Roger Goodell calls $765 million settlement “a significant amount”


In the days since the NFL and attorneys for thousands of former players suing them over concussions agreed to a settlement, some have suggested that the $765 million figure was chump change to the league’s billionaire owners. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn’t agree with that.

This is a significant amount of money,” Goodell told the Associated Press.

The thing about dollar amounts, however, is that they’re all relative. Obviously, $765 million is a lot of money to the average American individual, and even to the average American corporation. But to a business like the NFL, which is guaranteed to receive billions of dollars a year from its TV partners for many years to come, $765 million is a very manageable settlement. Especially when you consider that some of the most dire predictions about the concussion lawsuits suggested that they could bankrupt the league.

Goodell noted, however, that the plaintiffs in the lawsuit obviously thought $765 million was enough, or else they wouldn’t have settled for it.

“The plaintiffs also agreed it was an appropriate amount; the mediator felt it was an appropriate amount,” Goodell said.

At the same time, the plaintiffs — especially the ones who are elderly and/or in failing health — wanted to settle while they were still alive to receive the settlement. As Goodell himself acknowledged, getting a deal done quickly was important to the plaintiffs.

“We were able to find common ground to be able to get relief to the players and their families now rather than spending years litigating,” he said.

For those players, getting some money now is better than spending years litigating in the hopes of getting more money later. And for NFL owners, spending “a significant amount” now is a good deal, especially when that “significant amount” is a price they can easily afford.

41 responses to “Roger Goodell calls $765 million settlement “a significant amount”

  1. The NFL’s annual revenue is about 9 Billion. This settlement for is less than 10 percent of what the NFL generated LAST year. By the time the settlement money is paid up the NFL would have brought in 180 Billion. How many players will lose their jobs from concussions in the next 20 years?

  2. The settlement affects the NFL’s bottom line, which affects his bottom line. By the end of Goodell’s run as commissioner, he will have made about half of that.

  3. Dude, I’m glad you’re not my accountant. You are completely ignoring half the equation, something called expenses. And you’re right, it’s all relative. The billion dollar revenues are nearly pay by the player salaries and cost of doing business. Let’s have a peek at profit margin to put this payout into perspective.

  4. Pales in comparison to the billions made every year by the NFL. Poorly negotiated and settled deal by litigants. Look, I am happy they are getting taken care of, they deserve it. But settled for too little and the NFL knows it.

  5. OK, so the NFL withheld info on the affects of head shots and as a result, these retired players need help now, before they die.

    At the same time, the NFL has used the players dire immediate circumstances to drive down the bargain to a fraction of what it should be. (in other words, if you don’t agree to my low sum, this will drag out forever and you won’t live to see the payment.)

    Ironic that the NFL can use the very damage that they caused as leverage to give themselves — not the plaintiffs — a better deal.

    Somehow that doesn’t seem right. Kind of like me breaking someone’s arm then charging them premium for a ride to the hospital, since “they need the ride right now.”

  6. A significant amount less than they should have paid, except the guys who need it need it now before they die from the damage inflicted upon them while they played even as the NFL kept information about that damage away from the players. Goodell is a lawyer working for the owners first and foremost, and with his settlement as well as the Pats cheating scandal has done a great job for the owners at keeping damning evidence from ever seeing the light of day. Too bad he’s morally bankrupt.

  7. Well, it’s a good thing the NFL is a “non-profit” organization and is tax free!

    Roger will now use this settlement number to extract money from taxpayers as they will cry poor when the next owner wants a new lavish palace/stadium.

  8. It is a “significant amount” – for the NFL owners. And for Roger Goodell’s bonus potential.

    For the players? It’s adding insult to injury.

  9. I hope the judge throws out the settlement. This is only a good deal for the NFL. The settlement keeps the damaging information from coming to light, and doesn’t put the NFL on the hook for any future responsibility. It also caps the damages, and limits future litigation, no matter what comes to light.

  10. Whether the NFL makes $1 a year or 100 billion a per is immaterial. The point of the lawsuit is to help those injured. Its never been a question of whether or not the NFL can afford it.
    If the NFL or any other company gave away their money to everyone who “needed” it, at the dollar amount everyone “required” they would be out of business in hours.
    I’m sure the NFL is not squeaky clean in the whole ordeal but neither is the other side.
    Out of the thousands of so called plantiffs, I’m willing to bet there’s only a handful or so truly needing help, the rest are just looking for a quick buck.
    At the end of the day, assuming the checks/balances are in place to ensure only those actually hurt are getting any of the funds, I think the settlement will more then suffice.

  11. osuhearsay says:
    Sep 4, 2013 12:19 PM

    “Remember that $765 million pie is sliced into more than 4,500 pieces.”

    Did you bother to do your own math problem? Because its still 170,000 a head.

  12. “I agree with the amount” … “I disagree with the amount” – Sincerely, tons of random people with no sense of the league’s profit margins or any experience with high profile lawsuits.

  13. Please. “Significant Amount “? The fans will foot that bill. Just like all the rest. We have to keep the NON-PROFIT NFL on a sound financial base. How would the billionaires be able to buy their yachts if they had to pay that bill.
    Goodell is commish for life because he makes the owners very, very rich.

  14. mrwalterisgod says:
    Sep 4, 2013 1:17 PM
    OH, and how many BILLIONS will the league make this year? Another 9?


    REVENUE vs PROFIT .. if they make 9 Billion this year it will be in revenue. 50% of that goes to the players. Some of it goes to the league but the majority of the 4.5 billion would go to the teams (divide by 32) which goes towards stadium maintenance, coaches, front office, etc. Whatever the teams have left over after expenses is profit.

    Profit is really a small number when compared to the revenue. The biggest benefit is the skyrocketing franchise values but you have to sell the team to benefit directly from that.

    You do know the current players have always steadfastly refused to take a penny less today to pay for benefits for retired players.

  15. What a total sham for the retired players on the NFL!! The only people who got rich is the lawyers and the NFL. I am not sure who the attorney was for the players but its time to check his brain for a concussion!

    This may be the worst settlement of ALL time! If they would have litigated the matter, the number would be in the BILLIONS not millions.

    I pray for the Earl Campbells of the league who gave up their lives for this sport only to be slapped in the face by the greed of billionaires!

    Shame on you NFL…for this I will watch less NFL this year and will not be attending any games. SHAME!!

  16. Did you bother to do your own math problem? Because its still 170,000 a head.


    Medical costs can eat that up in a day.
    These old timers were paid peanuts
    The one good thing is that although settled out of court, it can be seen as an admition of guilt, knowledge of the effects of head injuries.

  17. gochargersgo says:
    Sep 4, 2013 12:57 PM
    osuhearsay says:
    Sep 4, 2013 12:19 PM

    “Remember that $765 million pie is sliced into more than 4,500 pieces.”

    Did you bother to do your own math problem? Because its still 170,000 a head.


    Actually, that’s not correct. You are assuming that every plaintiff get’s an equal payout. The truth is that many of them will not get anything.

    The reasoning being is that they have to be diagnosed by a doctor (the league will pay for the testing) to be suffering from dehibilitating conditions resulting from concussions.

    The only criteria for joining the lawsuit was to be looking for a handout and to be retired. Those two groups of people are not a 1-1 relationship.

    In all likelyhood only a small percentage of the plaintiffs will be able to prove that they actually have concussion related symptoms which require medical care.

    Those who need it will likely receive millions in free medical care. Those who wanted one more shot at the golden goose will get ZERO.

  18. fryeways says:
    Sep 4, 2013 1:06 PM
    “I agree with the amount” … “I disagree with the amount” – Sincerely, tons of random people with no sense of the league’s profit margins or any experience with high profile lawsuits.


    1. First: what are your credentials? If you have experience with these matters, please by all means share your perspective!

    2. Second, I don’t have to be an NFL official or practicing attorney to understand that rich people hold the preponderance of power in this country and use their advantage when they go into dealings with those without as many resources.

    I can’t believe that this fact is actually in dispute. People with resources use those resources to keep their power and wealth and in fact to expand it. Is that a newsflash?

  19. It’s a huge amount to pay for something that is unproven. These head injuries may cause dementia and other ailments, but then again they may not. People who never played a down of football suffer these ailments every day.

    The players have always worn helmets and as the research on head injuries improved, so did the equipment and policies.

    Is the players position that they didn’t know getting hit it the head was bad for you?

    Do you honestly think all these players on the suit have legit claims?

    The NFL was too stingy for years in taking care of former players and this is the final payout. It’s plenty to go around.

  20. This article fails to address the principle of compensatory damages, which is the only way to evaluate whether the settlement was fair, unfair, or otherwise reasonable. The NFL’s gross or net worth is completely irrelevant. The only issues were whether the NFL could have been found liable at trial, the amount of compensatory damages that could be proven by the plaintiffs and the costs of litigation for both sides.

    A Defendant’s monetary worth only becomes relevant in cases in which punitive damages can be awarded. Simply not the situation here.

    Perhaps the distinction has been addressed in previous articles. Regardless, still surprised the author didn’t raise it given his prior vocation.

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