Super Bowl Pay tax implications for Bengals Rams players –


Super Bowl LVI will be played this Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. Stakes for the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals include legacy, fame and . . . $75,000, before tax.

Each player on the winning team will receive $150,000, while each on the losing team will receive half. Still, considering income taxes, some Bengals players will earn less if they lose the game than if they played in the Pro Bowl, an exposure that many players don’t take seriously.

During the regular season, players earn different pay rates depending on their contracts. Veteran stars could earn 20 times what a rookie replacement earns.

In the playoffs? Remuneration is moving from relying on individual player contracts to a more union-scale arrangement. Players on the same team receive the same salary, and the dollar amount depends solely on whether their team wins or loses. This system is defined in Article 37 of the CLA. To be clear, players can have Super Bowl bonuses in their contracts. Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham, for example, has $500,000 motivation he will receive if the Rams win.

We spoke with NFL salary cap and contract expert Joel Corry to help sort out player impacts.

Everyone getting the same salary emphasizes the “no ‘I’ on the team” goal of the playoffs. It also leads to unusual pay results, especially when a game is played in California, which has the highest income tax rate in the country. Some of the Rams players who reside in California will actually pay over 50% in federal and California taxes. Bengals players pay California income tax based on days of service in California. It starts when they touch down in California today to prepare for the Super Bowl.

Take Bengals defensive end Trey Hendrickson, who finished fifth in the NFL in sacks during the regular season. His 2022 income is $11.19 million. If the Bengals won, Hendrickson, like each of his teammates, would receive $150,000. He would then owe $48,000 in California state taxes. If the Bengals lose, Hendrickson will owe $47,700, which means he will only get $27,300 for playing in the Super Bowl. Keep in mind that we only focus on taxes to California. If federal income taxes are also included, Hendrickson would owe the IRS $27,750, meaning he would lose $450 playing in a lost Super Bowl.

To put those numbers into perspective, AFC players received $80,000 for winning the Pro Bowl game while NFC players received $40,000. The game was played in Las Vegas, Nevada which has no state income tax (players will still pay taxes in their state of residence provided there is income tax of State). Bengals and Rams players who earned Pro Bowl invites received $60,000, halfway through, because they were unable to attend due to Super Bowl commitments.

The Super Bowl is the most-watched broadcast each year in the United States, far eclipsing other sports programs and network shows. Last year, Super Bowl LV ratings eclipsed those of the No. 2 and No. 3 most-watched shows, the NFC and AFC Championship Games, respectively. Thirty-second Super Bowl commercials cost as much as $7 million. Despite the game’s immense commercial value to the NFL, star Hendrickson will earn $27,300 if his team loses.

If the Bengals had arrived last Sunday, as is customary for Super Bowl teams, Hendrickson would have lost $12,400, after taxes, if the Bengals lost Super Bowl LVI. That’s because he would have been in California two extra days.

Other Bengals players have less before- and after-tax dollars at stake. Take Joe Burrow. Still only in his second season, the Bengals star QB is on a rookie contract. His compensation for 2022 is $4.17 million. If the Bengals win the Super Bowl, Burrow will receive $150,000 and owe California $17,800 in taxes. A loss would net Burrow $75,000 and a $17,400 tax bill to the Golden State.

Of course, there are other ways players can “win” by appearing in the Super Bowl. Win or lose, it can increase name recognition and help with endorsement opportunities. But making less money playing the Super Bowl than playing the Pro Bowl isn’t what many would expect.

(This story has been updated in the seventh and eighth paragraphs to include a reference to additional taxes owed to the IRS.)


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