Roger Goodell has spent his entire career serving the National Football League from the sidelines, attempting to ensure that everything goes as planned for his professional sports league.
Although he may not be a fan favorite among all of the league’s fans, Goodell has made many impactful decisions for the National Football League that have shaped what the league is today.
Roger Goodell may have started at the bottom of the organization, but he has made his way to the top through loyalty to his football league and plenty of experience.
What Is Roger Goodell’s Net Worth?
Roger Goodell has a net worth of $200 million and receives a salary of $64 million per year from the National Football League, though his salary has been known to fluctuate between the $50 million and $60 million mark.
Goodell serves as the Commissioner for the NFL and has been working with the organization since he was young.
Roger Goodell was the son of the late United States New York Senator, Charles Goodell.
He was born on February 19th of 1959 and grew up in Jamestown, New York.
Those who knew Goodell during his childhood believe that he hasn’t changed much at all.
His childhood babysitter, Janet Durby, claims that he was always a sour child who was much more serious than his fun-loving brothers.
From an early age, Roger Goodell has always been a lover of sports.
Being raised alongside four brothers gave him the competitive edge he needed to make his way to the top of any team he played for.
Goodell played baseball, basketball, and football during his teenage years and was scouted to join multiple college football leagues.
He was even the captain of all the high school teams he served on thanks to his stern leadership skills.
His dream of becoming a professional athlete would quickly be crushed in high school after sustaining too many serious injuries to play for the National Football League or any college team.
However, Goodell had no intention of letting go of his passion for sports.
Instead, Roger Goodell decided to shift his focus to the work that needed to be done behind the scenes for the professional leagues.
Getting his degree in economics from Washington & Jefferson College allowed him to look at the national sports teams he loved with a businessman’s perspective, a professional trait that he’d carry throughout his career.
Starting As An Intern
By the time that Roger Goodell had finished earning his degree, he knew exactly where he wanted to work.
He had his sights on the National Football League, which allowed him to rub shoulders with all the professional players while also having a steady career in the league.
In an attempt to draw the National Football League’s attention, he wrote a letter to every team in the league at the time as well as the National Football League headquarters.
Eventually, he got a response from the league’s office that told him to stop by when he was in town.
Roger Goodell told them that he was in town and could be there by tomorrow.
What he didn’t tell them was that he was actually in Philadelphia, seven hours away from the league’s New York City office.
He immediately got in his car and began the long drive.
The long trip quickly proved to be worth Goodell’s time as he was able to begin working at their office as a part-time administrative intern within a few months.
Through his internship, he earned his second internship with the New York Jets.
This second internship was an upgrade from his last internship in many ways.
By 1983, Goodell was working as the full-time intern for the New York Jets’ public relations team.
When Goodell’s internship had finished, he was offered an entry-level position on the Jets’ coaching staff.
Goodell didn’t believe he was made for coaching in the league and wanted to return to the administrative office for the league.
For years, Roger Goodell worked his way up the administrative ladder until he eventually became the Commissioner for the National Football League.
Working under Pete Rozelle and serving as Paul Tagliabue’s right-hand man gave Goodell the training he needed to serve as the next Commissioner.
Becoming NFL Commissioner
Anyone who worked in the National Football League knew that Roger Goodell was going to work his way to the top at one point or another.
When Goodell began taking on larger and larger roles, his coworkers and mentors watched as his fated future unfolded.
While working his way up the administrative ladder, Goodell served as the National Football League’s director of international development and club administration, vice president of operations, vice president of business development, senior vice president of league and football development, executive vice president of business and football development, and finally, the executive vice president of business, properties, and club services.
In 2001, Roger Goodell became the COO and focused his attention on creating the National Football League Network and the league’s capital ventures.
Goodell could see the profit that could be made by focusing on creating a positive brand identity for the National Football League.
Just five years after becoming COO, previous Commissioner Paul Tagliabue retired from his position.
After five rounds of voting, the league was finally able to decide on who their next Commissioner would be.
Many of the members of the National Football League saw this day coming, even with how tight the election had been between Goodell and Gregg Levy.
Levy had served as the league’s longtime lawyer and later went on to act as an outside counsel for the league.
As the newly elected Commissioner, Roger Goodell made it his mission to create and keep a good name for the professional sports league.
However, players feel that Goodell goes too far with many of his decisions and acts as judge, jury, and executioner all at the same time.
Goodell is quick to quash any behavior he believes will ruin the good name of the National Football League, no matter the cost.
Introducing The Personal Conduct Policy
It didn’t take long for Roger Goodell to put the National Football League’s personal conduct policy into practice in 2007.
The first players to be punished under these heightened rules were Tennessee Titan cornerback Adam Jones and Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry.
Under this revised personal conduct policy, players could receive longer suspensions and be forced to pay larger fines.
In addition, the teams that constantly had players who went against the personal conduct policy would also be punished by losing their second-round draft picks along with additional fines.
For years, the National Football League’s reputation had been tarnished by the criminal actions of some of its players.
The league’s players had such an infamous reputation for causing trouble that it made it difficult to find businesses to accommodate the players.
While this personal conduct policy seemed like it was strict enough to keep all of the employees of the league in line, it proved to not be enough, especially for the league’s players.
The players were still driving while under the influence, owning illegal weapons, getting accused of and arrested for domestic assault, and many more crimes.
Many coaches, like New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin, believe that these kinds of behaviors stem from young players seeing themselves as above the law once they have gotten their first million dollars.
The majority of players come into the National Football League without much money or life experience to their name.
Throwing them into the spotlight with more than a lifetime’s worth of money in a single year would be startling and life-altering for anyone.
By 2014, Roger Goodell tightened the personal conduct policy further to punish employees who are caught in domestic violence cases.
However, Goodell has still had little luck improving their behavior in the league.
Exposing The New England Patriots
In 2007, New England Patriots and their coach, Bill Belichick, were suspended for illegally videotaping defensive signals used by the New York Jets from an illegal angle.
While it isn’t uncommon for coaches to personally record games, there are rules that must be followed in order to prevent spying.
The situation had become a worrisome topic of discussion among members of the professional football league and their fans, later gaining the name “Spygate”.
After having a meeting with the troublesome coach, Roger Goodell told the public that the New England coach had no idea that his actions were illegal and admitted to having been doing it since he joined the Patriots in 2000.
In the name of the league’s reputation and to ensure the sanctity of the league, Goodell chose to have the tapes destroyed so nobody else could use them against the New York Jets.
However, many people were confused by this decision and didn’t agree with the recordings being destroyed.
When Goodell chose to delete the tapes, nobody exactly knew what was on them and didn’t know the exact number of games that had been compromised.
Roger Goodell believed that having Bill Belichick’s admission of what was on the tapes was good enough for him and the rest of the league.
The situation was so out of control that the United States government sent Arlen Specter to investigate the case.
In 1968, he had served as a junior staffer on the Warren Commission investigation into the assassination of President Kennedy.
Goodell was difficult for Specter to get ahold of, waiting a year after the National Football League’s own investigation into the matter.
These collective actions made the public even more suspicious of what could have been on those tapes and why Goodell truly chose to destroy them.
Stopping The New Orleans Bounties
Roger Goodell would get a short break from having to handle controversies before they started back up again in 2012.
Goodell revealed to the public that the National Football League had found evidence that the New Orleans Saints were telling their players to focus on knocking out opposing players, even if they had to injure the opposing players to do so.
According to Goodell, there was evidence that the New Orleans Saints had been using these tactics since as early as 2009.
Nobody was safe from Goodell’s wrath, including the coaches and coaching staff.
The New Orleans Saints were fined $500,000 and lost their second-round draft picks over the bounty scandal.
Although many people have questioned Goodell’s handling of the situation over the years, he stands firmly behind the decision he made.
Roger Goodell had been furious over the fact that players were willing to hurt their fellow players just to satisfy their coaches, but he was much more upset about the players who had repeatedly lied about the professional team’s practice.
He was just as upset that so many coaches and staff members sat back and watched it all happen.
Critics of Goodell’s ruling on the New Orleans Saints believed that he had been too harsh on the entire team, including players who were worried about their reputation within the football league if they didn’t comply with their coaches’ plan.
Even former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue believed that the entire team was not all responsible, even if it was the majority of the New Orleans staff.
Roger Goodell chose to go with the harsher and more broad punishments because he believed that those who were complicit with the rule-breaking actions were just as guilty.
Goodell was willing to admit that it was a league-wide issue.
Trying To Solve The NFL’s Problems With Brain Damage
For years, former National Football League players attempted to get the league’s administrative staff and the public to understand the dangers that come from playing for the professional football league.
The biggest risk that players are up against is the increased chance of developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease that is brought on by repeated head trauma.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy causes depression, mood swings, memory loss, and even dementia.
The condition becomes more apparent as the injuries progress and the players age.
For years, the National Football League attempted to undermine its role in putting its players at risk of brain disease.
Whenever Roger Goodell or another National Football League administrator was questioned about the players’ safety and wellbeing, they would coldly respond by saying that life is full of risks no matter what you do.
During the early 2000s, the National Football League was outright denying the relationship between many players’ time in the National Football League and chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
By the 2010s, they were willing to admit that there was an “association” between the brain disease and playing tackle football regularly.
However, the National Football League executives were extremely particular about the wording of their admission.
When asked if there was a link between the disease and the job that professional players were doing, the executives would tell interviewers that the word “link” was too strong of a word.
It wasn’t until 2016 that the National Football League was willing to admit that there was an “unequivocal link” between playing professional football and developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
This came after a 2015 study, conducted by the Department of Veteran Affairs and Boston University, revealed that 87 out of 91 deceased former football players tested positive for the disease.
His Fight With Tom Brady
The year 2015 was a busy one for Roger Goodell, who was already trying to settle lawsuits from former National Football League players over the head injury scandals that had been going on for years.
During a game in 2015, New England Patriot employees were seen deflating balls before handing them back to the players.
Making personal adjustments to the football used in a game is prohibited, even if you are one of the league’s most valuable players like Tom Brady.
Brady and the New England staff’s complicity in the situation led Goodell to fine the New England Patriots and suspend Tom Brady for the first four games of the 2016 season.
Brady was not willing to accept this judgment at first.
After months of appeals, Tom Brady accepted the punishment in July before the next season could start.
Many fans of the New England Patriots and Tom Brady weren’t pleased with how the situation was handled.
The staff members and players involved were punished before an independent investigation could even be completed.
John Jastremski and Jim McNally, the two staff members accused of deflating footballs, never admitted to tampering with the footballs.
Having an executive who didn’t know that air pressure drops as the temperature drops in charge of checking the New England Patriots’ footballs didn’t help the investigation.
In addition, it was later found that the National Football League’s gauges were heavily out of sync.
Between inaccurate gauges and not taking into consideration how air pressure inside objects works, the National Football League wasn’t able to report accurate information.
Despite the public outcry, Roger Goodell was firm on his decision with the New England Patriots and Tom Brady’s involvement.
This only widened the emotional distance between the players and their commissioner.
Shaping Future Generations Of Football Players
Although not everyone agrees with the choices that Roger Goodell has made, they can agree that he has had a massive impact on how the National Football League functions.
While he may be seen as cold and judgmental, his goal is to keep the National Football League honest and to rid it of its troublesome reputation.
As Commissioner, he has seen the professional football league through multiple controversies over the years and guided them through struggling times.
Goodell still has a lot of work to do when it comes to cleaning up the behavioral habits of the National Football League members, but he has managed to take the first steps towards righting the wrongs of the league.
As Roger Goodell begins to feel more secure in his position as commissioner, he has gradually become more willing to change his mind on his previous decisions and admit when he has been wrong.
An example of his personal growth as a leader was during the protests that players were participating in on the field in 2018.
During his first ruling on the decision, Goodell was extremely averse to the players’ display of protest, wanting the National Football League to remain free of political statements.
It took Goodell a couple of years to change his mind, but players were longer going to be suspended or fined for their acts of peaceful protest.
Roger Goodell still has a long way to go before he’s seen in the same way that the previous Commissioners were viewed.
As long he tries to connect more closely with the players, he may one day be seen as beneficial for both the league’s business side and the sport of football overall.