I wouldn't consider myself a big fan of the Big Brother series. I'll usually watch a few episodes during the season just to keep up to speed in case someone asks me about it. However, when I heard that there was a "former professional football player" cast this season my interest level went up a bit.
I didn't think it would be anyone too famous, but was hopeful that it might be someone who was relatively recognizable. After the season premiere last night, I realized that I had no idea who this former pro football player was, and decided to hop online to see what team he had played for.
See, that's the problem with us sportsfans. If something involves sports we feel compelled to dissect it in a thousand different ways, and when we're done we're usually disappointed with the results(though, sometimes they're f@#king sweet!).
Anyway, pretty quickly I was able to track down that the contestant, Nick Starcevic(yes, I'm aware there's a TarHeel football player by the same name), played college ball for the University of Minnesota-Crookston. He was actually a pretty good player for UMN, and was the leading tackler in 2002, 2003 and 2004.
It looked to me like Starcevic's last season for UMN was '04(he wasn't on the roster in '05), so if he was drafted it would have been during the '05 NFL draft. Well, looking at ESPN's '05 Draft Player Tracker you can see that he's not even listed there. Hmmm, that's interesting.
So, I do a few more searches, and can't find any mention of him playing football in the NFL. Then in one of my searches I get directed to the website for the Eurobowl. More specifically, I get to this(.pdf team roster for the Seinajoki Crocodiles). What do you know, Nick Starcevic is up near the top. He's also listed as an "All-Time Crocodile". Yes, that photo up there is of him in his Crocodile gear.
So after all of that, I started thinking. Sure, he does get paid to play American style football, so in that sense he is a professional. However, shouldn't there be some sort criteria that you must meet before being able to call yourself a "pro football player"? Maybe it's just me, but when I hear that I think of the NFL, then either the AFL or CFL. Very quickly I came up with just a few possible conditons that one must meet before calling themselves a "pro football player".
Receive compensation from an NFL team for practicing or playing. The NFL is at the top of the pro football world. If you can get into one of the 32 camps, workout with the team and get paid for it, then I think you should be able to call yourself a pro football player.
Make the roster for an AFL or CFL team. These two leagues aren't quite as competitive so the bar is set a little higher. Just trying out or going through camp isn't enough. You actually have to make the team.
Those are just two quick ones that I thought of off the top of my head. Anybody else have others they wish to contribute?