Occasionally you will hear proponents of public schools whining about how little money teachers make, and sometimes they will mention that professional athletes make 100 times (for argument's sake) more money than a school teacher. This is apparently unfair in the mind of the union hack, as a school teacher clearly provides more to society than Peyton Manning.
This argument relies on flawed economic reasoning. Prices and wages are not derived from societal benefit. If this was true, parents should make the most money. But they typically work pro bono. Also, Congressmen should make negative money, based on how they typically leach the lifeblood out of society. The fact of the matter is that wages are determined entirely apart from any consideration of the value a job presents to society.
Wages are determined by supply and demand. That's it. And the fact of the matter is that hundreds of thousands of people are "qualified" to be school teachers, regardless of the benefit teachers present to society. Only one person is qualified to play quarterback like Peyton Manning can. And that's why he makes stacks and stacks of cash. Because he's the only person in the world that can play like he can. Further, Manning's employer makes tons and tons of money off of his services, through increased jersey sales, ticket sales, and increased television revenues. As such, someone is demanding the services of a top-tier quarterback, and an employer stands to make a lot of money by getting this quarterback to play for him. Supply is small (only 1 person) and demand is fairly high (32 teams who stand to gain a great deal from his services) and as such he is paid a high wage.
In fact, Peyton Manning deserves to make more money than he does. If a salary cap didn't exist in the NFL, he would probably make more money than he does now. And school teachers deserve to make less than they do. If the teachers' unions didn't have a vicegrip on public policy in most states, and if spineless schools actually had to spend their own money rather than the taxpayers' money, school teachers would almost certainly get less than they do. Plus, they only work full time for 9 months of the year, and get paid a very generous full year salary.
This is why Peyton Manning is far more deserving of an extremely large salary than a school teacher. Because voluntary participants in an exchange economy don't have to care about societal benefit. They care about the supply of the things they need for a living. This is how society allocates resources, and complaining about it really does no good.