NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was paid $44.2 million in 2012, making him among the best-paid executives in the country and perhaps the highest-paid leader of a non-profit organization.
-- New York Times, Feb. 14, 2014
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The figure is staggering. Roger Goodell is paid pretty close to a million dollars a week, which would be $25,000 a day, $400 a minute to run a sports league. He feeds no one, builds housing for no one, doesn't put mercurochrome on one single boo-boo. He makes $44.2 million per year.
No doubt you have been chewing on this fact for three weeks now.
Why does he make so much money?
Why does anyone make so much money?
This is a breakdown. This is why Roger Goodell is worth $44.2 million per year, with a monetary value attached to each asset. There may be some speculation involved.
HAIRCUT ($1 million): He has to look sharp, feel sharp, be sharp. His predecessor, Paul Tagliabue, had unruly hair. Pete Rozelle, the most famous commissioner of all, had very little hair. Roger Goodell has great hair. Check pictures of him. No hair is ever out of place. He projects an image of sophistication, confidence. The hair -- not the eyes -- is the window to the corporate soul. He has the best hair any NFL commissioner ever has had.
WARDROBE ($1 million): Look no further than Bud Selig, commissioner of Major League Baseball, to see the effects of a poor wardrobe. No wonder Selig makes less than half of what Goodell does. He always looks as if he's ready to sell you a used car, which he did in a previous occupation. Goodell looks as if he's ready to sell you a bank. No, a chain of banks. A worldwide chain of banks. In the list of best-dressed commissioners, Vince McMahon of the WWE probably is No. 1, but Goodell is a close second. He looks, yes, like a million bucks.
THE OWNERS ($1 million): Think about it. How much should a man be paid to listen to Jerry Jones? To Jim Irsay? To What's-His-Name, the guy from New Orleans? To Dan Snyder? To the latest Rooney, Mara, Bidwell, any of the 32 megalomaniacs who own NFL franchises? Not only does Goodell have to listen to them, he has to remember their names, remember their wives' names, their kids' names, the pets' names, he also has to remember occupations, affiliations and deadly dull anecdotes told long ago in some windy press box.
TRAVEL ($1 million): How often can a man be asked to journey to Green Bay, Wisc., on a crisp December afternoon, wind chill low enough to freeze your toenails? Would you rather be in Detroit on a Sunday morn or home with the kids watching George Stephanopoulos grill some poor congressman about an ill-advised vote? Would you like to travel to New Orleans when there's a hurricane warning? How about Chicago when that wind is coming off the lake? Cleveland? Buffalo? This is a job where a man has to work weekends. This is a job where a man has to be away from home.
TELEVISION ($1 million): There was a time when all an NFL commissioner had to know was the sentence, "No, that's not enough money" for negotiations with the major networks. The networks went away, found more money and everybody was happy. Now there has to be innovation, growth. Goodell has given us the NFL Network. Goodell has given us Thursday Night Football to go along with Monday Night Football, Sunday Afternoon Football and Sunday Night Football. What other plans does he have under that great haircut? Tuesday Night Football? Wednesday Night Football? Friday Night Football? His imagination will chart the future. Wednesday Morning Football?
CONGRESS ($1 million): There are always going to be squeaky wheels in Congress, legislators who realize their constituents will pay attention when the subject is pro football instead of, oh, health care or education or a possible nuclear war with Russia. This means hearings, controversies, a lot of yipping and yapping about concussions and steroids and Super Bowl sites and whatever will catch a headline. The best way to handle the yipping and yapping is to be represented by a person with a good haircut (check), a good wardrobe (check) and an ability to say nothing in a whole lot of smart-sounding words. This last quality is a gift. A high-priced gift.
IDIOTS ($1 million): Football is a game played by young, aggressive men. An understatement. These young, aggressive men sometimes will say or do things that will not reflect well on the NFL workforce. That would be you, Richie Incognito. That would be you, Pac Man Jones. That would be… who knows who will do what tonight or tomorrow night or a week from tomorrow? Headlines often have to be defused, calm restored. Saying nothing in a lot of words again is a great quality. Sometimes a hearing has to be held, a report issued. Defused headlines have been obtained many times in this present administration.
MARKETING ($1 million): The NFL logo has to be sold to every available entity in the country. There has to be an official NFL soda, automobile, underarm deodorant, lamp, backscratcher, video game, pillow, chain saw, coffin, tooth paste, bubble gum, gym shoe, sweatshirt, cured Polish ham, computer mouse, etc. Latest studies show that the league has affiliated itself with every kind of product or service imaginable, except for a possible tanning salon in Duluth, Minn. Negotiations are underway in Duluth and will need a strong hand.
ALL OTHER STUFF ($36.2 million): Well, the NFL commissioner has to figure out, uh, where the Super Bowl will be played in the future. That was tricky business this year. He, uh, has to stand in front of the media at every Super Bowl for his annual state-of-the-game press conference. That could be tricky, too, but he can use those say-nothing words. He also has to, uh, make decisions about rules and playoffs and expansions. Will the league add a couple of teams? Another round to the playoffs? Will the point-after attempt be moved back? Will a touchdown be worth nine points instead of six? Roger Goodell will have to handle all of these thorny questions.
And, he also will have to…
Give us a minute here. There must be something else that has to be to be done for that $44.2 million.