Two years ago, when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was thought to make only $20 million, Falcons wide receiver Roddy White sent this tweet:
Got some bad news for you, Roddy. Goodell more than doubled his pay over the next 12 months.
BREAKING NEWS: NFL paid commissioner Roger Goodell $35.1 mln, plus $9.1 mln of deferred pay in year-ended March 31, '13, for $44.2 mln total— daniel kaplan (@dkaplanSBJ) February 14, 2014
To be clear: That's $35.1 million -- plus another $9.1 million in deferred payments -- for the year that ended March 31, 2013.
So how do we come across this information every year? Turns out, the multibillion-dollar money-making machine that is the NFL is, in the eyes of the government, a nonprofit organization. Thanks to an exemption written into the tax code, the league is exempt from federal corporate taxes.
(If you're so inclined, US Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) explained the particulars in Wastebook 2012.)
The downside -- if you want to call it that -- to being classifed as a nonprofit: this Tax exemption also makes Goodell's salary publicly available, circumstances no doubt eased by the fact that he made nearly $3 million a month.
in a letter obtained by Daniel Kaplan of the Sports Business Journal, NFL owners Arthur Blank, Robert Kraft and Jerry Richardson wrote to their fellow owners that "Goodell's compensation reflects our pay-for-performance philosophy and is appropriate given the fact that the NFL under his consistently strong leadership continues to grow."
Kaplan notes that the three owners comprise the league's compensation committee, adding that Goodell's salary almost certainly makes him the highest-paid sports executive.