The NFL paid Commissioner Roger Goodell $34.1 million in 2014.
The massive salary came during a year in which Goodell’s job appeared in jeopardy due to missteps and incompetence. The commissioner initially suspended Ray Rice two games for an assault on his then-girlfriend in an Atlantic City elevator. When public outrage greeted the punishment in the wake of TMZ posting video of the Baltimore Ravens running back brutally cold-clocking Janay Palmer, Goodell shifted the suspension to six games and then again to an indefinite period before a former federal judge working as an arbitrator overturned the go-fish sentences meted out by a commissioner desperately seeking the crowd’s applause.
Goodell makes a base salary of $3.5 million. The bulk of the remainder of his compensation came in the form of bonuses. The NFL’s annual revenues approach $12 billion, and that bottom line—rather than mismanagement of league scandals—remains the bottom line for owners when evaluating Goodell.
The massive salary actually represents a pay cut. The commissioner earned as much as $44 million in previous years. The year before earning $34.1 million for 2014, Goodell took home $35 million.
The 2014 salary likely represents the last time the public learns of the NFL commissioner’s salary. Goodell announced last year an end to the league office’s tax-exempt status, a designation which forced the NFL to make public the compensation of league figures such as Goodell but not the owners of the 32 individual teams which do not receive any such IRS exemptions.