Roger Goodell took over as the commissioner of the NFL in 2006 when he became the sixth man to hold the position. Let’s take a look back at Roger Goodell’s rise to become NFL commissioner and some of the events that have marked his time in the position.
Roger Goodell began his rise to NFL commissioner as an intern with the league
Roger Goodell’s NFL career began in 1982 when he took a role as an administrative intern in the New York league office. He sent a letter to 28 teams and the league office, securing him the position. He briefly departed the NFL in 1983 to take up a role with the New York Jets. However, he returned to the NFL in 1984 in the public relations department.
Goodell remained in the role until 1987 when the league appointed him as the assistant to Lamar Hunt. At the time, Hunt was the president of the American Football Conference. In 1990, Goodell began working under then-commissioner Paul Tagliabue in a variety of league operations, both in the business and football areas of the NFL.
Goodell’s promoted to Chief Operating Officer in 2001
In December 2001, Goodell’s role in the NFL became far more wide-reaching as the COO. His responsibilities included the league’s officiating and football operations. However, he also headed NFL Ventures, which oversaw several areas of league business, including strategic planning and stadium development.
He was also heavily involved in areas such as international development, as well as negotiations for the NFL television agreements and Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFLPA. Goodell was also involved in the launch of the NFL Network in 2003.
Roger Goodell earned selection as NFL commissioner in 2006
Following Paul Tagliabue’s retirement, Goodell stood as one of four candidates considered to be the sixth NFL commissioner.
In a close vote, Goodell prevailed after five rounds of voting over Gregg Levy, who had served as the NFL’s outside counsel. Goodell’s official designation as NFL commissioner came on August 8th, 2006, taking over the role on September 1st.
What have been the notable events of Goodell’s time as NFL commissioner?
Roger Goodell’s time as NFL commissioner has had a number of notable events. One of the key phrases often used has been “protecting the shield,” as the league’s integrity has been seen to be a key component of his time in the role.
The NFL International Series
One of the first actions Roger Goodell took as the NFL commissioner was to change the way the NFL behaved internationally. He shut the league down after the 2007 spring season but instigated the start of the NFL International Series in 2007. The first game saw the New York Giants face the Miami Dolphins in front of 81,000 people at Wembley Stadium in London.
Since then, there has been at least one game hosted in London every year prior to the 2020 season, with 28 games played overall.
Player conduct during Roger Goodell’s time as NFL commissioner
A major headline of Godell’s time as NFL commissioner has been around his handling of player conduct. A number of players have been suspended for a variety of conduct-related issues. The handling of these incidents encountered criticism for several reasons. Some of Goodell’s critics feel he has been too lenient. However, others have noted a seeming lack of consistency in the way these issues have been handled.
Two lockouts have occurred during Goodell’s time as NFL commissioner
While Goodell has been the commissioner, the NFL has seen a players lockout in 2011 and a referees lockout in 2012. The player lockout had no impact on the season as a new Collective Bargaining Agreement activated in August.
However, the referees’ lockout saw the NFL play the first three weeks of the regular season with replacement referees. The performance of the replacement referees beckoned criticism from media and fans alike. The NFLPA even went as far as to issue a letter to the NFL owners asking them to end the dispute.
The Spygate, Deflategate, and Bountygate scandals
Three major controversies that have taken place in the NFL since Goodell took over as NFL commissioner revolved around the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints.
At the beginning of the 2007 season, Goodell disciplined the Patriots and their head coach Bill Belichick. They attempted to videotape the New York Jets’ defensive signals from an illegal position on September 9th. This controversy was widely known as Spygate and re-emerged during the 2019 NFL season.
The Patriots were also the center of the Deflategate scandal. The Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady faced accusations of deflating footballs in their AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts. Brady received a four-game suspension, while the league fined the Patriots $1 million and forced forfeiture of two draft picks.
Another major scandal during Goodell’s time as NFL commissioner was the Bountygate scandal. Goodell presented evidence that the Saints’ players received paid bonuses for deliberately knocking opposing players out of games. New Orleans head coach Sean Payton faced a season-long suspension. Meanwhile, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams faced suspension indefinitely (until 2013). The Saints received a penalty of two draft picks.
US national anthem protests
Goodell’s time as NFL commissioner also saw controversy surrounding protests during the US national anthem. QB Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality. This led to more players following suit.
The scandal engulfed the NFL for multiple years and drew the ire of then-President of the United States Donald Trump. This scandal had continued, although a settlement payment was made to Kaepernick in 2019 following accusations he was blackballed as a result of the protests.
During Goodell’s time running the NFL, the league reached a settlement with former NFL players over head injuries. The settlement was initially worth $765 million. However, in 2014, the cap became eliminated from the amount in the settlement. Yet, the majority of the scandal surrounding concussions pre-dates Goodell’s time as commissioner.
How much is Roger Goodell’s salary?
Roger Goodell signed a new contract in 2017 that would begin in 2019. As part of that new contract, Goodell was set to earn up to $40 million a year. However, in 2020 Goodell’s salary was reduced to $0 for the year. Goodell reportedly volunteered to cut his salary with the NFL’s financial future uncertain in the current global climate.
Does Roger Goodell own the NFL?
Roger Goodell does not own the NFL. As the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the league. However, the league is considered a trade organization made up of and financed by its 32 member teams.