NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Makes More Per Year Than Patrick Mahomes and the CEO of Netflix

About 90% of 62-year-old Goodell’s sky-high pay package over the past two years was bonus money

Roger Goodell speaks at the Robin Hood Benefit at Jacob Javits Center in 2021.
Roger Goodell speaks at the Robin Hood Benefit at Jacob Javits Center in 2021.
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Robin Hood Foundation

The highest-paid NFL member in terms of annual salary isn’t Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes ($45 million), Bills QB Josh Allen ($43 million) or Cowboys QB Dak Prescott ($40 million), it’s NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Aided by bonuses for helping the league’s owners ink a 10-year labor deal with the players and facilitating deals with league broadcast partners worth more than $100 billion over the next decade, the 62-year-old brought home almost $128 million in pay over the past two fiscal years, per The New York Times.

With an average salary of $64 million over the past two years, Goodell checks in as one of the highest-paid executives in the country and makes more per year than Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta ($55.87 million), T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert ($54.91 million) and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings ($43.23 million). Amazingly, about 90% of Goodell’s recent pay package was bonus money, according to The Times.

“While Goodell is often criticized by the news media, fans, politicians and supporters of women’s rights, the league’s owners by and large support him, even as they quietly acknowledge that he is hardly the perfect leader for North America’s most successful professional sports league,” according to The Times. “But owners understand that Goodell’s strengths help make them money, and that his institutional knowledge would be hard to replace.”

Goodell, who took over as the commissioner of America’s most popular and profitable pro sports league in 2006, told several league owners in 2017 that he would step down after his current contract ends in 2024. Whether that is still the case remains unclear as Goodell may have decided he likes making nearly $20 million more per year than his league’s best player.

“They are commissioners, not superheroes. They throw on capes to protect the interests of the owners — or to take blows on their behalf — not to safeguard the league from the immoral,” according to The Washington Post. “Waiting on these men to advance a vision that goes beyond the financial interests of their employers is a silly game that only ends in disappointment. We’re the ones who end up as the butt of the joke.”

Like the NFL’s logo, Goodell is a shield and is in his well-compensated position so that he can take the heat for the league’s never-ending scandals so that the owners who pay his salary don’t have to. It’s easy and convenient to blame Goodell for everything that’s wrong with the NFL, but the reality is that he is a puppet and the league’s 32 owners are the ones who are pulling his strings. At least he’s a well-paid Pinocchio.

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