After chatting briefly former NFL COO Tod Leiweke at the league meetings on March, I asked someone why Leiweke didn’t last in the league office.
“He’s too nice,” the person said.
Leiweke displayed plenty of nice when discussing the merits of his former boss, Commissioner Roger Goodell, in an interview with SportsBusiness Journal. And Leiweke isn’t happy with the widespread criticism that Goodell absorbs.
“There were times that I wanted to speak out, but that’s not Roger’s way,” Leiweke said. “He is on the other hand a very humble guy and he doesn’t beat his chest. He doesn’t parade around and say, ‘Look how good I am.’ Sometimes I wish we did a lot more of that for him. Now I can say these words.”
Leiweke said that Goodell accepts the fact that people like to take shots, especially as it relates to his compensation, criticism that Leiweke called “[c]omplete, ridiculous malarky.”
“I don’t mean to make light of executive compensation — because I know these dollars, as a kid who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks if you will, one could make the case that many executives are paid so much more than school teachers, firemen, police officers — but I think Roger has added extraordinary value to the NFL,” Leiweke said. “I am one guy who says, without really knowing the details of his contract, I don’t think Roger Goodell is overpaid.”
One of the reasons Goodell isn’t overpaid is because his job necessarily includes taking heat that otherwise would go to the behind-the-curtain billionaires who realize that the only thing better than being rich and famous is being rich. Goodell, as NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran describes him, is the world’s highest-paid pin cushion.
Goodell takes pride in the thickness of his skin. He actually revels in it, welcoming boos so that he can prove yet again that he’s not only the highest-paid pin cushion, but also the best.