NFL 2016: Roger Goodell Makes A Lot Of Money, But Remember Who He Works For

Roger Goodell’s salary has been the subject of hot debate the last few days. But remember who he works for and what he’s actually supposed to do and it makes (only a little) more sense. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File) 

News flash: NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, makes a lot of money. 

All jokes aside, there is something I can’t seem to wrap my mind around: How is it that since 2006 Goodell, who has made $180.5 million dollars since succeeding Paul Tagliabue in August of 2006, has managed to make such a staggering amount despite, really, only succeeding at one thing: fleecing the players in collective bargaining agreement.

Ah but you see, that, to the owners who pay his salary, is a really big thing.

Do not let all the hoopla of game day fool you, this league has problems they are all too quick to gloss over. Domestic violence and the league’s attitude toward women in general, concussions and players retiring earlier due to growing health concerns, and substandard officiating that, judging from the NFL’s biggest game, doesn’t appear to be getting any better are just some of the many issues.

A side note on officiating: I know we mocked CBS Officiating Expert Mike Carey all year as being unbelievably bad at his job but let’s not forget something very important: this man was an NFL referee for 18 years. Think about that the next time he incorrectly ‘analyzes’ a play and that will tell you everything you need to know about the officials. 

But, you see, those are all secondary to what Goodell is supposed to do.

ESPN’s Seth Wickersham and Don Van Natta, Jr. brilliantly outlined the NFL’s return to Los Angeles (if you haven’t read it, go here). In it they describe a Roger Goodell who had little to no sway in the conversation and a man who, had in fact, let the relocation conversation get away from him in general. Now I understand the owners are his bosses, but I hope you’re following me here when I tell you that Goodell doesn’t work for the fans or the players. His job is to keep this league a $13 billion a year machine.

Put simply, he makes the owners money by doing what he’s told and getting out of the way. Period.

Did we honestly expect him to rake Jerry Jones, one of the most powerful owners in the NFL, over the coals for signing Greg Hardy so quickly after his domestic violence issues last season? Do you remember when Robert Kraft famously stood in front of cameras and, essentially, ripped the league a new one before last year’s Super Bowl? Do you remember Goodell’s response? There wasn’t one, because he’s not paid to fight with owners.

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive lineman, Sen’Derrick Marks, had an interesting take on Goodell’s salary when he posted this on Twitter:


Marks is right, Goodell isn’t taking a physical pounding week-after-week between the lines of a football field. But he has taken his own hits as a company “Yes Man”, media punching bag, puppet to the owners, and pariah to fans who, understandably, don’t believe he’s doing enough for them. For us. But those are the hits Roger Goodell is being paid to take; the one’s the owners don’t want to.

Is that worth in excess of $30 million dollars annually? If you’re a league owner it is, and when put into context that is almost more frightening a reality.

Thoughts? Let me know about’em! Follow me on Twitter @DACubbage 

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