Jason Kelly '95 | August 19, 2014 | Notre Dame Magazine
Michael Oriard ’70, an All-American at Notre Dame, made $27,000 in 1973 as a backup center for the Kansas City Chiefs. Even the All-Pros among his fellow offensive linemen had salaries no higher than $50,000 — about $300,000 in 2014 dollars. This season, Minnesota’s John Sullivan ’07, the 10th highest-paid center in the National Football League, will earn more than $4 million.
Back in Oriard’s era, the Chiefs’ Arrowhead Stadium was one of the first in the NFL to have luxury boxes. When Oriard saw the people in those glassed suites, he says he felt like the players were modern-day gladiators maiming themselves for the moneyed aristocracy’s amusement.