5 NFL Myths That Have Supposedly Been Dispelled

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5 Common NFL Myths Dispelled

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

People make a lot of assumptions about NFL players. There are lots of stereotypes and ways of thinking about pro football players that are just accepted. In a lot of cases, those assumptions are completely unfair. It's with that in mind, that the NFL has come out with some evidence to dispel some common myths.

The NFL is of course under a lot of fire these days when it comes to concussions. The league has been accused of covering up evidence about the long-term effects of shots to the head. As part of the recent lawsuit settlement with former players ($765 million), the league did not have to release any of its information on concussions. Basically, they don't have to reveal what they knew and when they knew it.

That's the big issue. How long has the NFL known about the dangers of concussions? Or more specifically, how long has the league known about the long-term effects? Many people think the NFL covered up information or misled players about the dangers of repeated blows to the head. There are even allegations that the league hired certain medical professionals that held their same beliefs on concussions (that there were no long-term dangers).

But on top of the concussion issues in football, there are many other myths and perceptions that are prevalent. Some are related to blows to the heads, others are not.

In this piece we'll take a look at five common NFL myths. The league has done its research and cited sources (on to help dispel these myths. Some of them you might have a hard time believing, while others may shed new light on something you once perceived in a different way:

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Myth - NFL Players Die at 55 Years of Age on Average

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

We've all heard this one. NFL players are thought to have much shorter life spans than average humans. But according to the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Study, NFL players actually live longer than men in the general population - 77.5 vs. 74.7.

Is it possible that we just look at the players who die young and think that all NFL player have shorter lives?

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Myth - 78% of Players are Divorced, Bankrupt or Unemployed 2 Years After Leaving the NFL

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

NFL players have terrible reputations when it comes to money and divorces. But according to the University of Michigan Study of Retired NFL Players, retirees ages 30-49 actually have a lower rate of divorce than the same segment of the general population. NFL players came in at a 20 percent divorce rate, while the general population came in at 26 percent.

The same study also found that NFL retirees have higher income than men of similar ages in the genreal public.

But as you can see, there's nothing about bankruptcy rates or unemployment rates. I'm thinking the NFL players have the 'edge' on those items.

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Myth - The Suicide Rate is Six Times Higher Than the National Average

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

This one is no doubt a very touchy subject. The CDC looked at suicide rates for U.S. males and found that '6.1 per 100,000 since 1987 and 12.5 per 100,000 since 2005 (for NFL players) is below the US male suicide rate of 19.2 per 100,000 as documented in 2009.'

So it's again possible that we perceive suicide rates to be higher for NFL players because we hear about them more in the news. Regardless, it doesn't make suicide any less tragic.

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Myth - Most Pros Never Finish College

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

The same University of Michigan study found that 80 percent of NFL players finish college, compared to only 30 percent in the general population. I attribute that to the fact that players are forced to stay in school to stay on the team. Normal everyday folks can just walk away if they're not happy. If you want to make it to the NFL, you have to stay in school longer.

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Myth - Owners Don't Care About Their Players

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

The NFL cited CBS Sports on this one: 'NFL owners have consistently (and voluntarily) strengthened the services and benefits available to retirees in renegotiations of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with active players over the past several decades.'

I don't see the NFL owner-player relationship any differently than I see the corporate-employee relationship. It all boils down to production. For the most part, I doubt owners truly care about their lower level employees.