By Jeff Nixon
Oct. 18, 2016

The NFL Alumni Association recently sent former players a message from Tom Mack (HOF 1999) regarding a petition to provide an additional increase to the pensions of players that were vested before 1993. Please check out the petition below my comments.  

As you all know, the NFL and NFLPA negotiated a Legacy Benefit for former players in the 2011 CBA. In the opinion of many former players, the Legacy Benefit did not go far enough in adequately and equitably funding the pensions of players that did so much to build the foundations of the NFL.  

Pro Football Hall of Fame players were instrumental in helping the pre-1993 vested players get pension increases in the last CBA negotiations.  80 Hall of Fame players signed a letter asking the active players to establish a rookie wage scale - and use the money saved - to increase the pensions of pre-1993 players. 

The wives of Pro Football Hall of Fame players have been getting into the action and have been meeting with members of NFL Management to address the pension plan and see if they can come to some type of agreement on what needs to be done. 

The petition that Tom Mack has presented on behalf of the HOF wives would - if accepted by the NFL owners - increase pensions by $305 per credited season.

I'm not sure about other former players, but for me personally, that type of increase would be a dream come true. The NFL wouldn't hear a peep out of me for the rest of my life - with respect to pre-1993 player pensions. If I had to guess, I would say that most pre-1993 vested players would agree that pension parity would be achieved with an increase of that magnitude. 

I would still like to see the NFL and the NFLPA agree to level the playing field and set the vesting requirement at three years for all former players. Additionally, it would be nice to see the NFL owners do what Major League Baseball did for their unvested pioneer players. On April 21, 2011, Major League Baseball owners and the MLB Players Association agreed to make payments to former players from the 1947 – 1980 seasons who didn't qualify for the league's pension benefit plan. Prior to 1980, only players with at least four years of service time qualified for a pension. Under the agreement, former players with one, two or three credited seasons received payments of as much as $10,000 over a two year period.

For now, let's concentrate on the issue at hand. Let's make sure the NFL owners know that we support the efforts of the HOF players and their wives. Please download the petition to your computer. It can then be signed digitally and sent as an attachment to an email to 

Over the years, many former players have asked me what they can do to get more involved in advocating for better benefits. Well, this is their opportunity to make a difference. If you haven't already done so, please sign the petition and send it to Tom Mack today. If you want to include your own recommendations for pension parity, include that in your email.