You probably hate Roger Goodell.
He botched BountyGate. He bungled the Ray Rice scandal. His handling of Adrian Peterson was anything but perfect. Who knows what really happened in the Greg Hardy situation?
And it’s taking longer to sort out over-inflated footballs than it took to work out an Iranian nuclear deal.
But you know who loves the NFL’s commissioner?
The owners. Or, as they are more affectionately known, “The 32.”
The NFL handed out $187.7 million per team in 2013 in league-wide national revenue sharing — which equates to about $6 billion in revenue.
That number jumped 21 percent to $7.3 billion in 2014. That’s $226.4 million per team doled out by the NFL to its 32 franchises.
However, the overall power and strength of the NFL brand is also a huge part of that revenue spike.
Exponentially increasing television revenue, national sponsorships, licensing agreements, merchandise sales and an expanding international brand campaign have been wildly successful under Goodell’s watch. This is a business and the Commish has made The 32 incredibly happy by filling their pockets with gold.
Goodell has taken slings and arrows for handling the league’s disciplinary issues. Rightly so, he’s been inconsistent at best and negligent at worst. All the while, making over $40 million per year in salary.
But he’s paid that money to take the PR punches from social media and the court of public opinion so that The 32 are protected.
Much like the NCAA, where the individual schools hold all of the power while the NCAA takes all of the heat, the NFL allows its figurehead to take all of the flack while the real power brokers sit back and count stacks of cash.
Fans pay exorbitant amounts of time and money to support their favorite players and teams. We love the NFL and we love to hate Roger Goodell.
But that’s exactly what the owners want. As long as the commissioner continues to increase revenue, his job isn’t in any danger. And the only way revenue stops increasing is if we collectively stop watching.
And who wants to do that?