NFL owners on Wednesday finalized a contract extension for Commissioner Roger Goodell that will keep him in the league’s top job through March 2027, putting an end to speculation that he would leave the post when his previous deal expires in a year. can leave.
The announcement was made at a two-day meeting of owners in New York.
Since taking over as commissioner in 2006, Mr. Goodell has led the league through a period of explosive expansion, nearly triple the revenue Up to about $20 billion per year. Although he has made missteps, particularly in handling suspensions involving players and coaches, owners see no reason to replace him now.
Mr. Goodell will be 68 when his current contract expires.
After the owners’ meeting ended, Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II said there was not much debate about extending Mr. Goodell’s contract.
“Roger has done a great job,” he said. “The league has grown a lot during this time.”
Why it matters: Under Goodell, business has boomed for the NFL
Mr. Goodell is the most powerful executive in American sports, and the NFL is the largest and most powerful league in the country. It will not be easy to replace him. He has spent his entire professional career – more than 40 years – in the NFL and has unmatched command over the league’s vast and growing operations.
Over the years, Mr. Goodell has become a close confidant of many owners, listening to their concerns and helping them build new stadiums and complete other projects. He has helped secure labor peace through back-to-back 10-year collective bargaining agreements, and helped negotiate media deals worth more than $100 billion that will last through the end of the decade.
Teams also keep being sold for record amounts. The Denver Broncos were purchased last year for $4.65 billion, twice as much as they were sold to the Carolina Panthers in 2018. Earlier this year, Daniel Snyder sold the Washington Commanders to a group led by Josh Harris for a record $6 billion.
Background: Being a Commissioner is Profitable
Mr. Goodell is well compensated for helping turn the NFL into a financial juggernaut. His current deal is worth $200 million, and is largely based on bonuses and incentives.
The owners paid Mr. Goodell about $64 million in 2019-20 and 2020-21 after he helped secure a new labor agreement and lucrative broadcast rights contracts. They also led the league during the pandemic without any games being cancelled.
For a decade, the compensation committee recommended a salary package that was sent to full ownership for approval. But in 2017, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones threatened to sue the half-dozen team owners on the committee that was negotiating a new contract for Mr. Goodell. In response, Mr. Goodell’s contract was restructured to rely more on performance-based bonuses rather than guaranteed salaries.
That performance also included a $2 million fine on Mr. Jones for intimidating other owners. Since then, bosses on three influential committees, totaling about 20 members, decide annually whether the commissioner has met the targets.
What’s next: League has more time to search for successor
The contract extension would give the owners time to find potential candidates to fill Mr. Goodell’s shoes.
Inside NFL headquarters, chief media officer Brian Rolapp considers a contender. Chicago Bears president Kevin Warren, who previously worked for the Minnesota Vikings and the Big Ten, is another possible candidate.
When Mr. Goodell concludes his new deals he will be older than his two predecessors were when they retired. Pete Rozelle stepped down in 1989 at the age of 63, and Paul Tagliabue retired in 2006 at the age of 65.
“We’ll see what the future holds,” Mr. Goodell said of his plans after this current extension. “I am not making any other commitments for the next three years. I’m going to bust my butt.”
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said after an owners meeting in July in Eagan, Minn., near Minneapolis, that the league has become so large and complex that owners should consider dividing commissioner duties, with one person focusing on Let’s do. Handling business matters and secondly field issues.
“It’s a healthy discussion,” Mr. Goodell said in July. “Jobs change over the years. This has changed since I became commissioner. I know we will discuss at the appropriate time.
The new contract will also give the league the opportunity to look outside the NFL for a potential replacement.