Report: Roger Goodell made $128 million over past two years

USA TODAY Sports

Because the NFL no longer operates as a tax-exempt trade association, the league has no requirement to publicly disclose Commissioner compensation. So it doesn’t.

That doesn’t mean Roger Goodell’s pay can’t be privately disclosed.

Ken Belson of the New York Times reports that Goodell made $128 million in the two-year period covering 2019-20 and 2020-21. Per the report, bonuses for completing a new labor deal and new TV contracts bolstered the total.

That’s an average, thanks to my well-honed math skills, of $64 million per year.

The period covers the pandemic, which triggered billions of dollars in losses for the NFL. It’s hard not to wonder how much more Goodell would have made over the past two years without the financial struggles created by the pandemic, which among other things caused the NFL to severely restrict spending. In 2020, for example, the NFL implemented furloughs and pay cuts in May 2020, after the draft.

Then again, maybe Goodell’s compensation wasn’t affected at all, given that he secured labor peace extending into the next decade and billions in broadcast revenue.

Belson’s report provides a rare glimpse into the earnings of the Commissioner. After the league decided to pivot from a structure that passed revenue through to the teams, which then paid the taxes, to a structure that pays taxes before distributions, information regarding Goodell’s compensation exited the public domain.

The bottom-line difference wasn’t significant. The move happened primarily due to P.R. considerations, because the league repeatedly was hounded by those who pointed out the tax-exempt status, and who created a false impression with the public that the NFL and its teams weren’t paying taxes at all.

Four years ago, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones opposed Goodell’s latest contract, arguing basically that the NFL was paying him too much money. Starting with the Ray Rice scandal in 2014, questions began to emerge regarding whether the league could pay someone else far less to do what Goodell does.

But what he does isn’t just preside over the generation of significant generational wealth. He’s the public pin cushion for unpopular decisions and policies, allowing the oligarchs to hide behind Big Shield while Goodell suffers the slings and arrows with a straight face.

Most recently, Goodell recited various talking points aimed at keeping the results of the Washington Football Team investigation secret. As NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith recently opined, Goodell won’t decide whether that information becomes public. The oligarchs make the call.

Goodell is simply the messenger. And he’s very well compensated for his efforts to provide cover for those who prefer their wealth and fame without a side of criticism and scrutiny.

81 responses to “Report: Roger Goodell made $128 million over past two years

  1. It’s easy to hate Roger Goodell. But the truth is, he’s nothing but a business administrator, he’s not deciding policy. The owners decide policy. Good write-up pointing this out

  2. …so the players salary cap dropped $17MM from $198MM to $182MM in 2021, but the owners paid Goodell $128MM the past two years… D Smith is absolutely horrendous.

  3. Nice…. I don’t necessarily care for the guy but will never hate on anyone getting money…

  4. Just a tiny glimpse at how much money the owners must be making to not object to that amount for their “public mouthpiece.”

  5. People are always quick to forget that fact whenever Goodell cleans up another owner mess. Goodell may be an extremely well paid messenger, but in the end he is only the messenger.

    Owners like Jerry Jones rarely suffer the public ridicule that Goodell faces even though they are the ones making the decisions. And Jerry being Jerry still wants to save a buck.

  6. No person deserves to be paid as much and for something that he is responsible for overseeing

  7. Pretty easy to see what’s wrong with the NFL with a story like this. You could put an Annabel doll in a chair to be commissioner with similar results.

    That number is disgusting

  8. I wonder if the NFL took any PPP loan money from the Government last year during the pandemic.

  9. He deserves every penny for ushering the league through the pandemic over the past couple years. Folks already forgetting how Roger said full steam ahead when many people including former players, commentators, journalists and fans swore we wouldn’t see an NFL game in 2020.

  10. Honestly he gets paid an awful lot of money to do a terrible job. There haven’t been a lot of commissioners but I can’t ever remember the previous ones being hated like Goodell is. I actually liked the other commissioners. Must be a new bullet point on the job description.

  11. $64 million per year is a whole lot of scratch and impossible to justify anyone getting that kind of money; however, he does a great job as commissioner of that league.

  12. He’s making a joke out of the NFL. He lies, double talks and is not a good image for the ‘shield’. Under his watch more players and more issues have arose then ever before. He’s not worth the money. He’s shady at best.

  13. Considering how much the NFL makes it’s normal salary. The Owners work the players and they are extremely greedy.

  14. He’s underpaid. How much did Elon Musk make? Over a billion? Goodell is more important than Musk.

  15. Roger is the CEO. The owners are each a 1/32 stockholder. As the value of the teams and NFL brand increases, so does his compensation. And as anyone can see by ratings, NFL is king.

  16. And we wonder why this country is so divided when you have those without this kind of money fighting each other while the rich just laughs all the way to the bank by pulling the strings on each side.

  17. Gambling money is going to make Goodell a billionaire soon enough. Maybe he’ll “retire” and buy his own team, that would be something.

  18. Wow 64M a year. Gotta be the highest paid stool pigeon in human history. Joe Buck says that is a disgusting act…

  19. I really dislike most of his rulings but even though the story may be interesting it’s not really anybody’s business. A person is only worth what someone else will pay them.

  20. So the commissioner gets paid more than coaches and players.

    Wow, how much information does he cover up for these billionaire owners to get this ?

  21. If only he’d played a meaningful down of football in his life, he wouldn’t be so out of touch.

  22. Perhaps we will know more about his compensation IF the trial of St Louis vs NFL goes forward in January. Goodell was one of those who was ordered to turn over financial information for determination of punitive damages. I think that his compensation will get leaked.

  23. That is a lot of coin. And I don’t believe anyone who makes that much cash can relate to the average NFL fan.

  24. Years of incompetence when it came to investigations and punishments for players and teams, reactive instead of consistent when faced with controversy, and a completely submissive attitude so that owners never face consequences for their personal misdeeds.
    To be fair, $128 million would have many people willing to sell their integrity and dignity…

  25. No wonder he doesn’t want all those emails released. He’s afraid he might lose his cushy, overpaid job.

  26. The league could make a monkey the commissioner and they’d still make money. Goodell is just along for the ride.

  27. dezno24 says:
    October 29, 2021 at 8:26 am
    And we wonder why this country is so divided when you have those without this kind of money fighting each other while the rich just laughs all the way to the bank by pulling the strings on each side.

    ———

    If you can’t make it here in America it’s not America….it’s you.

  28. Seems reasonable. With movie stars making 40 50 mil per pick and top end athletes making 40 50 mill per year it is reasonable that the head of the NFL make this much.

  29. Goodell works for the owners. There is no salary cap what teams can pay the commissioner or staff members. Nobody cares how much he made.

  30. The only true measure of value is what somebody is willing to pay you for something, either for something tangible — a Babe Ruth autograph — or, in Goodell’s case, a service. So, sure, he’s worth it.

  31. Despite how annoying Goodell is and the fact he has made some blunders, he deserves it. The on-field product is still top-notch and the league is rolling in money.

  32. Considering the way our American form of capitalism works, and not considering how much or little he should be taxed (an entirely different conversation): He is in charge of overseeing the unity, and thus success, of 32 organizations valued at an average of $3.4 billion each (according to Forbes 2021). This puts the value of the NFL at approximately $111 billion.

    $64,000,000 per year is 1/1563 of the total value of the NFL. There is a lot of trust in him to not completely screw up the golden goose, and the NFL continues to be more and more profitable. 1/1563 of the value of the league doesn’t seem too insane.

    Again, how said person is taxed is an entirely different conversation.

  33. The guy who was somehow able to turn me from a lifelong rabid football fan to a mildly interested one. I would have thought it impossible – so I have to give the guy at least some credit.

  34. If you count up all of the various half-truths and obfuscations that Rog has delivered over the last 2 years, as he lurches from crisis situation to crisis situation, then on a per-deception basis that’s actually quite reasonable. 😉

  35. If Goodell was smart, he’d put the 650,000 emails on thumb drives, step down, let the thumb drives loose to certain government officials or news organizations.

  36. tonyxl says:
    October 29, 2021 at 10:33 am
    Despite how annoying Goodell is and the fact he has made some blunders, he deserves it. The on-field product is still top-notch and the league is rolling in money.

    1 6 Rate

    —————-

    The product is not as good as it could be. The officiaiting, his manipulating games, his cheating, being caught cheating, etc.

    The league lost like 4 billion last year.

    He is an empty suit crook who is corrupt. The league could be doing a lot better with a new commissioner.

    The tv contracts are negotiated by Bob Kraft. Goodell is nothing more than a figurehead used to protect the owners. Anyone can do his iob. There is no skill.

    We shall see how he does exposed in front of Congress.

  37. Uh yeah, for that salary, I’d conclude that there was nothing of interest in the Snyder investigation too!

  38. To the people claiming that they could do Goodell’s job: No, you could not. Only a very few people are talented enough to run a multi-billion dollar business.

  39. burtreynoldstoupee says:
    October 29, 2021 at 10:44 am
    The guy who was somehow able to turn me from a lifelong rabid football fan to a mildly interested one. I would have thought it impossible – so I have to give the guy at least some credit.
    ____________

    That’s a you problem.

  40. 1. It came out of the Billionaires pockets so I don’t care.

    2. The Billionaires got fleeced. They failed to realize that Goodell had a plum job and wasn’t going to leave it. They didn’t have to increase his pay, he would have stayed. It’s not like there was a rival league for him to go to.

  41. So each team pays him 2 million a year. Let say conservatively the NFL had 18 billion in revenue of those 2 years then he’s making about 0.7%. Even though 128 million sounds outrageous it seems like a fair deal.

    To lend a little perspective Teddy 2 Gloves made over 30 million over the same time period.

  42. Roger Goodell said he gave up his year salary in 2020 due to COVID. He announced it on April 29,2020. Another lie????

  43. The league lost like 4 billion last year.
    ==========

    They brought in $4 billion less. ($16bil [2019] to $12bil [2020])

    Thats a far cry from losing money.

  44. What I don’t like about this is that the owners constantly pay their players, coaches and other employees basically “what the market will bear”. A competitive wage. No more than they have to in order to get the people they want. And they always want to minimize what they can. (Pushing vets to lower their contracts; see Pash’s email, etc.)

    But that doesn’t apparently apply to Goodell. Tell me who else would pay him half of that $64M? A tenth? No one! There’s no competition for his services.

    Some people will say they can’t be cheap, something about prestige or image. Maybe that is why but it doesn’t make sense to overpay that much for him.

  45. Definitely an eye popping number to an average guy like me but how does this compare to CEO’s of companies with similar revenue? If that’s the going rate for the position then it isn’t crazy to think he’d be compensated accordingly. If it’s way above market then Jerry had/has a point that he’s overpaid.

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