Rob Long: Despite His Success, Owners Want To Cut Goodell’s Salary

Roger Goodell took over as Commissioner of the National Football League on September 1, 2006 after Paul Tagliabue retired. At the time total revenue for NFL teams was just over 6.5 billion dollars.

Goodell was no stranger to the League, starting as an administrative intern in 1982 for then Commissioner Pete Rozell. While serving briefly as an intern for the New York Jets, Goodell returned to the League office in 1984 as an assistant in the public relations department.

Roger Goodell has made a ton of money in the NFL but has also made a ton of money FOR the NFL. Now, the total revenue for the League is $14 billion. The NFL has also gained in popularity under the Goodell regime. You would think he has a job until he decides to walk away, right? You would think the approximate $30 million annual salary is a drop in the bucket to NFL owners, right?

That doesn’t seem to be the case. Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported that League owners had a “owner’s only” discussion where Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spoke on the topic of Goodell’s next deal, which expires in 2019.

The current CBA runs through 2020 and the television broadcasting rights expires after the 2022 season. Those deals were made with Mr. Goodell presiding. Maybe the “shield” of the National Football League is so strong anyone could negotiate on their behalf, or maybe not. Perhaps Roger Goodell is key to future negotiations in both the CBA and television rights.

Now, it seems NFL owners want to take things up concerning Goodell’s annual salary. Before the lock out of 2011, the Commissioner leveled out at $11 million a year. Lots has changed since then, namely the League’s bottom line. $11 million isn’t much of a savings if you divide it by 32 teams. It’s peanuts compared to the money those owners have made. I’m not a personal fan of Roger Goodell but you cannot deny the success of the NFL since he took over in 2006.

This sounds a little like when Jerry Jones fired Jimmy Johnson, assuming he could win with anyone as his Head Coach. He hired Barry Switzer and two years later won his third Superbowl in four years. That success did not last long as Jones discovered it was more to Johnson’s success than X’s and O’s.

Jerry Jones is a brilliant business man, there’s no denying that, but if I’m the Jacksonville Jaguars’ owner, Shahid Khan or the Glazer family from Tampa Bay, I don’t know if I want Jerry Jones speaking for me. The League’s revenue is important to these owners. Jones has a stadium that prints money. “Jerry’s World” is the place to be. He has a team that stands alone. The Dallas Cowboys are just as popular as “the shield” itself. The Jags and the Bucs are not.

The NFL is a HIT. Things are good. Teams are profiting. Roger Goodell is making a lot of money but is it really too much? Define too much. Is the NFL making too much money? Can the owners truly say that Goodell has nothing to do with the League’s financial success or that progress will continue if you cut the man’s salary?

The National Football League has a way of fixing things that aren’t broken and maybe Roger Goodell can blame himself for that. He’s spearheaded a culture of constant rule changes over the past decade. Now, he is the subject of, yet another, possible change that makes little sense. With the amount of money the National Football League is making, you would think Roger Goodell’s current salary is more than justified.

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