Gerald Ford didn’t play in the NFL why?

May 2018
7
Earth
#11
President Gerald Fors hikes the football to Ambrose Cronin, president of Electrical Distributing Co., Friday after Ambrose paid $2,700 for the football autographed by Ford and members of the Fortland Storm, a WPL team, Ed Potter, the auctioneer stands to the right. The auction was sponsored by Cregon Museum of Science and Industry.

 
Oct 2018
53
Minneapolis, MN
#14
A gas station attendant would make double the average NFL players salary in a year in 1931.

Ford was 1931 it seems from the post. From 1935-1939, 3 of the 5 heisman winners decided not to play football and instead went into business careers. The two which did choose football were Larry Kelly, who after one year, let the NFL to teach high school history, and Davey O'Brien, who after 2 years joined the FBI.

That was pretty common. Most NFL draftees chose to pass on the NFL. In the first NFL draft in 1936, only 28 of the 81 players drafted chose to play in the NFL, and only 18 stayed more than 2 years.

And it wasn't just poor pay. Sure 100 bucks a week was pretty good money in the 30's. But you only got paid per game. Get hurt and you got paid 0 dollars that week. George Halas made $50,000 one year and told his team they would all have to take 50% paycuts because they couldn't afford it. Hall of Famer George Musso went from $90 to $45 a game.

So an average college grad could find a job earning $50 a week year round in a normal white collar job. Or take the $50-100 a week for 10-12 weeks, and scramble to find something else to do the rest of the year on a temp basis.... during the great depression.

$600 to play in the NFL when the average salary for a bread baker was $1560 a year.

Figure an average Lawyer in the 1930's made $4-5k a year. So about 5 times as much as he could make in the NFL. With a career likely to last more than 3-4 years.
 
Jul 2011
5,433
#15
Yeh, the NFL then was basically semipro. Babe Ruth made $80,000 / year and Tunney was paid $1,000,000 for a fight in 1927. Those sports were much bigger than professional football, but there weren't the huge salaries like today.
 
Jun 2018
90
Philadelphia, PA
#16
As far as I can tell his heart just was not in it. He wanted to go to law school, and felt that was his calling.
He could have made a living, at the time, with the salaries he was offered. The Packers offered him $110 a game to play 14 games, and the Lions offered him $200. He took a job as the assistant varsity football coach at Yale in order to get a leg up on being admitted to their law school. So, he did not completely step away from the gridiron. 10 Football Facts Featuring U.S. Presidents
 
Jul 2011
5,433
#17
I am sure he could have made a living playing football. The other players mentioned quit to become a high school teacher and an FBI agent. That implies they were real educated college graduates, unlike more recently. However, those jobs are not on the level with what you would get with a Yale Law School degree.

A heavyweight champion could make at least as much in today's terms as a star football player does now, but generally sports salaries were not so huge.
 
Oct 2018
53
Minneapolis, MN
#18
I am sure he could have made a living playing football. The other players mentioned quit to become a high school teacher and an FBI agent. That implies they were real educated college graduates, unlike more recently. However, those jobs are not on the level with what you would get with a Yale Law School degree.

A heavyweight champion could make at least as much in today's terms as a star football player does now, but generally sports salaries were not so huge.
That is true. Think of it kind of like the WNBA currently. A player getting a football scholarship wanted to use that to get his degree, not make it pro when it came to football. WNBA players for the most part don't go pro early because their degree is more valuable than a WNBA career for all but a few of them. So the overwhelming number of players going to the NFL finished college before giving the league a shot.
 
Jun 2017
2,235
Connecticut
#19
President Gerald R. Ford played college football for the University if Michigan and he was a really good player. So good that he was drafted to play in the NFL, or how the NFL acquired players around 1931.

Ford declines the offers and decided to go to Yale law school. My guess why he chose to go to law school instead of the NFL was that in the early 1930’s the league did not pay that much even for top players. Probably well enough to afford the person a middle class lifestyle, but not the huge salaries the players get today where even a grunt no name player now makes a million dollars a season.

How much were NFL tickets in 1931? Since it was the Great Depression, who could afford to go? Baseball survived and even thrived, but how much were good seats at Yankee Stadium? Baseball players made a lot more money than football players then. Professional basketball wasn’t even a thing or much of one then, so modern players and legends would have been nobodies back then.

It would have been interesting to ask him in his elder years or even in the 1970’s, if he were in the same position, would he have accepted an NFL contract? I think the man would have made an excellent football coach. The man looked like a football coach. Ask Jerry if he would have rather been President for three falls or beat Ohio State three times. Probably would trip over himself running on the field after winning the Rose Bowl and this what we would remember about him.

Are there any films surviving of Jerry playing football? If Jerry was 20 again in 2018 would he be good enough to play in the NFL now or even college football?
I once asked on this board if Jim Thorpe could play in the modern NFL. Jerry was a big dude. Probably very fast. Agile? Maybe. But I can see him at a frat party hammered on a Friday night and then getting up play the next afternoon. (Which is another question, what we frat parties like during prohibition?)

Did he ever go to college or NFL games? Flew Air Force One to Columbus or Ann Arbir or Pasadena to see the Wolverines play? Did he ever go to a Redskins game? Nixon loved football also and he once told, I think Cosell half jokingly that he would have been a football announcer or gotten into football if his political career washed out. Which sort of brings up the point that Nixon also played college football for Whittier College which I guess would be a Division III School now, not at the level of Michigan. But Nixon seemed to be of very average size and weight and would get hammered on the field. Was he a good player? Or JFK for that matter. Coach “Sit down Jack, or talk to that cheerleader who is making eyes at you.”

His early life is interesting also. You can read about his father and why his name changed in this Wiki bio of his birth father. Needless to say, he was a major dickhead and his mother did well by leaving him. I take it that Ford probably detested the name, kept it a secret and would kick your ass if you called him “Leslie”.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leslie_Lynch_King_Sr.
Back when he played football wasn't nearly as big as it was today, and he made what is objectively the right decision. Even to and in some ways especially(medical data etc) today going to Yale Law school is the smarter decision unless you are going to be a superstar who could lock down a huge contract and I don't think Ford was playing a position where he would be. Yale Law is the most prestigious law school in the country to get into and the decision back then would be even easier than it was today. A law degree from Yale is one of if not the most valuable degree(s) of any kind offered in the US.
 

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