Dang folks, read a book, or take an econ class. . . In major metro areas, teachers, cops, gov't bureacrats, etc., are paid very well and have great benes. It's a combination of political pull, voter decisions, and market forces. National average for professional salaries is a silly, meaningless stat, unless you beleive the cost of living in Arkansas is about that of Silicon Valley. Heck, top tier NFL QBs are probably paid vey close to their true worth - closer than most salaried folks - the QBS get pretty much what the market supports, without the distotions caused non-market forces. We value their play enough to watch the games - and the commercials - the ratings show it to be so.