Are NFL cheerleaders underpaid

Sebastian Vollmer: A football game is like 90 small car accidents

On Thursday night (2:20 p.m.) the 100th NFL season starts with the Chicago Bears playing against the Green Bay Packers. The former NFL professional and today's TV expert Sebastian Vollmer spoke to us about the favorites, the German professionals and the hard life in the NFL.

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Mr. Vollmer, which teams are your favorites to win the Super Bowl?

Sebastian Vollmer: I rate the New England Patriots, the defending champions, even more than last season. Especially in defense, they have improved and are exerting even more pressure. The Kansas City Chiefs made it to the semi-finals last year and can go far this season as well. Presumably, quarterback Patrick Mahomes will be even stronger this year. Last year's finalist Los Angeles Rams is also one of my favorites.

Actually, the US sports system with the salary cap and the draft is designed in such a way that other teams are always involved. How did the Patriots manage to dominate the NFL in the 21st century and win the Super Bowl six times?

The Patriots have had two great constants in head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady since 2000. And in key positions where you simply have to be top staff to be successful in the NFL.

But of course the coaches behind them and the other players also have a large share. In general, the Patriots work in great detail. Personally, I can't compare that to other teams because I only played for New England.

But team-mates told me that nowhere is the work done as hard as in the Patriots. There are even players for whom it was too tough and who preferred to end their careers.

You played with quarterback Tom Brady yourself. How does he manage to still be the best player in the world at the age of 42?

He just loves sports and is an incredibly ambitious person. He knows that he can still perform at its best. He wants to show that on the pitch. He is also very good with his body, has great talent and also lives mentally for sport. I can already predict that he won't want to quit after this season either.

How do you assess the situation of the German NFL players?

Linebacker Mark Nzeocha of the San Francisco 49ers is a very good special teamer and started three times last season. His future looks bright. I hope he gets more playing time on defense.

Equanimeous St. Brown has the potential to become the number 1 wide receiver with the Green Bay Packers. He told me so and I agree with him. He has the talent and has everything that makes a great passport recipient. Unfortunately he will miss this season due to an injury.

Kasim Edebali has been in the NFL for a long time - especially in the special teams. Unfortunately he is currently without a club. But the more German players we have, the better it is for our sport.

Every year stars are suddenly no longer satisfied with their contract and go on strike for preparation and games. This year Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys was one of them. That would be a scandal in football. Why is this accepted in American football?

You can't compare that. In European football, the professionals have the guarantee that they can stay with their club for the full term of the contract and collect their salaries. It's different in American football. You can be released there at any time. Therefore, in the US, it is more acceptable for players to ask for a new contract.

In addition, players have a rookie contract for the first four years and therefore do not earn as much money as the older superstars. As a result, a young top player like Ezekiel Elliott, for example, felt underpaid - even if he still made a lot of money, of course.

Vollmer: "You feel like you've been hit by a car"

American football is a sport with many collisions. How much does the body suffer from this?

The body is a wreck in the season. You constantly have injuries that at some point won't go away and sometimes last for a lifetime. There are constantly broken fingers, torn tendons, or sprained ankles. In order to be somehow fit again on match day, you sleep in ice machines or get taped. Somehow you bite your way through.

Especially we players on the offensive or defensive line could often only move slowly the day after the game and tormented ourselves on the treatment table. You're in your mid-twenties, move like an 80-year-old and feel like you've been hit by a car. With good reason: If you had 90 moves in a game, you would have practically 90 small car accidents due to the collisions.

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Are injuries hidden within your own team because you don't want to jeopardize your job?

In any case. You are always afraid that your substitute will suddenly play a big role, that the coaches will see even more potential in him and will rely on him in future. In the worst case, you lose your job - especially if your substitute is cheaper.

It's like the cattle market. If one doesn't work, you get the other. You are not necessarily seen as a person. It's about what you bring to the team. But this is not only the case in American football, but in every professional sport

As an NFL professional, how much did you actually have to eat to reach your "fighting weight" at that time of around 150 kilograms?

Back then, I was consuming around 6,000 calories a day, more than twice as much as the average person. I ate spoonfuls of olive oil, avocados, nuts, oatmeal, or high-calorie protein shakes to keep my weight off.

Of course, there was also muscle mass. I used to bench press around 225 pounds, so I had a lot of muscles. Today I don't do that anymore, I weigh about 35 kilograms less, but I live more healthily.

Do you want to see the season? We'll tell you where and when the NFL is running live on TV and stream.

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