Blog Entry

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

Posted on: August 31, 2011 8:26 am
Dan Pastorini is upset with the way he feels been treated by the NFL and the NFLPA (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Dan Pastorini is mad. He’s mad at the NFL owners. He’s mad at the NFL Players Association. And he’s mad at Drew Brees.

“F--- Drew Brees,” Pastorini said.

Pastorini is mad at the way he feels he and his former NFL compatriots have been treated, and though Brees isn’t the true villain in this movie, he’s also an easy target for something he said two years ago.

Pastorini looks at the new CBA deal and figures out how much more money he’ll receive as a player who retired before 1993. He remembers how much he made when he was playing quarterback for the Oilers, Rams, Raiders and Eagles from 1971-82. Then, he thinks about the NFL Players Association and the NFL owners -- and the labor fight for which he couldn’t participate -- and his blood boils.

He gets mad, really mad, and he lets loose on a rant in which he places blame on both sides who he believes simply doesn’t care about the men who helped build the NFL into what it is today.

The $620 million “Legacy Fund” added to the new CBA for the players who retired before 1993 that will be used to increase pensions? And the $300 million in other benefits, including those for health? It’s simply not good enough for Pastorini. Not good enough for how much he says he sacrificed.

“I’m going to get an extra $1,000 a month. Big f------ deal,” the 62-year-old Pastorini told recently. “I think it’s a travesty the way they treat the older players. I’m part of that group. They’re throwing us a bone with the $620 million. By the time they get to a new CBA after 10 years, they won’t have to worry about us pre-93er’s. It’s sad, but it’s their M.O. They want to wait for us to die.

“What they’re talking about now is to give us a bone and to shut us up. It’s just wrong. It’s damn wrong. And the players association is just as greedy as the owners are, if not more so. The players don’t go to bat for us, which makes us ashamed.”

And what Brees said in 2009 when discussing retired players who complained about their benefits -- as recounted here by’s Mike Freeman -- really upsets Pastorini.

“There's some guys out there that have made bad business decisions,” Brees said then. “They took their pensions early because they never went out and got a job. They've had a couple divorces and they're making payments to this place and that place. And that's why they don't have money. And they're coming to us to basically say, 'Please make up for my bad judgment.' In that case, that's not our fault as players."

It might have seemed Brees was talking directly to Pastorini, who’s had to declare bankruptcy twice and has been divorced after ending his one-time Pro Bowl career. Clearly, Pastorini feels that Brees -- who is making $7.4 million this year and could be the next quarterback to win a $90 million contract -- made it personal.

“My first year’s salary was $25,000, then $30,000, then $35,000,” Pastorini said. “These guys make my first contract in a game. Look at (former NFLPA executive director) Gene Upshaw and what he left his wife when he died? How did he leave her $15 million? They’ve been screwing us from day one. My pension was $1,100 a month, then $1,200, then $1,400, and now it’ll be $1,750. No medical, no disability -- $1700 doesn’t even pay for my rent.”

Not surprisingly, the NFL has a slightly different opinion.

Said NFL spokesman Greg Aiello in a statement to “We respectfully disagree with Dan.” The NFLPA declined comment on the issue.

But let’s look at the other side of the story. Before the newest CBA, the Legacy Fund didn’t exist. The NFL and the NFLPA are both contributing at least $300 million over the next 10 years to add more money for former players. If it’s $1,000 more a month for a retiree, that’s $1,000 more than that former player had before.

And though Brees’ statement continues to backfire on him and the union, those close to Brees says he was one of the retired players’ biggest advocates in trying to give back to the players who came before him -- and to get everybody to understand the importance of doing so. Witness a radio interview he gave last April to XX 1090 in San Diego.

“I know that I’m fighting for so many people here, for former players in the form of improving their pensions and disability benefits to take care of those guys that built this game for us and future players too,” he said. “To be honest with you, this is one of those things that when a settlement is reached, that settlement is something that I’m probably never going to benefit from. It’s guys before me, it’s guys that are going to come after me. So for me, there’s so many guys that made sacrifices before us to make this game better.”

Dan Pastorini with Bum Phillips, Wade Phillips and Bob McNair (Getty). Pastorini (second from the left in the photo to the left) has good reason to want better medical benefits as well. With so much newly emerging information about chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Pastorini is worried that he’s going to be suffering from the dementia-like condition if he lives long enough.

“I’ve been to clinics. I’ve been put on vitamin regimens. I find myself not remembering people’s names,” said Pastorini, who said he sustained at least a dozen concussions when he played. “I’ll go to the kitchen for a cup of coffee, and I can’t remember why I went in there. It’s possible I have that. I won’t know until they cut my brain open.”

Pastorini isn’t alone in his thoughts. During Super Bowl week in Dallas, the NFL Alumni held a press conference that featured former players who were fighting -- and outspoken in their demand -- for better pension benefits and long-term health care.

But in reality, what can the NFL and the NFLPA say to fully satisfy the league’s alumni? Probably nothing, and to their credit, both sides feel like they’ve tried to improve the conditions for the retirees. But to Pastorini, it’s just not good enough.

“There’s a lot of greed in this business,” Pastorini said. “We’re the guys on the outside looking in, and we’re never going to be compensated for what we do. We built the game, and these guys should be kissing our ass now. But they’re not.”

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Since: Dec 3, 2007
Posted on: September 1, 2011 8:39 am

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

In the past, the players were big time screwed making hardly nothing, while the owners were wealthy as can be.

Try becoming an owner.  Why do people continue to blame the "rich owners" for making the rest of folks miserable?  If it weren't for these investors, there would be no jobs and we'd all be cracking nuts open with rocks as a means to feed our families.

The league put people at risk with muliple concussions and other ailments, then throws them to the curb.

Are you saying that players 30-40 years ago didn't know the risks of the job (a game) that they chose to do?  In my job, I don't run full speed at another person and throw my entire body weight into theirs.   I don't get concussions!  Funny how that works.

Since: Jul 3, 2007
Posted on: September 1, 2011 8:32 am

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

Not a big Drew Brees off the field fan. At least from what I read in the papers he seems to only care about himself. Therefore Pastorini is annoyed. Drew Brees will never go through what Dan Pastorini and a ton of ex-NFLer's go through and that is having to work again after a football career. Didn't Brees sue his own mother? That should tell you plenty.

Since: May 24, 2007
Posted on: September 1, 2011 7:42 am

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

Let's start by agreeing that players today, in nearly all sports, are grossly overpaid and many will find themselves in a predicament similar to Pastorini's.  With that said, how many people will actually have access to a fully funded pension in their retirement?  That is a perk of the job he used to have.  I have a difficult time feeling too badly for people in this position.  Other posters have referenced Vets and what they go through upon their later years.  That situation is more troublesome to me.
IMHO, whether it is in sport or another industry, being unionized can cause more problems over the long haul.  In summary, Dan I am sorry that you have to make ends meet on $1700/month (which is probably $1700/month more than I will have sent to me in my 60's) and I hope that your health does not lead down a scary path but I am not sure that your anger is directed appropriately.  

Since: May 18, 2011
Posted on: September 1, 2011 7:36 am

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

Another spoiled athlete blaming the world for his problems. He had a job that he was well paid for. He agreed to do it. Why on earth would he expect that people who happen to have the job he used to have should have to pay his way. He is eligible for the same Social Security that I am. The diffience is that I can't go out and make or get extra money because I used to play football. Although I can't remember why I went into the kitchen, I can remember that Dan Pastorini had glory days that most of us can only dream of. 

Since: Nov 9, 2008
Posted on: September 1, 2011 7:19 am

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

Dan Pastorini should stop whining. What was done, is done. Get over your sense of entitlement Dan.

Since: Sep 1, 2011
Posted on: September 1, 2011 5:19 am

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have an idea Dan..........GET A JOB!
Why should you be different then anybody else thats retired in this world, be greatful your getting that!

I'm sure thats alot more then our service men get when they come home from war disabled!

Since: Nov 1, 2008
Posted on: September 1, 2011 4:06 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Nov 1, 2008
Posted on: September 1, 2011 4:01 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: May 28, 2009
Posted on: September 1, 2011 3:07 am

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

The one thing everyone here (Players, Owners, former Players) have in common, is greed.  I can understand what the former players are feeling when they see someone holding out on their team and then getting guaranteed millions of dollars.  Yes, the former players have gotten what Pastorini says is about an extra $1000 a month, but how long did they have to wait for that?  All these years, no cost of living increases, no medical benefits, minimal retirement benefits while suffering long-term injuries, financial problems which can lead to some of the marital problems. 

I work, on the low end, 60 hours a week.  I risk my life everyday at work.  I can barely afford to go to a game once a year because of the ridiculous prices. When I retire, my pension is half of what I'm making, which isn't that much.  I too look at these players and owners with some contempt about the amount of money they want.  Many of these guys make more playing one game than I make all year.  I'm not alone here either. 

This money issue has gotten ridiculous.  I think everyone has forgotten that it's the fans that put the money in their pockets.  The fans that work hard all year long who spend hard earned money to attend one or two games a year because that's all they can afford. 

Keep things in perspective here. Players today are making more money than they can spend in a lifetime.  Owners have more money than some countries.  Many former players aren't doing well.  Fans are struggling to stay loyal and spend money to go to the games.  The fun is being taken out of the game.  Why the NFLPA and the owners aren't doing more to take care of the former players is beyond me.  Why current players need millions and millions of dollars is beyond me.  Same goes for the owners.  It's time to give back a little bit and stop with the "me, me me" attitude.

Since: Jul 20, 2010
Posted on: September 1, 2011 3:07 am

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

What an ungreatful pile of crap.  My dad is 71, a vet with parkinson's disease, and still has to work to make ends meet.  He never complains or bitches about the hand he was dealt.  I can't remember names WHAHHHH.  What a pussy!!!

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