Roger Goodell Feels Your Pain, And Cuts His Pay

If the economy is affecting you at your job, I’m willing to bet it’s coming down on the working man. More hours, less pay, less perks. But I doubt your superior is really hurting that much; do you really think your company’s CEO is about to lose vacation days or health care coverage? So how bad must things be for the NFL when the big boss is taking a pay cut?

Roger Goodell

Roger Goodell is cutting his compensation for 2008 by 20%-25%, the league announced this week. Additionally, he’ll be freezing his pay for 2009. With attendance and merchandise sales struggling across the league, it’s nice to see the NFL not pretending that everything’s OK. Because when I buy a ticket, I’m mostly cool with knowing I pay the players’ salaries, but I bet people are less cool knowing they’re also taking care of the execs.

“The commissioner believes it will take a collective sacrifice of everyone to get through this difficult economic environment,” [league spokesman Brian] McCarthy says.

While it’s tough to feel sorry for a guy who’s still making $11 million a year, at least Goodell is making an effort. Unlike, say, Bud Selig, who unabashedly took a 22% raise to $18.35 million in 2007. Goodell wouldn’t even place in the top 25 highest paid players in the NFL. For comparison, David Stern pulls in about $10 million, Gary Bettman about half that.

Things are worse at the NFL then we realize. They’ve had to cut up to 15 percent of the staff at their offices, NFL Network and NFL Films. Goodell has said that three-quarters of teams will freeze ticket prices for next season, and some, like the Detroit Lions, will actually lower them.