I would love to be a fly on the wall when Ryan Getzlaff and his brother Chris get together and compare pay cheques. Ryan plays hockey for the Anaheim Ducks, and he earns more than $8 million a season. Chris catches passes for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and earns roughly $120,000 a year. In other words, Ryan earns considerably more for one game than Chris earns for an entire season. Both of them are constantly at risk of an injury that could end their career in a heartbeat.
Now that the N-F-L season is in full swing, consider Aaron Rodgers who plays quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. The Roughriders have often been compared to the Packers since the Wisconsin community is comparable to Regina in size. Aaron Rodgers earns more than $40 million a season. That’s roughly equal to the total salary bill for the entire Canadian Football League.
Hard as it is to believe, there was a time when football players could make more money in Canada than they could in places like New York and Chicago.
Frank Tripucka, who died earlier this month at the age of 85, was the Roughriders quarterback in the 1950’s before moving to Denver where he helped to get the Broncos started in the big leagues. Bud Grant came to Winnipeg in 1953, so he could make more than he did in Philadelphia.
I was reminded of this when Charles Roberts was honoured by the Blue Bombers. He is Winnipeg’s alltime leading rusher. His numbers are just ahead of the late Leo Lewis. Roberts was known as Blink because of his lightning speed. Today he works at the post office in Long Beach California.
The huge pay difference that exists today between pro football in Canada and the U.S. gives a whole new meaning to the phrase For the love of the game does it not ?
I’m Roger Currie