It’s a given that wives of current NFL players and wives of former NFL players have one thing in common: Our husbands have beat incredible odds to play football at the professional level—only .218% of American men make it to the NFL. Beyond that, though, we’re all about as diverse as fish in the sea, even though others might think differently. Here are some of the most common misconceptions that plague us all.
Credit: 401(K) 2013.
We’re all wealthy.
Scott and I certainly aren’t living in the poorhouse, but we’re far from Park Avenue, too. It’s easy to see why people would think all NFL players (both former and current) are rolling in dough, what with images that the media presents and given NFL salaries these days. But looks can be deceiving. Let me break it down: Scott played nearly seven years in the NFL, but the average NFL career lasts only two years—Just two years!That means most players finish playing way before they hit 30-years-old. So in order to never have to work again, players must make enough to live off of for the next 60 years, which, for many players, is impossible. Players in Scott’s era (the 90s) made damn good money, but they simply did not make what players make currently. Even now, not all current players are millionaires. The bottom line is that Scott works to maintain the lifestyle to which we have become accustomed, which includes—but is not limited to—providing a roof over our heads complete with heat, air conditioning, and high thread-count Egyptian cotton bed sheets, keeping our bathroom closet stocked with my arsenal of hair care products, supporting my addiction to Wheat Thins and Laughing Cow cheese, and fulfilling our son’s incessant requests for Chinese take-out.
We employ hired help.
I think the aforementioned answer covers this, but to be clear, do we have a nanny, a chef, or a maid? No, no, and no.
We spend our days lunching, manicuring, and shopping.
If by lunching you mean slapping together a PB&J in between diaper changes, and if by manicuring you mean wrestling a 35-pound toddler to the floor so that you can cut his Edward-Scissorhand-fingernails, and if by shopping you mean trolling eBay while the kids are in bed, then yes.
Our husbands have several kids… by other women.
Scott has fathered two kids… and yours truly pushed both out into this world. I have the pooch and saddlebags to prove it.
Our husbands are dumb jocks.
For starters, have you seen an NFL playbook? It is easier to read the formula for cold fusion. (Okay, I’m totally exaggerating, here to make a point.) But seriously, Scott earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering from Purdue University before getting drafted, and upon retirement, he earned a degree in culinary arts from the Arts Institute in New York City… after he received his teaching certification in the state of New Jersey. Nope, I didn’t just marry him for his brawn.
Our husbands are financially irresponsible.
This is my absolute favorite stereotype to debunk. Yes, Scott made good money during his playing days. Yes, he traveled a lot and lived a very comfortable lifestyle. But he never owned a Mercedes, never lived in a mansion, and never made it rain. He did, however, buy his mother a house, support his family financially, and fund a children’s foundation mostly out of his own pocket. He also paid his taxes, agents, and other dues that are part and parcel with being a professional football player. Ask Scott could he have done some things differently, and he’ll tell you yes. But does he have any regrets? No.
We groom our sons to play professional football.
I'm not going to lie: I would be proud if Scotty followed in Scott's footsteps. But I would also be proud if Scotty decided to pursue a career in medicine, science, or the arts. The bottom line is this: My son's future does not hinge on whether he becomes a professional athlete. Yeah, we’ll probably put him in pee-wee football within the next year or two, but as for setting our sights on the professional level? It’s not something I’m striving for—even though the chances of making it to the NFL nearly double for the sons of NFL players. Will Scotty feel pressure to become the third Conover to make it to the NFL? Perhaps. (Scott’s first cousin, Frank Conover, was also drafted to the NFL in the same year as Scott; more on that in an upcoming post.) But that pressure won’t come from Scott or me. First and foremost, Scott and I want Scotty to be nothing short of passionate about what he does for a living. If that means playing football, then so be it. But this issue doesn’t just affect our sons: One of Scott’s former teammates has a daughter who played offensive line—just like her father—while she was in high school. (Now how’s that for girl power?) He had to beg her to stop for fear that she’d end up getting hurt.
Courtney Conover, The Brown Girl with Long Hair, is a mom of two and wife of an ex-NFL player. She has more Legos and NFL memorabilia than she knows what to do with. She blogs at The Brown Girl with Long Hair.
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