Does your Child have what it takes?

According to the Governments most recent statistical abstract of the Untied States there are around 971,000 high school kids playing football. 65,000 of these kids will go on to play College Football; only around 6000 of these kids are scouted by the NFL, only 340 of these kids will be invited to the combines, only 875 kids will ever sign an NFL contract, only 300 will make an NFL roster, and only 140 will play for more then 4 years in the NFL.

If that startling, here is something that will knock your socks off, in the 2000 season only 2 colleges had more kids in the NFL then the University of Michigan. From the year 1991 to the year 2000 an estimated 240 kids ended their college careers at Michigan. Out of that group of students only 89 players were seen by scouts.

Of those 89 players only 47 were drafted (53 percent), 36 of those players were on NFL rosters as of early April 2001 (that is counting undrafted free agents). Now imagine the small schools.

Here is another statistic for you, players who earn their degrees have longer average careers and earn higher average salaries. Amazing, kids today have the dreams that we did when we were kids of making it in the NFL, but who knew education plays just as important a role as we try and emphasize to the youth of America.

How many of us thought we could be the next John Jefferson or Dan Fouts, bowling people over like Chunk Muncie or being carried off the field like Kellen Winslow in that notorious Miami game. The truth of it all is we all did, so what separates us from the Players today, is it talent? I am sure at a young age we all had some talent or was it the will to go forward and play, or the opportunity for someone to see us and give us that one shot.

For every player that makes it in the NFL, 20 to 30 don't and that is just out of those who were lucky enough to be scouted! For every #1 draft pick there is two or more undrafted players with the same amount of talent to make it in the NFL.

What separates these players from players who were drafted, it is the fact the school they go to is much smaller, they get less exposure; their teams are not being seen on ESPN, ABC, or CBS. Does that mean these kids are worse ball players? NO, it just means they don't get the same opportunity or did not have the money or could not get the financial aid that other students who make NFL Rosters and get picked #1 in the draft had, and it is sad, what can be done about it? Nothing.

Money makes the NFL go around and let's face it, the NFL has gone corporate. It is all about the money and how you can help me make more. It just amazes me that so many kids falter and fail cause they cannot find the money or the means to get them into the school of their choice, that they have to settle for some small college in Booneville where no NFL scout will travel, where they will end up, some with college degrees, some not, some might catch on a team as a free agent, others will never get the opportunity. The sad thing is what faces Kids today going into the NFL, is what faces kids in life in general.

What can be done about this? Education, educate them to get that degree, concentrate on their studies, strive for that career after football just incase they don't make it. Knowledge is the Key and the Power. Without it these kids could wind up chasing their dreams by watching other players playing on TV and saying that could have been me.

Tom Criswell can be reached at: or via the following link: Tom Criswell

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*Information from the NFLPA was used in this report

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