Years from now, people will look back on the NFL concussion settlement, upheld this week on appeal, the same way kids see prices from previous generations. Remember when gasoline was 50 cents per gallon, candy bars were 15 cents and postage stamps were a dime?
The NFL agreed to pay $1 billion to former players with concussion-related problems in a deal stretching 65 years. It’s a pittance for a league that generated more than $12 billion last year. We’re talking $15.3 million per year, or less than the average salary of at least 21 quarterbacks in 2016.
Former players agreed to the lawsuit because many needed the money now and feared it would disappear. The lawsuit could have remained in the court system long enough for many to die without collecting a penny. There also was a chance they would have lost the case.
The decision to uphold the appeal was based on whether legal mistakes were made in the settlement. It was not based on the compensation amount. The real mistake was allowing the NFL off the hook for 65 years. In 2081, with inflation, the NFL might as well hand out candy bars.