By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Roger Stokoe Goodell is but a simple man, one who grew up with the simple dream of being the commissioner of the National Football League. (Seriously, as a junior in college he determined that his career path would lead to him being the NFL’s commissioner.) He achieved that dream job, and yet, given all of the negative attention that’s been heaped upon him since taking the job in 2006, one has to wonder if living his dream has been worthwhile.
That is, of course, until one remembers the man’s salary.
While Goodell’s annual salary changes year-to-year, the league has reported his salaries in these years:
All told, Goodell made $180.5 million from 2006-15.
While we’re very unlikely to know Goodell’s salary going forward (because, hey, the NFL is no longer a “nonprofit” and is finally going to pay some taxes!), but according to a report, it could be going down if his bosses have their way.
We’re a little late here, but it remains newsworthy that Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported over the weekend that Jerry Jones led an owners-only meeting in Phoenix last week. In that meeting, Goodell’s salary was discussed, with Jones suggesting that all owners should get to weigh in on the salary, instead of just the small group of owners that comprises the compensation committee.
As to the issue of Goodell’s next contract, Jones suggested that all owners be involved in the process. Currently, the Compensation Committee handles the determination and negotiation of Goodell’s pay. Multiple owners currently believe that broader involvement of the membership would result in terms more favorable to the league. (To put it more bluntly, some in the room think they may be paying Goodell too much money.)
Now wait just one minute.
Hang on a tick.
Can we back up for a second?
Look, people might hate Thursday night football. And overall, the product may be undeniably suffering due to a variety of factors. Games might be morphing into the territory of existing solely as advertising vehicles instead of as athletic competitions. Perpetual states of telling lies and spreading hypocrisy may be the norms established at league headquarters. The whole “wear pink for the month of October” thing might not actually raise much money at all to help fight breast cancer. Executives’ public concern to rid the league of violent criminals may be nothing more than lip service. We may be hearing about CTE and prescription painkillers and pending lawsuits every day. Officiating may be terrible. Players might not trust the man in charge, and some owners might feel similarly.
But aside from that, what has Roger done to deserve a pay cut?
Have these owners no decency?
Roger works very hard — he doesn’t even have time to tweet much anymore! And when he does, it’s only to dispel rumors of his own death! He oversees the league at a time when America is addicted to football and, consequently, networks and websites have been willing to shell out millions upon millions of dollars for broadcast rights.
Who else could do that?
(That’s right: Nobody. Certainly not those bulldog businessmen who own the teams. Only the man with the economics degree from William & Jefferson College could close such deals.)
To put it frankly, if anything, the hard-working, earnest, honest and dare I say brave commissioner deserves a raise — not a pay cut. Those are just the facts, and if there’s anything the NFL values above all else, it would be facts.