Roger Goodell has been the National Football League Commissioner since 2006. NFL owners are on the cusp of agreeing to Goodell's fourth contract extension, which would see him surpass 20 years in the job and stay commissioner for the foreseeable future. While there are many issues that have tainted Goodell's time with the NFL, he has also has shepherded a time of economic growth within the league. Has he earned the ability to keep doing the job?
Owners Will Say Goodell Absolutely Earned His Extension
When it comes down to it, NFL owners are the ones who make the decision. And given the rise in value of the league and each team throughout his tenure, why would they want him to stop now? At the end of the day it's about making money. And Goodell has helped fill their pockets and then some over the past 17 years. He managed to negotiate a new playoff structure (allowing one more team per conference to make the playoffs) and extended the regular season by one game. The Broncos recently sold for $4.5 Billion. That figure is mind-boggling.
And that helps to look past the ruthlessness with which he has operated in this position. Nobody has been able to gain enough traction to look like a successor, and Goodell hasn't seemed to take kindly to the idea that any contract he has signed will be his last. There have been talks about building a succession plan into his new contract. But, frankly, there doesn't seem to be anyone waiting in the wings. So it remains to be seen whether or not that will ultimately be built in.
Many Fans Would Love To See Him Go
It hasn't all been smooth sailing for Goodell throughout his tenure. His handling of player safety and race-related issues have been pretty abysmal. Concussions and CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) remain hugely problematic, particularly as we uncover further research after former players have passed away. When you look at situations such as with Damar Hamlin this past season, it helps shine a light on how, while we know this is a dangerous game, there are still things that could be done to help make it safer.
Beyond player safety, there's the issues of race that have been prominent. Whether it be the treatment of Colin Kaepernick, the Washington Football Team fiasco, or the fact that there's a significant issue with diversity in front offices and in head coaching positions. Goodell has the power to help fix that, but won't. He's sitting pretty while reportedly making over $60 million per year. Why would he want to ruffle all the white owners' feathers? That wouldn't serve him or his wallet.
But like it or not, Goodell is about to be handed at least an additional three years, if not more. As we wait for the details to be finalized, we'll be left wondering what the plan is for the future, and if Goodell will manage to go peacefully when the time comes.
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