File this headline away in case you ever need a hearty laugh… “Roger Goodell: Relationship with Jerry Jones is great.”
That actually ran atop a story on the NFL’s website, written by the acclaimed journalist “Around The NFL staff” on Wednesday, right as Goodell was officially becoming a lame-duck commissioner. In the same story, under the heading, “Here’s another takeaway from the Winter League Meetings:” we got this nugget:
“Goodell’s new contract, which expires in March 2024, will be his final extension with the league, NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart confirmed to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport at the Winter League Meetings on Wednesday. Lockhart added that Goodell will spend time helping the league identify his potential successor at commissioner over the next seven years.”
While it’s hardly crazy that Goodell would exit the league office at 65 – his predecessor, Paul Tagliabue, also was 65 when he retired, while the late Pete Rozelle was 63 when he left the job in 1989 – it’s a hell of a thing to announce now that you plan to quit a job in 2024, to the point that it reeks of a sentiment of, “fine, you get this contract, but it’s your last one.”
In other words, and particularly looking at the details of Goodell’s bonus-heavy new contract, as Yahoo columnist Charles Robinson did, “Jerry Jones won his fight with NFL commish Roger Goodell.”
Aside from the lofty status and still-hefty compensation that comes with the position, you do kind of have to wonder if being NFL commissioner is worth it, beyond just being beholden to Jones and 31 other billionaires who have never been wrong about anything in their entire lives and never will. The job sucks right now.
Last month, it was reported that Goodell would be deposed and asked to turn over his phone records and emails in Colin Kaepernick’s collusion case against the league. Then there’s the whole thing where, because you’re running professional football, you have to pretend like football doesn’t irrevocably damage the brains of the people who play it, and say ridiculous things to stake out that position. Oh, and because you’re the top executive at a giant organization, you take on a major role in a sexual harassment lawsuit, one in which one of your former employees tries to defend his good name by… tweeting the same image of a lipstick-shaped vibrator five times. Bold move, Warren Sapp.
Maybe that’s why the NFL needs to embark on a seven-year headhunting process for Goodell’s replacement. Who in the world would be qualified for and also want this job, which also might include being told online by the president of the country how to do your job – though at least the next commissioner may not have to worry about that one – but definitely does include plenty of regular people telling you that you suck at times when everything is running smoothly and normally, usually because some referee made a borderline call?
Meanwhile, your bosses, all those billionaires, make money hand over fist, but blame you for the fact that they don’t make even more, even though yours is the only major professional sport without guaranteed contracts for players. But hey, at least you get to have your own tag on The Onion.
Given all of that, $200 million isn’t nearly enough money to also have to say, publicly and with television cameras on you, that you respect Jerry Jones. Good luck finding the next person willing to debase himself that way.