Roger Goodell is the $500-million man. With NFL owners okaying his four-year, $200-million contract extension last week as Protector of the Shield, Goodell will cross the half-billion mark in earnings since becoming commissioner.
By comparison, the late Michael Jackson earned an estimated $750 million in his music career, with 13 No. 1 singles and 350 million records sold. Goodell, meanwhile, wears a nice suit and shakes 32 hands a year.
Like many of you who have been watching the NFL a long, long time, I have a simple question:
What exactly does Roger Goodell do?
Can anyone name his top five achievements as NFL commissioner?
Go ahead, I’ll wait; I’m here all day.
Seriously, is he a business genius? A brilliant thinker? A dealmaker? Tech savvy?
Tech savvy? He still has a Blackberry.
When your bio starts with the line “son of a U.S. senator,” I’m guessing you haven’t done much other than ride in the back of a Lincoln town car and eat lobster with truffles at your summer home in Maine.
Here are three jobs I know Goodell could do well:
* Maitre d’, Peter Luger Steak House, Brooklyn.
* Concierge, Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, Hawaii.
* Toll taker, New Jersey Turnpike, Exit 8.
He is uniquely qualified for these positions – the first two, you just stand all day and look good; the other one, you just stand all day and take people’s money.
Granted, since Goodell took over in 2006, the average value of an NFL franchise has more than doubled, with league revenues swelling to $14 billion annually. But I believe an ambidextrous porcupine living behind a trash bin in a 7-Eleven parking lot could’ve been commissioner in that time, and the NFL would see similar results.
(Column Intermission: I was laughed out of town when I made the Los Angeles Chargers my NFL Team of Destiny this season. Then I was laughed out of another town when the Chargers started 0-4. And, now, after the Chargers climbed back to 8-6 before losing their AFC West showdown to the Chiefs Saturday, 30-13, I have voluntarily moved abroad before being laughed out of my latest town.)
Goodell’s M.O. is “look good, say nothing.” When he talks for an hour, you get maybe a minute’s worth of insight. His state-of-the-NFL address every February would be more informative if he just read names out of the Manhattan white pages.
He also takes every complication and worsens it. It’s the opposite of crisis management – it’s crisis manglement.
Under Goodell, we don’t even know when a catch is a catch anymore.
Goodell’s rap sheet includes:
Bungled the referee labor dispute.
Bungled the Ray Rice suspension.
Bungled the Ezekiel Elliott suspension.
Bungled virtually every other player-discipline matter.
Bungled player safety considerations.
Bungled Rams, Chargers and Raiders relocation issues.
Bungled the anthem-protest controversy.
Bungled Marcus Mariota’s name at the 2015 NFL draft.
In addition, he’s incorrectly foisted “Thursday Night football” on us, been wrong on the Washington R*dsk*ns nickname dispute and has dragged his feet on CTE/brain trauma/concussion concerns.
On the other hand, Goodell once received the Outstanding Civilian Service Award from the U.S. Army, even though he made the military pay for the NFL’s on-field tributes to the military.
Ask The Slouch
Q. I have a 4-year-old daughter who does not understand Dick Vitale. Can you explain him to her? (Scott Peters; Bethesda, Md.)
A. You’re permitting a pre-K progeny to listen toVitale? Please forward an address ASAP so I can send social services to your home.
Q. Why haven’t I ever seen you on “Around the Horn”? Aren’t you pretty enough for television? (William Mahl; Indianapolis)
A. I’m not even pretty enough for a podcast.
Q. Tom Brady was 0 for 11 on third-down conversions against the Dolphins last week, with many of his passes skipping off the ground 10 feet short of the receivers. Is there any way for him to improve his grip on the ball? (Steve Owings; Spokane, Wash.)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
Q. Do you know if the NFL is still considering an 18-game schedule? Here in Cleveland we would like to break the loss record rather than just tie it. (Eddie Vidmar; Cleveland)
A. Pay this wretched soul, too.
You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash.
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