League releases salary info for top executives

Roger Goodell wasn’t the only NFL executive to take a pay cut last year, but the amount other top earners at the league made was always a mystery.  Until now.

Because of new disclosure rules for executive pay by the IRS, the NFL revealed the compensation of their top operatives to Daniel Kaplan of the Sports Business Journal.  (The information would have become public eventually.)  The numbers are eye-opening.

In the fiscal year that ended in March 31, 2009, Goodell earned $9.76 million between bonuses and salary.  Here are the next highest salaries in the NFL universe.

Steve Bornstein, head
of NFL Media and NFL Network: $7.44 million in total
compensation.

Jeff Pash, chief labor
negotiator and general counsel: $4.85 million.

Eric Grubman, executive VP who oversees marketing and sponsorships: $4.44 million.

Former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, outside consultant: $3.3 million.

Joe Browne, executive VP of communications: $1.7
million

Ray Anderson, executive VP  of football
operations:  $1.12 million.

Anthony Noto, COO: $853,000.

A league source tells PFT’s Mike Florio that employees of the 32 teams are bracing for the reaction to these numbers. It’s widely believed that most of the owners had no idea regarding the magnitude
of some of these compensation packages.  (Robert Kraft is not in this group.)

Perhaps anticipating this, the league sent a memo to every team reminding them that the figures above did not reflect the most recent year.

“All of the above executives received no base salary increase
in 2009 and received an annual bonus in April 2009 that was lower than
the prior year. These decisions were made at a time when the NFL
offered employees buyouts and eliminated other job positions.”

We are very interested to hear the NFLPA’s response to the news.

66 responses to “League releases salary info for top executives

  1. Nice to see Tagliapoo hooked himself up with a sweet consultant gig.
    I’m sure the responsibilities are strenuous…

  2. 3,300,000 for Paul Tagliabue ? You gotta be kiddin’ me. I hope Goodell will be alright sfter taking his voluntary paycut. Afterall, 9.76 million just doesn’t go as far as it used to.

  3. i really don’t have a problem w/ these numbers, except for one….TAGLIABUE? he’s getting away with robbery here! $3M to be semi-retired and maybe have to pick up a phone or answer an email every once in a while?? i am sure Goodell can do his job w/ him. That is insane; I’d rather it be called a pension, but he probably gets one of those too.

  4. I don’t know why this would be a shock, when there are rookies in the league that make more than this.
    In what other industry do some entry-level employees make more than the executives?

  5. I’d love to know how much time and effort Tagliabue puts in for the 3.3 mill as an “outside consultant.”

  6. Nice try NFL, but it’s the owner’s books we need to see. After all, they are the ones who are asking the players to take an 18% decrease. Al Davis and Jerry Jones’ book should be most interesting.

  7. Considering that rookie 3rd round picks get $1 million+ as a signing bonus, I’m not sure the NFLPA has room to complain about anything.

  8. The NFLPA’s reaction should be to hope those guys forget the name Jamarcus Russell. Their salaries are roughly the same amount as JR’s guaranteed money and they actually did more for the game than JR has.

  9. The entire system (NFL) is full of money hungry leaches–players, owners, NFL staff–why are not the officals make millions or maybe they are on under cover pay offs
    Does the league swtaff lose their wages on a lock out??

  10. why the f is tagliabu being paid to consult anything? How’s that Jacksonville team working out, Pauly boy?

  11. What’s Paul Tagliabue doing on the payroll? Given that Goddell has turned the league on it’s ear and suspending people left, right and centre, what “outside consulting” could Taglilabue be doing?

  12. Tagliabue gets over 3 million dollars as an “outside consultant?” Honestly? That’s ridiculous.

  13. actually, that isn’t nearly as bad as I expected it to be. I was expecting at least 16 of the team top execs to make over $1mil.

  14. Tags makes $3.3 million?? I guess it pays off to hand-select the next commissioner, then he’ll be inclined to sign the $3.3mm check to you for the next however many years for sitting at home watching Desperate Housewives.

  15. Who gives a flying crap what the NFLPA has to say about anything let alone executive salaries. Why are top executives of corporations vilified for being paid when no one raises an eyebrow at their counterparts in the unions that are being paid just as much? These guys have earned their money; they have made the NFL an incredibly profitable business that has allowed the players to receive the handsome salaries that they earn and rightfully deserve. As for the layoffs, I didnt see any of the players or coaches taking pay cuts or contributing to the leage to prevent them. Its a business people get laid off.

  16. This really is sickening. To think of the number of jobs that they cut, just to pay a retired “outside consultant” 3.3 million a year is pretty freaking negligent. That’s 100 employees at $33,000 a year, although a low salary, a salary nonetheless for a hard working employee who probably deserves the money a lot more than a retired commissioner sitting on a beach somewhere. If he wants to offer advice and insight, why doesnt he just do it for free and if not, who the hell needs him.

  17. “Former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, outside consultant: $3.3 million.”
    Seriously? $3.3 million? To Tagliabue? This has got to be some kind of Costanza thing where the league pays him for his advice and then does the exact opposite. Genuinely sorry about the Seinfeld reference, as there has been far too much of that here, but it’s the only way that a payout to that clown makes any sense.

  18. Are you going to publish the payroll for NBC Sports executives when it is available to the IRS?
    Bet that will be an eye-opener as well, huge money for a network that televises one NFL game a week, 6 Notre Dame games, no basketball & no baseball. I’m guessing there are a bunch of millionaires in the 30 Rock “sports” department too.
    Anyone believe we’ll see those salaries here?

  19. Goodell is the friggin’ commisioner, and he has a big job and does a lot of things, so I hope he’s making more than most of the league’s players (we dont’ need jealous bitter underpaid stooges in charge of the players)
    but $3.3 million for Tagliaboue!!???? WTF???!!!
    Can someone show some proof that he’s had ANYTHING to do with the NFL since he left?
    Everyone listed has an actual job and actual does stuff, but this Tagliaboue $3.3 m is outrageous.

  20. Why does everyone have their panties in a bunch over these salaries? The NFL is a gold mine, a billion dollar business. It stands to reason that its executives get compensated accordingly. And I’ve got no problem with Tags’ salary. The guy was commissioner for 17 years and was instrumental in turning the game into the money machine that it is today. Why shouldn’t he get a pittance of what he helped create? And why is everyone assuming that he has little to no involvement as an outside consultant? Does anyone here have any idea the extent of his consulting? Or are they just bitching?
    Sounds like a bunch of whining from bitter, average office worker joes to me.

  21. stetai: can you show proof that Tagliabue hasn’t had anything to do with the NFL since he left? No? I didn’t think you could. You’re just speculating. The guy helped create the NFL into the billion dollar business that it is today. Why shouldn’t he get a portion of what he helped create?

  22. After reading these comments, all I can say is, “wow…you are all complete idiots.”
    NFL execs make a lot of money…well there’s a shocker(sarcasm).
    Are you guys jealous because they make more money than we do? Do we work for, or own, businesses that are as big or larger than the NFL? No, we don’t….so stop crying.
    The execs, the owners, they deserve the money, they’ve spent their whole lives working hard to reach this point. The players should be thankful to make half of their current salaries. I honestly expected to see higher numbers…these seem reasonable.

  23. Well boys, what this should show everyone, is that a law degree still pays more than having all the talent in the world. Because let’s face it, even though some players make over $10M, it’s a very few number. And for those few who do make over $10M a year, they are still putting their bodies on the line for 16 weeks out of the year. Goodell is making as much as them and not having to hit anyone or worry about getting hit. And if you looked at the entire league salary chart, I bet he’s making in the top 5% of them.
    I wish someone would make that point in a motivational speech to inner-city youth.

  24. “The guy helped create the NFL into the billion dollar business that it is today.”
    Theoretically. I mean he was sitting in the big chair when it happened but it was more like he was dragged forward, kicking and screaming by guys like Bowlen, Jones and Kraft.

  25. [quote]Sounds like a bunch of whining from bitter, average office worker joes to me.[/quote]
    Wow, you’re a regular Sherlock Holmes ain’t ya?
    Your deductive reasoning skills clearly mark you as a captain of industry amongst other notable money-earning titans giants such as Roger Goodell.
    Don’t forget who the customer is idiot. There’s a corporate graveyard full of companies whose CEO’s didn’t get the message either.

  26. tags is getting paid for the great job he did with the CBA… oh wait a minute… perhaps he should be a consultant for cities looking build more museums….

  27. None of them are worth more than a million dollars. Period. The toughest job in the world is the POUS and he makes much less. The problem with capitalism is the wealthy decide what they get paid and what the rest get paid.

  28. How in the world does the Commissioner make more money in 2009 than Tom Brady? Tom is one of the league’s superstars, and the commissioner complains that the players make to much. Simply outrageous!

  29. if they’re keeping tags as a consultant; then why the hell do they have commissioner goofball? $12 million for both of them and they’re talking about linebackers making more money than team owner’s. if they want players to take a pay cut these execs. should definately take a pay cut!

  30. Cripes. Take the 3.3 million sent to Tagliabooty and give it to any charity at all. That would be a windfall for any charity, and it would make a difference in the real world, with real people, with real diseases, with real education, with real opportunities, with real sport facilities at schools. Tagliobutt is done and gone, right? Why pay him? He wants to give advice? Fine! The NFL is rife with the same problems of society in general — give enormous amounts of money to people doing nothing or little.

  31. SprintPhoneFTW:
    I never said I was a “captain of industry amongst other notable money-earning titans giants (grammar) such as Roger Goodell.” I work as an accountant making $50,000 a year. I’m the definition of a working stiff. My point was that, reading these comments, it just seemed like a lot of whining from average joes who are just jealous of how much these guys make.
    And “Don’t forget who the customer is idiot. There’s a corporate graveyard full of companies whose CEO’s didn’t get the message either.”? Are you implying that you think the NFL is going to fail? Puh-lease. Get your head out of your ass. Even if there’s a lockout/strike and the entire 2011 season is wiped out, people will come back and watch in DROVES when they resume.

  32. Perhaps everyone should start writing Paul Tagliabue some long letters on a weekly basis to give him something to do.

  33. “received no base salary increase in 2009 and received an annual bonus in April 2009 that was lower than the prior year”
    I don’t know of ANYONE who got any kind of increase in pay, base or otherwise, but know plently who had to take paycuts and haven’t had a raise in years due to the economy.

  34. FordPSD60:
    “None of them are worth more than a million dollars. Period.”
    Actually, they are. When you’re an executive for a multi-billion dollar business, and you’re making people boatloads of money, typically, you’re compensated accordingly. You reek of jealousy!
    “The toughest job in the world is the POUS and he makes much less.”
    The logic of a third-grader.
    “The problem with capitalism is the wealthy decide what they get paid and what the rest get paid.”
    WHAAAAAA!!!! WHAAAAAA!!!! WHAAAAAA!!!! STOP WHINING!!!

  35. At one time, General Motors was the undisputed, juggernaut corporation on planet earth.
    It had resources that could mold national policy with an utter stranglehold on market share.
    It had the same level of national symbolism as the NFL.
    GM today is a pathetic carcass of its former glory and the same fate awaits any organization that alienates its customers. Sure, the love of football on a mass scale will never go away but that doesn’t have to mean the ‘NFL’.
    As unlikely as that ever seems, they are not immune. They cannot operate with gross waste and disregard forever.

  36. My dad was a teacher for 25 years, shaping young minds and what not. And he was a very good teacher at that. His final paycheck paid him his 1 millionth dollar.
    That is how f’ed up the world is.

  37. GoBrowns19: Stop being so naive! I’m sure your Dad was a very good teacher. Problem is, he is one of 6.2 million teachers throughout the United States. Now, I know you think your Dad is the GREATEST TEACHER IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD! But the fact of the matter is, he is eminently replaceable. There is no shortage of people who are just as qualified to do his job.
    Comparably, there are very few people who are talented enough and qualified to run multi-billion dollar businesses. Which is why they are compensated at a much higher rate. It’s quite simple really.
    An f’ed up world would be if we paid every teacher in America a million dollar salary.

  38. These are the guys that get the TV deals the marketing deals the deals that put the money in the owners hands which then is given to the players.
    These guys go out and deal with the Networks and the rest of the sponsors you can not market the biggest game in the country with scrubs
    This is less then the banks GM and Chrysler pay there top dogs and they are eating off my plate
    As for the NFLPA screw them
    vicks comments about when he played in atl says it all give me lots and lots of money and I will do what I want
    De Smith will cause a lock out because he is a loud mouth peice of crap
    Will Smith get paid if there is a lock out

  39. SprintPhoneFTW: The NFL is not going bankrupt anytime soon. Trust me. Exactly how are they alienating customers? Have you seen the ratings for the Super Bowl? Fans are always going to complain. It’s in their DNA. The NFL is never going to make all of their fans 100% happy, nor should they.
    And those salaries mentioned in the article are quite fair. It’s not gross waste just because you don’t make as much as them. It costs a lot of money to keep talented people working for you.

  40. I’m surprised that half these guys make less than I do. A few million a year probably seems like a lot to some of the people leaving comments, but it really isn’t that much (especially after you pay 35% in federal income taxes – which doesn’t include Social Security, Unemployment, etc). I’ve worked at numerous corporations and with law firms whose senior partners and executives all made significantly more than the numbers listed here – especially if you count non-salary compensation such as stock grants/options, performance bonuses, etc.
    However, it’s really interesting to watch how people react to figures, when they learn how much someone makes. People just freak out, as evidenced by some of the comments here. It’s the primary reason that even my closest family members and my current girlfriend don’t really know what I make. I don’t talk about it. I learned in my mid-20’s that the best way to make quick enemies is to tell anyone how much you really make. It’s gotta be awkward to have your salary posted publicly.

  41. @Those saying “So what–have you seen the player salaries?” …
    You are being idiotic.
    People are paid according to the value they bring to an organization and how easily they can be replaced. Players are the league’s chief asset–and there are only so many good ones to go around. It’s not that difficult to replace a good marketing specialist or COO. It’s almost impossible to replace an A-list QB, a Pro Bowl left tackle, or a star safety (ask the Steelers). It’s not like you can just call a headhunter and order one.
    As for these salaries … most are in line with what other corporate execs make. But paying Tagliabue $3.3 mil to consult? I realize the NFL is a private company and isn’t required to disclose the info–but I’d like to know exactly how he consults. What, pray tell, does he contribute to the bottom line? Is it a pension? Or is he blackmailing someone?

  42. What does Tagliabue contribute to the bottom line? How about piloting the NFL from a pedestrian pro sport more or less in line with the other pro leagues to a juggernaut that dwarfs the MLB, NBA, NHL, PGA in revenues and popularity? How about overseeing 17 new stadiums being built during his time in charge? How about getting FOX, CBS, NBC, and ESPN to pay them BILLIONS for the rights to broadcast their games?
    What does he contribute to the bottom line? The guy is one of the major reasons it’s a multi-billion dollar sport. Why SHOULDN’T he get a relative pittance for what he helped create?

  43. @madmaximus12 …
    First, Pete Rozelle is the man who piloted the NFL from a pedestrian pro sport to a juggernaut that dwarfs all others.
    Second, I didn’t ask what Tagliabue contributed to the bottom line during his time as commissioner. I asked what he contributes to the bottom line as a consultant on the payroll TODAY. He retired as commissioner. Most people don’t continue to receive a salary after they’ve retired no matter what they did during their tenure. So … is this a pension or a consulting fee? And if it’s a consulting fee, my question stands: What does he do to contribute to the bottom line TODAY?

  44. Deb says:
    Most people don’t continue to receive a salary after they’ve retired no matter what they did during their tenure.
    ************
    If you’re talking about the “working man”, you’d be correct but that’s not true with top level executives. Some go on to “retire” from the company to take a position on the company’s board of directors or they’re retained as an outside consultant for a few years so that their replacement can use them as a sounding board or to explain some of the reasons behind the decisions that they made. Not an unusual thing for a company to do.

  45. @edgy1957 …
    Yes, I’ve worked with corporate executives, and am well aware that some stay on as board members and some continue to consult with their former companies for a time.
    However, Roger Goodell has been commissioner for three and a half years. I would think Paul Tagliabue could have thoroughly explained the reasons behind his decisions by now. And the former commissioner is earning 30 percent of the current commissioner’s salary to consult. If Goodell needs that much of a sounding board, perhaps he’s not the right man for the job.

  46. Deb says:
    Yes, I’ve worked with corporate executives, and am well aware that some stay on as board members and some continue to consult with their former companies for a time.
    *********************
    I’ve also known a few that stayed on as consultants for a lot longer than 3 1/2 and they weren’t earning much of their paycheck.

  47. edgy1957 …
    This isn’t an MBA course, it’s a football blog. So it’s getting old to have certain men traipse behind me on every post to pat me on the head and correct my every word in order to demonstrate their vast superiority on the subjects of business and football. Perhaps that’s not the intention, but that’s certainly how it’s beginning to appear with these endlessly nitpicky posts.
    Yes, thank you, I didn’t just fall off a turnip truck. I know some companies keep their old geezers on the payroll for decades. I try to refrain from posting everything I ever knew about business and football on every single thread.
    My only point in posting about Tagliabue was that when you’re negotiating a labor agreement, perception matters. And since the NFL is telling the players times are hard, it sends out an … unfortunate signal to continue paying the former commissioner 30 percent of the current commissioner’s salary for unspecified consulting duties while telling the players you’re so broke they’ll have to take a near-20 percent cut for their very real contribution to the bottom line. And yes, I’m very aware of the likelihood that player salaries and corporate salaries come from different money pots, but as I said, it’s an issue of perception–and this creates a negative one.
    End of discussion.

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