I’m starting to worry that we as a nation have simply run out of things to complain about. It’s natural: things are going pretty well but we just don’t know how to flip the switch to “off.” It’s really the only plausible explanation for the outrage directed towards Roger Goodell for his reported near $30 million salary in 2011.
Is it a tad excessive? Probably. I’d wager he’d do the job for $25 million per year. If not, I’d be happy to. But, let’s not lose perspective here. The NFL is a multi-billion dollar industry largely because of what Goodell does. He’s the CEO of an incredibly profitable business and as such deserves to be paid handsomely. If the NFL owners — 32 of the smartest people in the entire world — want to pay him that much, then who are we to complain? After all, it is their money.
If you want to complain about the job he’s done, you have every right to. He’s unpopular with the players and most fans because of his hypocritical stance on safety (excessively fining illegal hits, yet backing an 18-game schedule, for example) and the utter disaster that was the Bountygate investigation. You have to remember, though, we judge a commissioner based on what he does for the game. Owners judge a commissioner based on what he does for their wallets.
In that regard, nobody can argue with his effectiveness as an executive. Without Goodell, the NFL would be shelling out hundreds of millions in concussion settlements right now. They’d probably be dealing with the PR fallout of dozens of players getting arrested (which is obviously still a problem, but not nearly to the extent it was before Goodell started holding players accountable). You can argue all you want about his role in the 2011 lockout, but the fact remains that there has never been an actual work stoppage during his tenure. As far as the owners are concerned, he’s the best commissioner they could ask for.
If you really want to complain about someone getting overpaid, why not look to Kevin Kolb, who’s currently getting paid $10 million per year to masquerade as a quarterback. Or, maybe you’d prefer to lash out against Tyson Jackson, the #3 pick of the 2009 NFL Draft still benefitting from the antiquated free market negotiation system the league used to use for rookies. There are plenty of players getting away with highway robbery in the NFL. If you want to complain about salaries, that’s where you should start.
If nothing else, Roger Goodell earns his salary. You may not like him, but he makes money for the league. For that reason alone, he deserves every penny he gets. And you all need to find new things to complain about.