The NFL and IOU: 10 Debt Lessons You Can Learn from Football Players

I played the nation’s most popular sport, and I did it very well for a little while. But then it was over because NFL careers average just over three years. 

My years in the NFL taught me almost as much about staying out of debt as my subsequent career as president of So let’s kick off 10 Debt Lessons You Can Learn from Football Players.

1. Brains Beat Bucks

Money will get you out of debt, but it won’t keep you there.  Give someone $1 million and don’t teach them how to budget, save, and invest – and they’ll be broke in no time.

2. Budgeting Is Your Game Plan

Those NFL players who went bankrupt didn’t budget. NFL all-star Warren Sapp made $40 million in his 13-year career. He retired in 2008, and filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

3. Shorten The Field With Technology

There are secure online tools that do the boring math for you. Mint is free, while YNAB (You Need A Budget) charges $84 a year but offers more personalization.

4. Prepare For The Trick Plays Of Life

An emergency fund is for peace of mind, and means you don't have to charge your high-interest credit cards – and carry balances for months.

5. Automate Your Money

Almost every bank and credit card offer automatic bill pay. You set the day when you want to pay, and that amount is automatically deducted from your bank account.