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.”

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Since: Sep 28, 2006
Posted on: September 4, 2011 10:19 am

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

It rubs me wrong when people feel like they are "owed" something, especially after the fact. If he didn't like how much he was getting paid then he should have fought harder for a bigger contract or found a different career. What's really happening is that he sees the big$$ players are making now and thinks "Man, I really missed the boat. How do I get some of that?".

I'm not saying the NFL owners didn't/don't take advantage of the players but I hate the victim routine. I think the NFLPA and NFL are making a step in the right direction with the Legacy Fund but it's never going to be 1/2 the players salary going to pay the former players. find a new way to make money. I don't expect my company to pay my full salary when i retire, it's up to me to make wise investment choices because I know the paltry pension I'll get won't over jack.

I appreciate his play back in the day, don't appreciate his bitching in the current.

Since: Jan 25, 2011
Posted on: September 4, 2011 9:50 am

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

I am over 40... over 50 as a matter of fact, and I remember watching Dan Pastorini play. While I understand and appreciate the sacrafice the old players made, they did so willingly just as they players of today do. You can say the game has become "soft", but I would disagree with you. The game has applied new rules intended to protect players, but the players of today are bigger, faster and stronger than their predecessors and just like their predecessors are just one play away from a career ending or life threating injury every time they step onto the field.

As for the old players deserving more, I would again disagree with you and I do so not from a lack of sympathy for the former players, but from a business point of view. The NFL is a business, and like many businesses, it has grown from it's humble beginnings into a very lucrative company over years of hard work by both the players and the owners. Like any company, the employees that contribute to their success and growth are typically compensated fairly based on their market value at the time and their pension benefits were based on the value of what they earned, as it should be. My grandfather worked his whole life as a machinist for an ironworks company and retired in the late 60's to a pension of $562 a month for the next 30 years. His pension was fixed and despite the growth of the company he worked for, his pension did not increase.  I have been with the same corporation for 25 years and plan another 15 before I am financially ready to retire. When I do, my contribution to my company is over, I will have my retirement nest egg along with my other planned resources, but will not expect my company through more money at me when the employees who follow me continue to grow the business.

 The difference here is that the players come into their industry as young men knowing full well that the expectancy of their career as a player is limited to a short number of years and that they should be planning for a future after football. Even the "old-timers" knew that. Bottom line is that the player is an employee and an employee earns a wage. Owners of the company are the ones that benefit from the growth. They pay the salaries and reap the benefits of profitability and assume the risks that are associated with underperformance of their company. That's the way it is, if you don't like it, become an owner instead of an employee.

Since: Sep 21, 2008
Posted on: September 4, 2011 6:43 am

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

F___ Dan Pastorini. When will people wake up and take responsibility for their own lives? He retired in 1982. That's 29 years to work in another industry and save for retirement. I agree the NFL may need to take special consideration regarding health benefits for former players, but increasing pensions when the rest of the world (that doesn't work for the government) is losing them? How much did the players in Dan's era increase pensions for the players from the 30's and 40's? While Drew Brees' statement may be unpopular, it doesn't make it untrue.

Since: Oct 27, 2006
Posted on: September 3, 2011 11:37 pm

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

I feel for alot of the old timers, who are disabled due to their sacrificing their bodies and brains for the sport.  I am 54, so I remember alot of these guys.  The sad truth is, however, that in the real world, that us average working people live in, they are compensated alot more than alot of us would be, or are, under the same circumstances.  I think alot of these guys maybe should have put the college education, that was paid for, to use, and planned a career after football, as they had to know their careers would be relatively short.  For those whose disabilities prevent, or prevented, them from pursuing other careers, well they should be compensated more, but so should alot of everyday people who's livelihoods have effected their health.  It sure as hell isn't Drew Brees's fault, or the current NFL owners, who are making player safety a major priority.  It needs to be handled more on an individual basis, as there are those who have a sense of entitlement, as I feel Pastorini does, and those with legitimate issues.  So he can't remember things some times.  Did that prevent him from trying harder to have a succesful career after football, or to make better financial choices?  I don't know, but I have heard alot worse cases than his, and he seems to be bitching louder than most.

Since: Nov 18, 2008
Posted on: September 3, 2011 9:13 pm

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

Drew Brees just represents the NFL attitude. The current players are not as much the problem as the owners are. No matter how you cut it, in my opinion, the game of football owes these men more than $1000 bucks a month. They should help with their football related injuries at the very least.  

It was their hard nosed style of football that made the game great. It was the blue collar, smash mouth, in your face way they played that made the game great. We the football fans OWE THEM!! Certainly we owe them our support. They will always have mine.

Since: Jan 16, 2008
Posted on: September 3, 2011 8:07 pm

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

when he played from 71-82 did they not negotiate a new cba?  i bet he did not care abouy retired players then.

Since: Jan 7, 2011
Posted on: September 3, 2011 5:51 pm

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

Obviously they should have done a better job of negotiating when they were players instead of making the current player the villians. This industry probably has done more do improve benefits for retired employees after they left employment than any other industry. How many broken down construction workers who had to work every day of their life, get improved benefits after they retire. The answer is none--Employers and Union Plans typically do not improve benefits for retirees after they leave employment.

Since: Oct 28, 2007
Posted on: September 3, 2011 2:44 pm

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

RavenFever, these guys were fairly compensated when they played.  If they didn't like the terms, they were totally free to go and find another job and another career.  Again, I feel for them and anyone who has had bad breaks in their lives.  But sometimes, we dig our own graves.  So $1,700 desn't pay Pastorini's rent?  How many people live and try to raise a family on less than that?  I guarantee you, if Pastorini had to do it all over again, he would have made better decisions in his life and with his money.  Why does Drew Brees have to be the bad guy for what Dan Pastorini did in his own life 20, 30 even 40 years ago?

Since: Oct 28, 2007
Posted on: September 3, 2011 2:32 pm

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

I understand the resentment of ex-players.  But that doesn't mean I agree with it.  When these guys played, no one guaranteed them money or health care for the rest of their lives.  They knew this was going to be a brief part of their lifetime of work.  If they didn't make enough money to last the rest of their lives, they knew they would have to find other employment when their careers were over. If they did make enough money to last, but blew it on bad investments or poor spending habits, again, that's their fault, not the fault of current and recent players.
  Anything current players do for the oldtimers is out of the kindness of their hearts, not out of obligation or necessity.  The oldtimers should be appreciative, not bitter.  Mr. Pastorini, I guarantee you a teacher, a fireman, a police officer from your era would have given a lot to have earned what you did when you played in the NFL. Guess what?  People in those professions who are your age are more than likely STILL WORKING!!

Since: Nov 18, 2008
Posted on: September 3, 2011 12:43 pm

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

Why do you and others fail to understand these guys are only askong for 'fair compensation' for what they contributed!! The dumb mistakes they've made is separate!! At least they deserved reasonable medical care in a league making BILLIONS of dollars. John Mackey recenty died.....begging for help to pay for medical bills. Sad situation!!!

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or