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NFL defends, explains Goodell’s $44 million compensation


WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 28: National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell testifies with others before the House Judiciary Committee about football brain injuries on Captiol Hill October 28, 2009 in Washington, DC. A recent NFL study of retired players suggested that N.F.L. retirees ages 60 to 89 are experiencing moderate to severe dementia at several times the national rate. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) Original Filename: GYI0058760681.jpg


Commissioner Roger Goodell made $44.2 million last year. But he didn’t actually make $44.2 million.

In actuality, he earned $35.1 million in salary, bonus, and pension compensation for the one-year period (ending March 31, 2013) covered by the Form 1099, filed by all tax-exempt organizations. The compensation also includes a $5 million incentive payment and a $4.1 million pension payment from the year of the work stoppage, which was paid in 2012.

In other words, Goodell’s compensation of nearly $30 million in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012 was $9.1 million too light. It should have been nearly $39 million that year, with only $35.1 million earned the following 12 months.

Which means he actually made roughly $4 million less from one year to the next.

Apart from the explanation, which once the numbers get above $10 million don’t really matter to 99.99999 percent of us, the league has defended Goodell’s high wages via a stream of quotes from owners serving on the Compensation Commitee

“Commissioner Goodell’s compensation reflects the value of his leadership and the success of the NFL at the highest levels,” Falcons owner Arthur Blank said. “His significant accomplishments continue to strengthen our game, our business and our leading position in the sports industry.”

“I have had the privilege of working with Roger Goodell closely over the past eight years,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft said. “He provided great leadership and vision in helping navigate through a major labor negotiation and extending our TV contracts, which in fact have created a decade of stability that is unheard of in today’s sports and entertainment environment. I feel that as Commissioner he runs the business as if he were an owner-operator. I consider him to be one of the most outstanding managers in the country. We are lucky to have him at the helm.”

Added Panthers owner Jerry Richardson: “The National Football League continues to be the leader in all professional sports and Roger Goodell has provided excellent direction in keeping the NFL in its preeminent position. His long tenured service with the League provides a skill set that is unique and essential in overseeing our sport.”

Ultimately, anyone is worth precisely what someone else will pay them. Goodell is worth $44.2 million (or $35.1 million) because that’s what the 32 teams are willing to pay him to preside over the sport.

Considering the billions that are being generated on his watch, it’s hard to fault them for it.