NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was handsomely rewarded for helping the league’s team owners to reach new agreements on media rights and labor deals. Substantially compensated would be another way to put it.
According to the New York Times‘ Ken Belson, Goodell was paid nearly $128 million during the past two years for his role in making those deals. The media rights agreements are exorbitantly rich for the NFL, of course. Deals with CBS, ESPN/ABC, Fox, NBC, and Amazon will bring the league more than $100 billion (or $10 billion per year) through 2023.
The commissioner’s pay over the past two fiscal years was revealed during the NFL owners’ meetings this past week. According to Belson, a slide showed Goodell’s compensation for 2019-20 and 2020-21: $63,900,050 per year. Only team owners attended the session where that slide was shown, but the information was obviously given to the NY Times.
Goodell also helped successfully negotiate a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL Players Association that resulted in a 17th game — and the additional revenues coming from an additional game, and more TV windows available for international games — and the playoff field being expanded to 14 teams.
Goodell’s enormous compensation will surely be viewed as controversial in light of his refusal to release emails and findings from the investigation into the Washington Football Team’s sexual misconduct allegations. The commissioner claims that such information isn’t being revealed in order to protect the identity of those who aided the investigation.
Yet many believe that the commissioner is protecting WFT owner Daniel Snyder and likely other league officials by declining to release internal communications and investigative discoveries. That’s not a difficult conclusion to draw, considering Goodell works for the NFL team owners in his role as commissioner.
Amazingly, 90 percent of Goodell’s salary during the past two years was from bonuses.
Nearly three years ago, owners argued about the commissioner’s compensation when an extension of Goodell’s contract was being discussed. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was among those who contended Goodell’s salary should be re-evaluated in light of several public relations mishaps, including player protests during the National Anthem and domestic violence allegations, in addition to declining TV ratings. As a result, Goodell’s contract was renegotiated to be based largely on bonuses rather than a contracted salary.
Last year, amid budget cuts and employee furloughs during the COVID-19 pandemic, Goodell decided to eliminate his annual salary as part of the NFL’s cost-cutting measures. As a result of bonuses, however, his compensation far exceeded what was a regular $40 million paycheck.