Almost every kid grows up wanting to be a professional athlete. Even kids that go on and on about becoming a veterinarian or a lawyer secretly desire to be a Yankees shortstop, Cowboys quarterback or U.S. gold-medal gymnast. But the problem with being a starter on a pro sports team is that you have to, you know, do stuff. You have to swing the bat or throw the football or shoot 3-pointers much better than your competition. For most kids, reaching that level is a pipe dream.
If only there were a way to make a lot of money in pro sports without really…trying. You know, a six-figure salary for the guy who likes to sneak a burrito between innings or is content to watch the game from the best seat in the house. What’s that you say? Those jobs do exist? Hip hop hooray! Here are the cushiest jobs in all professional sports.
Job Description: Five-tool baseball players are successful for a reason. To excel in the Majors, you need to have a good swing, solid glove and fast wheels. Unless you’re the designated hitter. If you’re the designated hitter, you just have to stroll up to the plate every couple of innings. That’s it! You can do whatever you want for the rest of the game. Half the game, you have the dugout to yourself to do super fun stuff like finding out how much chewing gum your cheeks can hold, finish that Sudoku puzzle that has been grinding your gears for the past week, or hide a rabid possum in your teammate’s locker.
Job Description: Sure, NFL kickers do put in some actual work. They’re occasionally called upon to make a high-pressure kick to win a game, but other than that, being an NFL kicker or punter is as easy as not purchasing Kreayshawn’s album. Every half hour or so, you trot onto the field, kick a football as far as you can and pray you don’t have to tackle anyone. Punters even get a redo if someone touches them while they’re doing their job. As an NFL punter, no screw-up is ever your fault, and you get all the glory. Weren’t able to tackle the kick/punt returner as he scooted down the sideline for a touchdown? It’s not your fault, you’re just a punter! Failed to execute that onside kick? Those are impossible anyway!
If you do hit the game-winner, bobblehead replicas of you will be sold in stadium shops—when all you really did, after standing in front of a heater on the sidelines for three hours, was jog out and kick a ball. True, you might get knocked unconscious by a blindside hit every once in awhile, but for a million dollars per year, we say suck it up.
Co-Offensive Coordinator – College football
Job Description: This position seriously exists? One guy can’t handle calling all the plays, so he needs another coordinator to take over halfway through the game? “Boy, Jonesie, I just can’t say ‘Omaha’ any more today. Why don’t you take the reins for the second half? I’m going to go take a bubble bath in the locker room.”
Average salary: $480,163
Job description: Do you know how rare it is to see the field as a third string quarterback? It’s slightly less likely than spotting a pegasus and catching Bigfoot in the same day. For $300,000, you get to wear a headset and try to figure out what plays like “Giraffe XYF Firesquad” mean, because your only job in practice is to “get a couple throws in.” YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE TO PRACTICE! Sometimes they let you do elaborate motions with your arms so it looks like you’re relaying plays into the huddle, but you know deep down that no one on the offense is looking at you. You’ve got the best seat in the house for sixteen football games a year, and if by some horrible coincidence the two QBs ahead of you go down, you can throw eight picks in a quarter without making anyone mad, since you only know three plays. League minimum for a rookie this season is $660,000.
Average Salary: $53,000
Job Description: Pouring water into sweaty dudes’ mouths and holding their gross towels. OK, that doesn’t sound too enticing. But are you going to be mad when Drew Brees motions you over to quench his thirst? We didn’t think so. You get tons of free gear, and, if you’re stealthy enough, you might even be able to steal Tom Brady’s jockstrap…er…jersey. Yeah, take the jersey. Did we mention you make $53,000 to shoot water in people’s faces?!
Bullpen Coach Salary: $90,000
PGA Caddie Salary: $1,500 and $3,000 per week
Sports Broadcaster Salary: $68,538
Scoreboard Operator Salary: $45,194
Article originally published in 2012. Updated 2021