Earlier this week, we talked about how so many players are infatuated with the trappings of playing in the NFL, maybe moreso than they are with actually wearing the uniform and taking the field. We also talked about how it’s a rather politically incorrect topic, though no less true. But let’s make another point. ‘The Life’ isn’t just something players are pursuing.

Here are a few examples.

  • I meet young people all the time who are college-aged or immediately past college and looking around for what they’re going to do in their life. If they get my business card, or the subject of what I do comes up, they almost always ask me if I take interns. I then ask for them to email me, just to see if they actually follow up. They almost never do.
  • The room where the NFLPA provides its agent exam every year in D.C. is always crowded with 200-300 people. You will see people from every walk of life and demographic there. Black, white, Asian, Hispanic. Men and women. Old and young. All of them are spending $2500 to take a test that will allow them to pursue a business that the overwhelming majority know nothing about.
  • I was just talking to a longtime friend in the financial industry who’s been communicating with a player rated in the first round for more than a year, walking with him through the process, taking his calls, answering his family’s questions, etc. He’s ready to walk away from the young man because nobody — none of the agents recruiting him, none of his coaches, and not even his parents — are willing to tell him no. There are simply no limits put on him whatsoever. Even the members of his family are unwilling to buck this young man, fearful they’ll get on his bad side and miss out on being part of ‘The Life.’

To me, the reason people are willing to do almost anything for a taste of ‘The Life’ is partially due to fantasy football. When a first-year agent signs his first client, it’s fun to share his excitement, but often the mindset is, ‘now I’m in the game! Now I have a real piece of the action. I’m in the league now.’

To some degree that’s true, but at the end of the day, this job is commission sales. Whenever I approach a financial advisor considering getting in the game, my first question is, are you comfortable recruiting someone you don’t know? Are you comfortable getting told, ‘no?’ Are you OK with chasing 22-year-olds, hoping for 30 seconds with them? If the answer is no, maybe you’re not interested in the business as much as you’re interested in ‘The Life.’