The NFL hires Commissioners roughly as frequently as the Steelers hire coaches. Actually, Commissioners come and go even more rarely than Pittsburgh coaches.
Since 1960, the NFL has had three: Pete Rozelle for 29 years, Paul Tagliabue for 17, and Roger Goodell for six as of August, and counting. With Goodell under contract through the end of the decade, Falcons owner Arthur Blank recently suggested that Goodell will have the job much longer than that.
Commenting on the bounty situation in New Orleans to ESPN.com, Blank said that the discipline meted out by Goodell will be one of the most significant decisions of his tenure. “I think he’ll be the Commissioner for the next 30 years,” Blank said while prefacing a remark on the strength of the message Goodell is sending about bounties.
It may have been hyperbole from Blank. Then again, maybe it wasn’t. The owners are happy with Goodell, and he likely will have the job he aspired for decades to achieve as long as he wants it.
Plenty of fans like to grumble about Goodell, but there will be a subset of fans who always grumble about the Commissioner of the NFL. Goodell enjoys significant support from the men who put him in the job, and while Goodell may not stay on the job until he’s 82, it’s hard to imagine him ever leaving it for some other position.
And if he makes it another 30 years, it will mean that babies born in the year he got the job will have, for the most part, entered the league and long since retired by the time Goodell is gone.