Being NFL commissioner hasn't made Roger Goodell the most beloved sports figure on the planet, but it seems it has made him one wealthy man. According to the Sports Business Journal's Daniel Kaplan, a tax return filed on Friday showed Goodell was paid $29.49 million by the NFL in 2011:
BREAKING NEWS:NFL paid Roger Goodell $29.49 million in 2011, nearly tripling his pay, according to tax return to be filed later today...— daniel kaplan (@dkaplanSBJ) February 15, 2013
A subsequent tweet by Kaplan stated Goodell was rewarded by the league for hammering out a new collective bargaining agreement and television contract:
...Goodell rewarded for new CBA, TV contracts. Most of comp was $22.3 mln bonus. Pay going forward will now be largely incentive-based....— daniel kaplan (@dkaplanSBJ) February 15, 2013
Falcons owner Arthur Blank, who is the chairman of the NFL's compensation committee, released a statement on the commissioner's pay on Friday (per Kaplan):
The NFL is the most successful and best-managed sports league in the world. This is in no small part due to Roger’s leadership and the value he brings to the table in every facet of the sport and business of the league. His compensation reflects that.
Though it may seem strange that Goodell's salary for 2011 is coming out nearly two years after the fact, the league's fiscal calendar ended Mar. 31, 2012, per Kaplan. This was the first time information regarding Goodell's salary in 2011 needed to be made publicly available.
As most can recall, the NFL went through a lengthy lockout prior to the 2011 NFL season. With Goodell spearheading the charge, the owners negotiated a deal that reduced the players' overall share of the revenue by about four percent.
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That reduction, along with new television contracts with ESPN, CBS, Fox and NBC, led to a massive influx of revenue for owners. Considering Goodell's ultimate responsibility is to that contingency, his reward for that work is ultimately unsurprising.
Though Goodell seemingly has the full support of his ownership group, recent reports have indicated the feeling isn't reciprocated by the players (James Harrison, of course, among the most vocal about his distrust for the commissioner). A January poll conducted by USA Today showed that 61 percent of current NFL players disapprove of Goodell's performance as commissioner.
Most players cited Goodell's increased fines on illegal hits, which coincides with an increased emphasis on player safety. Goodell has even taken some hits in the media as well, with some being critical of the inconsistency with which fines have been levied.
Nevertheless, there seems to be one group fully satisfied with the work Goodell has done: the owners. And based on Kaplan's report, the contingency decided to repay Goodell for his hard work with a massive check in 2011.