While the playoffs can add a bit of padding to National Football League players’ bank accounts at the end of the season, most players are paid far less during the highly watched games than they are during their regular season schedule.
Players on teams that qualified for the Wild Card round – which was played last weekend – earned either $28,000 or $31,000 this year, depending on whether their team was the division winner.
Players on teams that qualify for the division playoffs, which begin Saturday, will receive $31,000, while those on teams that qualify for the conference championship will earn $56,000.
A player on a team that wins the Super Bowl this year will earn $124,000, while a player on the losing team will earn $62,000.
Interestingly, teams that did not play in the Wild Card games – or those who clinched the top spots in their divisions – did not get paid last week, Robert Raiola, director of the Sports and Entertainment Group at PKF O’Connor Davies, told FOX Business. Those teams included the San Francisco 49ers, the Baltimore Ravens, the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Raiola noted that playoff pay, overall, is low compared to what players earn during the regular season.
Many players receive only playoff pay – as determined by the league’s collective bargaining agreement – once their team makes it to the postseason.
And, of course, players will not get to keep the full amount they earn because they will owe taxes.
Regular season and postseason earnings are both taxed as ordinary income.
U.S.-based players pay federal taxes – where the top rate is 37 percent – in addition to state and local taxes, which are much higher for some players than others.
A handful of teams are located in states like Florida, Texas and Washington, which don't charge income tax.
Even athletes who live in states without income taxes are subject to taxes in other states where they play and earn income.
Those "jock taxes" are usually calculated by dividing the number of workdays spent (practices and games) in the city by the total number of workdays, but some states just use games played. It's not a double tax, however. Players pay taxes equal to the highest rate in either their resident or non-resident state. They get credit for the taxes in the lower-tax state.
The Super Bowl will be played in Atlanta, Georgia, this February, meaning winning and losing players will owe taxes to the state and city. Next year’s game will be played in Florida, where there is no state income tax.
The teams set to square off this weekend in the division playoffs include the Minnesota Vikings and the San Francisco 49ers; the Tennessee Titans and the Baltimore Ravens; the Houston Texans and the Kansas City Chiefs; and the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers. The four winning teams from those games will advance to the conference championships next week.