From 1962-77 (14-game schedule), 10-year veterans represented 7.49 percent of all NFL players. From 1978-2010 (16-game schedule), 10-year vets represented 8.93 percent of all players — throwing out the replacement player season. In 1963, there were zero 15-year veterans on NFL rosters. In 2009, there were 20.
Now, there are certainly extenuating circumstances. Today’s players not only take far better care of themselves, but modern medicine has turned what used to be career-ending injuries into injuries that require a four-week recovery time.
But . . . there’s something to those numbers. Today’s players fear that going from 16 to 18 will dramatically shorten their careers. History suggests otherwise.
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