marathon runners may have susceptibility to cardiac-related deaths at a rate higher than just regular active people. I don’t think there is enough data to say one way or the other as far as a lifetime of health. They might live longer, but how many surgeries does an athlete have over 80 years? I think Goodell gave out alternative facts that don’t even matter regards to safety. Football by nature is unsafe.

  15. The recent CTE study is very flawed. Stop using it to validate arguments.

    It’s no surprise that when you only study people who show the symptoms of disease X, you will find that almost all them have disease X.

  16. Roger, I’m amazed you aren’t even smart enough to realize you are embarrassing yourself.

  17. In Goodell’s world, the sun rises in the West; oxygen isn’t required to breathe; and the Sun revolves around the Earth.

  18. On the 16 year anniversary of Korey Stringer’s death DUE to football, this jackass Commissioner makes this statement!

    Let’s ask players if they think they will live longer
    Ask:
    Junior Seau
    Dave Duerson
    Justin Strylzck
    Chris Henry
    Korey Stringer

    And many others….go ahead, ask them!

  19. Nice job leaving out the full context of the statement and thus playing off on Goodell’s lack of popularity.

    Goodell was not responding to Adams. Adams made his statement. Some idiot media member took Adams’ obvious hyperbole at face value instead of hyperbole and fired a loaded question at him, asking him if he’d really be okay with his life as a professional football player if he knew he was going to die at 50.

    Goodell grabbed the mike and answered the idiot media member’s loaded question so Adams didn’t have to. In other words, he protected a player from an attempted hatchet job by a hack reporter.

  20. That prior study also covered an era when offensive linemen weighed 220 pounds and safeties weighed 175. While players have grown larger, faster and work out all season the brain has not changed.

  21. To make a statement like that indicates either A. gross naivety of the rules of statistical significant or B. knowledge of the rules and a deliberate choice to perpetuate misinformation for personal gain. In either case that is not the person you let govern your sport. It is the person you let run your political campaign. Therein lies the rub.

  22. I would be interested to know the findings in regular people for CTE signs in a deceased brain. I imagine it is still shockingly high
    ————————————————————————————————

    Even higher for people posting on this board……

  23. Roger Goodell: Football players live longer than non-football players
    ———
    Some probably do. Some probably don’t. Life has an infinite amount of variables that factor into ones mortality.

  24. Facts—-there they are. It was simply a statement of fact. Roger wasn’t saying football causes the longer lifespan. He was just pointing out the data. I don’t like the guy but I don’t fine anything wrong with what he said.

  25. the guy used data as far back as 1959
    when willie willoughby would run a 5.2
    run a
    40 yard dash at 160 lbs

    lol

    yes, roger lie, miscontrue, frame
    some more, why don’t you?

    tell us again how the pats cheated
    because that is the result you wanted
    from the owners in order to keep parity
    and make more money for your employers when
    you try to expand overseas

    tell us again

    we are just so confused as to why you are
    so willing to lie to the nfl customer over
    and over and over

  26. But I wonder how much longer they live than track stars or swimmers or any other athlete. The amount of time a pro athlete spends taking care of his body should elongate their life compared to most. The majority don’t stop playing football and then become couch potatoes. After working out religiously for 20 years they’ll continue to do so when they retire which makes their life span longer. Throw in the fact the amount of money they have compared to the regular joe. That’s a lot less financial stress on them too.

    His statement definitely leaves out some important ifo.

  27. I’d like to see the study replicated on players since the steroid age started in the mid to late 70s. The 1959 to 1985 deaths were guys getting hit by 230 pound men that weren’t that fast. The lack of helmets in earlier players was ironically better for head injuries

  28. Heard Goodell is prepping to run for senate. Uses 20 year old data to spew fake news.

    This guy is so bad for players and fans of professional football it’s comical. A face only a mother can love (i.e., the owners).

  29. Nothing like arguing against a brand new scientific study than citing a study that’s older than the current draft class.

    What a clown show

  30. Hey Rog- I hear that there will be a position opening in the Trump cabinet soon. You’ll fit right in! No need to acknowledge reality, just stroke the bosses ego and maintain delusion.

    You could be the next Mooch!

  31. People want to rip Goodell and they want to buy the fatalistic narrative about player safety, but the fact is Goodell is right, and it’s been obvious if people were actually paying attention. Having attended the Raymond Claiborne induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame this past weekend I saw the older former players in attendance and they were still ready to play.

    The safety of the game is always belittled but the fact is it is safer now than it has ever been and is only getting safer between better equipment, better training, and the inherent toughness and resilience of the players.

  32. What a clueless a-hole. They are all absolute freaks of nature, of course they live longer. But if the tolls of football weren’t put on them, maybe they’d live 15 years longer instead of 5?

  33. same could be said for the military populace.. you know the ones who arent killed, so just based on Military personal usually being in better shape, it must mean joining the military is actually beneficial to your health

  34. This might have been said above, but is the quality of life for ex players as good as somebody that hasn’t been smashed around since high school to the pro’s. This is a question not a point.

  35. This just in…healthy diet and active lifestyle can extend your lifespan. Thanks Roger. Now lets compare quality of life among professional athletes. How do football players rank in that one?

  36. On the 16 year anniversary of Korey Stringer’s death DUE to football, this jackass Commissioner makes this statement!

    Let’s ask players if they think they will live longer
    Ask:
    Junior Seau
    Dave Duerson
    Justin Strylzck
    Chris Henry
    Korey Stringer

    And many others….go ahead, ask them!
    ———————————————–
    So…..You picked 5 guys out of 1700 players in the NFL per year. Nobody in the general population kills themselves….Nope, its the NFL.

    You would have to be a moron not to understand that if you hit your head repeatedly it can cause damage. To put 100% of that on the NFL is crazy. EVERYONE playing the sport today understands there is a risk to playing football and likewise is compensated heavily to do so. The average NFL career is 4 years. Somehow you play football from the age of 5, 17 years before you enter the NFL, and the NFL is responsible for the CTE? If you play 4 years you make a minimum of 2.4 million dollars. Think about that. It is easy once the lights go out and you are no longer making bank, the clubs don’t care if you are there, the women no longer care who you are, to sit back and start being pissed off, and cry foul. The truth remains the majority of the people in this world would trade places with them and they would do it all over again for the fame and fortune. Some wouldn’t but I would put the odds at 90%. Of players today 100% would because they are well aware of the risks.

  37. I love NFL fans. Goodell makes this statement, and like so many of his comments, its complete garbage, and it is beyond belief, literally. 32 fan bases think this guy lies constantly. Except for air pressure, when it comes to air pressure he the pillar of integrity, but everything else, no one trusts or believes him. Laughable. So depending on the situation, either 31 fan bases hate/don’t trust him, or 32 fan bases hate/don’t trust him. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  38. Without looking at the survey, I’d have to see if it conditioned for wealth.

    Professional athletes should be living longer, presuming they manage to stay healthy. Being in top physical condition is the best way to keep one’s biological age low. For NFL players the big “if” is whether they can stay healthy. For players engaged in constant head traumas, one has to wonder.

    I suspect recent retirees like Patrick Willis and Jerod Mayo, both elite LBs who retired young, will likely live long and healthy lives. The key now for NFL players is to get out before you take too many concussions. Because if you do, your post-NFL days will look more like Mike Webster’s.

  39. You die if you’re sedentary and you die from overwork. Football IS good for you. Concussions are injuries not football and if you’ve had too many, retire.

  40. Football players live longer than non-football players.

    Just like air doesn’t deflate naturally from a football at 50 degrees. Wink Wink

    At this point it’s a complete mystery why this moron of a commissioner even speaks.

  41. It’s either evil, or stupid. Most corporate hacks usually go with stupid once they are found out. Just a matter of time, Rog.

  42. co99622 says:
    Aug 1, 2017 1:50 PM

    So…..You picked 5 guys out of 1700 players in the NFL per year. Nobody in the general population kills themselves….Nope, its the NFL.

    ———————————————–
    First, arguing a former nfl player got CTE as a result of something outside of the NFL seems ludicrous not to mention completely unbelievable. Second, forget about the mortality rate. We can’t even get the NFL to admit that the sport itself increases the chances of CTE and diminishing quality of life in the future. Which is the salient point here. It’s fairly simple, the point of players living longer than a non-nfl player, an orangutan or even a martian is completely irrelevant. It’s a convenient way to deflect from the truth that the quality of those extra 5 years (and most likely a whole lot longer) are a lot less than somebody who didn’t play football. Third, we all get the money vs risk angle. The problem in the e

  43. If it’s a fact, then it’s a fact. I know facts can often times screw up a good propaganda mission. I’m sorry the Patriots repeatedly get caught cheating, but blaming the cops for enforcing the rules is silly. Certain people have been beating this silly drum against the NFL ever since Brady got caught cheating, in an effort to discredit the league at every turn. But if football players are healthier than the average person, we owe it to our fellow citizens to find out why. Don’t cut of your nose (or your children’s noses) to spite your face.

  44. Third, we all get the money vs risk angle. The problem is that the NFL is STILL failing to outline or even remotely associate themselves with the risk. So ‘gratz on living longer. even if it is dribbling into a cup.

  45. OK, so athletes live longer than most people – no surprise. But the difference between living a healthy, enjoyable life and living with CTE seems not to concern him a bit….

  46. People who exercise (even a bit) and are well off (if not rich) live longer on average than people who lack one or the other.

    It would surprising if it weren’t true.

  47. I do believe football players longer. Healthier/quality of life, I’m not so sure about that claim.

    Football players get a lot of exercise and a lot of them keep working out after they leave the game.

    Consider that fact the next time you are walking around Wal Mart and noticing the patrons…

  48. co99622 says:
    Aug 1, 2017 1:50 PM

    So…..You picked 5 guys out of 1700 players in the NFL per year. Nobody in the general population kills themselves….Nope, its the NFL.

    ———————————————–
    First, arguing a former nfl player got CTE as a result of something outside of the NFL seems ludicrous not to mention completely unbelievable. Second, forget about the mortality rate. We can’t even get the NFL to admit that the sport itself increases the chances of CTE and diminishing quality of life in the future. Which is the salient point here. It’s fairly simple, the point of players living longer than a non-nfl player, an orangutan or even a martian is completely irrelevant. It’s a convenient way to deflect from the truth that the quality of those extra 5 years (and most likely a whole lot longer) are a lot less than somebody who didn’t play football. Third, we all get the money vs risk angle. The problem in the e

    0 0
    ——————
    Its ludicrous to believe that maybe just maybe you could develop CTE because of 17 years pee-wee/High school/collegiate football? You’re right I am sure it all developed in the few years they played NFL. Problem is they will only recover $ from the NFL……

    To say its a quality of life issue….OK I have seen cribs and numerous other shows, it sure seems like their quality of life is pretty good to me. Sure as you get older there are joint issues you deal with the general population doesn’t have to deal with but the 30-40 years in the middle are going to be far better than the average person’s quality of like.

    If you understand the risk v. reward aspect what are you arguing?

    Does EVERY NFL player understand the risks? If not they live under a rock. The risk is worth the reward to every person that straps on a helmet. Including the guys like Chris Bowman who was willing to receive the education and the experience of being able to play in the NFL even for only a year that football provided. It only provided him a quality education and close to $600K.

  49. minnesoulja says:
    Aug 1, 2017 11:30 AM
    I would be interested to know the findings in regular people for CTE signs in a deceased brain. I imagine it is still shockingly high. Lots of people take head trauma at one time or another in their life, and lots go unreported.

    Ridiculous. Most people do not take brutal head trauma, repeatedly, over their lifetimes.

  50. I bet that soldiers and policemen also live longer lifes than the average Joe…for sure, for sure…

  51. The average NFL player barely stays in the league for 3 years. I’d like to see the average life expectancy as the years in the NFL start adding up for the players who stick around longer.

  52. fireroger says:
    Aug 1, 2017 3:02 PM
    Third, we all get the money vs risk angle. The problem is that the NFL is STILL failing to outline or even remotely associate themselves with the risk. So ‘gratz on living longer. even if it is dribbling into a cup.
    ————–

    Ha I just saw this. Makes me laugh. People with this attitude are why there 1000 plus caution stickers on products. You have to be physically told when something could be dangerous. Common sense. And yes, the players know of the dangers of playing football hence waivers and all sorts of other lingo that goes into NFL contracts.

  53. reddzen says:
    Aug 1, 2017 4:21 PM
    minnesoulja says:
    Aug 1, 2017 11:30 AM
    I would be interested to know the findings in regular people for CTE signs in a deceased brain. I imagine it is still shockingly high. Lots of people take head trauma at one time or another in their life, and lots go unreported.

    Ridiculous. Most people do not take brutal head trauma, repeatedly, over their lifetimes.

    Ummm.. not really you do realize CTE exists in people who never played football. Considering the only people in the NFL that are tested are those they suspect of having CTE, the numbers are inflated as to the whole population.

  54. Go collect 111 sets of lungs from men who worked in coal mines their whole lives for the same money some NFL players earn in a year.

    Or 111 psychological profiles of first responders, active duty soldiers, emergency room workers, etc.

    Or the bodies of the last 111 policemen killed in the line of duty.

  55. co99622 says:
    Aug 1, 2017 4:27 PM
    fireroger says:
    Aug 1, 2017 3:02 PM
    Ha I just saw this. Makes me laugh. People with this attitude are why there 1000 plus caution stickers on products. You have to be physically told when something could be dangerous. Common sense. And yes, the players know of the dangers of playing football hence waivers and all sorts of other lingo that goes into NFL contracts.
    ————–
    What’s funny is that you still think this is about caution stickers. It’s about the NFL admitting that caution stickers are needed. Everybody knows it. Including the NFL. The only reason they hedge away from it is because they know the lawyers will be at their doors the next day even though they have the security of signed health waiver s.

  56. co99622 says:
    Aug 1, 2017 4:36 PM
    Ummm.. not really you do realize CTE exists in people who never played football. Considering the only people in the NFL that are tested are those they suspect of having CTE, the numbers are inflated as to the whole population.
    =====================
    So given a survey you’re saying the results would show that CTE is more of a world wide problem than within just the NFL.

  57. Muhammad Ali knew the risks as well. CTE more prevalent in boxing than in the NFL. Without Ali boxing is arguably a footnote in regular sport discussion. So whatever he knew the risks …

    Just sayin’

  58. 25 years of strength and conditioning work certainly doesn’t hurt.

    Problem is… well.. just look at Earl Campbell.. or Junior Seau…. The body and mind aren’t meant to take that kind of punishment.

  59. I vote we change his name from Goodell to Troll.

    Everytime he speaks, Patriots fans take the bait.

    Just count your rings and get over it people.

  60. Let’s face it folks, football, as we know it, is on the way out. It may take a few more decades, but more and more elementary, high school and college scholastic programs are eliminating or downsizing football programs. Roger is just trying to make it last as long as he can.

  61. Goodell is providing a statistic. We do all remember the quote about statistics? Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics?
    Stats can be twisted to prove any desired outcome.

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