The National Football League Players Association released figures today indicating that both injuries and player salaries increased dramatically from 1983 to 1984.
Gene Upshaw, the union's executive director, estimated that next year, "You'll see at least two teams projecting losses for 1985, and by 1986, 23 teams projecting losses." He declined to elaborate on the source of those figures or to name the teams.
Players Association President Tom Condon of the Kansas City Chiefs said the union is estimating that each of the 28 NFL teams grossed an average of $24.6 million, a figure the union says averages $3.1 million per team more than in 1983.
Condon also indicated that the 28 teams spent $377 million of that total on player compensation, including $261 million on salaries and bonuses, $30 million in deferred payments, $6 million for incentive clauses and $80 million for benefits, a sum the union says equals 51 percent of the NFL gross.
Player salaries announced by the union today clearly reflect major gains from a year ago, a result of competition between the NFL and the U.S. Football League to sign players. The average base salary (not including bonuses) was $135,590, compared to $111,000 in 1983. With bonuses, the average went from $126,600 in 1983 to $157,810 this season.
The injury figures were based on reports released by the NFL for the first eight weeks of the 1984 season.
The union said at midseason, there were 902 reported injuries to 636 players, an average of 112 injuries a week, 32 per team and eight per game. In 1983, after eight weeks, there were 770 reported injuries to 571 players, an average of 95 a week, 27 a team and six per game.
The NFL announced that Pat Haggerty will be the referee for the Super Bowl, his third assignment, and that Howard University Athletic Director Leo Miles will be on the crew as head linesman.
Miles is in his 16th season as an NFL official. He worked Super Bowl VIII and Super Bowl X.
The New York Jets announced they have hired former Redskins coach Bill Austin as line coach. Austin, 52, was named coach of the Redskins in 1970 following the death of Vince Lombardi. He was replaced by George Allen in 1971.