Apr 27, 2023; Kansas City, MO, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell looks on after Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter (not pictured) was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles ninth overall in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft at Union Station. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Commissioner Roger Goodell close to extension through 2027

NFL owners are finalizing terms of a contract extension with commissioner Roger Goodell.

Goodell tipped his hat to owners huddled in Eagan, Minn., for two days to discuss league business and rules changes.

“It’s not extended today. That’s for sure,” Goodell said of his pending contract extension with a focus on league-wide matters.

There was no approval of the sale of the Washington Commanders at the meeting, but Goodell said owners are ready to approve Josh Harris’ bid to buy the franchise from Daniel Snyder

“We’ll work as quickly as we can. We’ll do the thorough job as a committee that we need to do, and we’ll approve it when it’s ready,” Goodell said.

As for his own wages and contract, Goodell has “no doubt” a contract extension will get done, as Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay told media outlets on Tuesday.

“There’s definitely progress being made,” Falcons owner Arthur Blank said.

Up for discussion at future meetings is whether owners move forward with the idea of separating powers of the commissioner into multiple roles. Irsay said there was energized conversation again at the just-completed huddle about how to split the role into a CEO for business-related matters and another who serves as NFL commissioner.

“It is something that has come up,” Goodell said. “It’s a healthy discussion to have.”

Irsay said the new contract would “apparently” be Goodell’s last as he plans for retirement. But Irsay added good health and a desire to return could bring the two sides back to the negotiating table for another extension in a few years.

The new deal for Goodell, reportedly heavy on incentives, is expected to be the most lucrative for any commissioner in any sports, ESPN reported in March. Goodell reportedly made $63.9 million per year in 2020 and 2021.

This would be the fourth extension for Goodell since he took over for Paul Tagliabue in September 2006. The previous extensions were 2009, 2012 and 2017.

–Field Level Media

Feb 12, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, US; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell walks on the sideline before Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Commish Roger Goodell closing in on contract extension

NFL owners and Roger Goodell are finalizing a contract extension that’s expected to be the most lucrative for any commissioner in any sport, ESPN reported Monday.

The deal is expected to be ratified during a special privileged session on March 28 in Phoenix, site of the NFL owners’ meetings, per the report.

Only one member from each team will be permitted in the meeting, where the league’s compensation committee will present the proposal, per the report.

The sides have discussed a three-year extension but that’s not final, per ESPN. Financial terms were not reported but Goodell is expected to get a deal that’s heavy on incentives. Goodell reportedly made $63.9 million per year in 2020 and 2021.

This would be the fourth extension for Goodell since he took over for Paul Tagliabue in September 2006. The previous extensions were 2009, 2012 and 2017.

–Field Level Media

Feb 8, 2023; Phoenix, AZ, USA; NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell talks to media during a press conference at Media Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Roger Goodell says NFL officiating never better

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday that the officiating in the league has never been better.

Goodell made the assertion at his annual news conference in Phoenix ahead of Super Bowl LVII — his state of the NFL address.

Goodell touched on several other flashpoints — including minority hiring, player health and safety, the Washington Commanders investigation and potential sale, future plans to flex “Thursday Night Football” and when the site of Super Bowl LX will be announced.

On the topic of officiating, Goodell said mistakes are unavoidable but threw his full support behind the crews.

“I don’t think it’s ever been better in the league,” Goodell said. “There are over 42,000 plays in a season. Multiple infractions could occur on any play. Take that out or extrapolate that. That’s hundreds if not millions of potential fouls. And our officials do an extraordinary job of getting those. Are there mistakes in the context of that? Yes, they are not perfect and officiating never will be.”

His comments come less than two weeks since controversial calls in both championship games.

“We may not agree with every TV announcer or officiating expert, but we think our officials are doing a great job,” Goodell said.

Reacting to recent comments from Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who said the officials’ inconsistency was due to several referees leaving for network TV roles, Goodell said that wasn’t a factor.

“Are we losing people from the field to the booth? There are some that never even officiated on the NFL field, and so we didn’t lose anyone,” Goodell said. “We may have lost them from our office, but we didn’t lose them from officiating on the field. Others are taking on that responsibility at the end of their careers. So, I do not think that’s a factor at all. Zero.”

Goodell touched on several other topics Wednesday:

Minority hirings: Goodell credited the recently implemented coach and front office accelerator program with helping to introduce teams to a more diverse candidate pool. The commissioner told reporters that the program introduced the Tennessee Titans to their new general manager, Ran Carthon, in December.

Carthon, who is Black, is one of two minority GM or head coach candidates hired so far during this year’s cycle, along with DeMeco Ryans, who was named head coach of the Houston Texans last month.

“We’re gonna continue (the accelerator program),” Goodell said. “Our commitment’s strong to that. But that’s just one. We had a number of other programs that we’ve put in that I think are going to produce long-term results.

“Now we all want short-term results, but it’s important to have it be sustainable for the future, and we believe diversity makes us stronger. It’s about attracting the best talent and giving them the best opportunity to be successful. To me, that’s at the core of what we do. We want the changes to be really fundamental and sound and sustainable.”

Health and safety: Goodell addressed the modified concussion protocols that the NFL and the NFLPA agreed to after an investigation determined that the previous protocols did not lead to the intended result with Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

“Any time we can change the protocols to make it safer for our players, we’re gonna do that,” Goodell said. “What we changed in October is something that we thought would give us a better opportunity to treat those conditions more conservatively. … I think that’s also why concussions went up this year because we had a broader definition, a more conservative definition. We had an increase of 17 percent of evaluations. So if you have more evaluations, you’re going to have more concussions.”

The commissioner added that the next move in concussion prevention will be improvements to the helmets.

Washington Commanders investigation/potential sale: On the topic of Mary Jo White’s investigation into misconduct by the team’s owner, Daniel Snyder, Goodell said there’s no timeline in place for White to conclude her investigation and report her findings to the NFL.

“There is no timeline given to Mary Jo White,” Goodell said. “She is authorized to work independently. There is no timeline for her to come to any conclusions.”

As for the potential sale of the team, Goodell said the process of finding a buyer is underway but the league won’t be involved until the other owners vote whether to approve a deal.

“The Commanders are under a process. That’s their process. Ultimately, if they reach a conclusion and have someone joining the ownership group or buying the team, that’s something the ownership will look at.”

Site of Super Bowl LX: The Super Bowl locations for the next two seasons are set, with Las Vegas hosting Super Bowl LVII and New Orleans welcoming Super Bowl LIX to town in 2025.

As for the 60th (LX) and 61st (LXI) Super Bowls, Goodell said the selection for LX in 2026 will be made later this year. LXI’s location in 2027 could also be determined in 2023.

“Thursday Night Football” flex?: With flexible scheduling for “Monday Night Football” being implemented this year for December games, Goodell hinted that the league’s schedule could include flex games for “Thursday Night Football” in the future.

“This is the first year of our new deals which will have flexible scheduling on Monday night,” he said. “So we’ll have flexible scheduling on Sundays and Mondays, it wouldn’t at all surprise me at some point that we have it on Thursdays, at some stage. Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’ll be on our horizon.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 13, 2022; Munich, Germany; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell attends an NFL International Series game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Seattle Seahawks at Allianz Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Roger Goodell pens open letter to fans regarding Damar Hamlin

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell addressed Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin and his ongoing recovery in an open letter to fans on Saturday morning.

“Damar Hamlin’s inspiring progress over the past few days has lifted the spirits of the entire NFL and football fans across the country,” Goodell wrote, per NFL.com.

“While his recovery is just beginning, we thank the NFL medical personnel and the medical staffs from both teams whose emergency action quite likely saved his life. We are also grateful to the professionals at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center who tended to Damar and continue to oversee his care.

“Seeing the entire NFL family — teams, players, coaches, and fans like you — band together was yet another reminder that football is family: human, loving and resilient.”

Hamlin recently had his breathing tube removed and began talking with his care team and family. He also addressed the Bills’ players on a Zoom call during a team meeting Friday morning, telling teammates, “Love ya boys.”

Goodell announced in his open letter that players and coaches from all 32 teams will wear “Love for Damar 3” T-shirts during pre-game warmups this weekend in a show of support for Hamlin.

Hamlin, 24, collapsed on the field in the first quarter due to cardiac arrest in Monday night’s game against the host Cincinnati Bengals.

Not long after Hamlin was transported by ambulance, fans began to share the GoFundMe page that Hamlin established when he played collegiately at Pittsburgh. The goal of the drive through Hamlin’s Chasing M’s foundation was to help provide toys to children during the pandemic.

GoFundMe verified the page Tuesday morning and said Hamlin’s initial goal of $2,500 was far exceeded by nearly 130,000 donations in the 10 hours after he collapsed on the field.

At 1 p.m. ET on Saturday, the fund was at more than $8.2 million.

On Friday, Hamlin was named the winner of the NFL Players Association’s Week 18 Community MVP award.

The recognition comes with a $10,000 contribution to Hamlin’s Chasing M’s foundation.

–Field Level Media

Aug 5, 2022; Canton, OH, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell at the Centennial Plaza. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Commish: ‘Evidence’ begs longer suspension for Deshaun Watson

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday that the “evidence” showing Deshaun Watson’s “predatory behavior” was behind the league’s appeal of a six-game suspension and their push for punishment of at least one year.

Goodell made the comments in Bloomington, Minn., where a special league meeting was held to vote on the sale of the Denver Broncos.

Goodell was asked why the league last week appealed the six-game suspension handed down by former judge and appointed NFL disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson.

“We’ve seen the evidence, she was very clear about the evidence, she reinforced the evidence,” Goodell said. “There were multiple violations that were egregious and it was predatory behavior. Those are things that we always felt were important for us to address in a way that’s responsible.”

Robinson wrote that “the NFL carried its burden to prove … that Mr. Watson engaged in sexual assault.” However, she said the league “is attempting to impose a more dramatic shift in its culture without the benefit of fair notice to — and consistency of consequence for — those in the NFL subject to its policy.”

Goodell tabbed former New Jersey attorney general Peter Harvey to hear the league’s appeal. Goodell said Tuesday he had no timetable for a ruling, which will represent a “full, final and complete disposition of the dispute,” per the terms of the collective bargaining agreement.

Goodell was also asked about the punishment handed down to Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, suspended and fined $1.5 million for “tampering violations of unprecedented scope and severity.” The Dolphins forfeit a first-round pick in 2023 and a third-round selection in 2024.

Ross and the Dolphins were cleared of tanking, per ex-coach Brian Flores’ allegations. Instead, the league found that Ross and his executives were kidding.

“Integrity of the game’s critically important,” Goodell said Tuesday. “I think the finding was very clear on the tampering charges. While tanking clearly did not happen here, I think we all have to understand that our words and our actions have implications, can be interpreted and we have to be careful.”

NFL owners approved the $4.65 billion sale of the Broncos to Walmart heir Rob Walton and the Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group.

–Field Level Media

Cleveland quarterback Deshaun Watson received a six-game suspension from former judge Sue L. Robinson.

Syndication Usa Today

New York lawyer chosen to hear NFL’s Deshaun Watson appeal

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday tabbed former New Jersey attorney general Peter Harvey to hear the league’s appeal of the six-game suspension of Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Earlier this week, former U.S. district Judge Sue L. Robinson, picked by the league and the NFLPA as an independent disciplinary officer, ruled Watson should be suspended six games without pay for violating the league’s personal-conduct policy after more than two dozen women accused him of sexual misconduct.

He played for the Houston Texans at the time.

Two Texas grand juries decided not to indict Watson on criminal charges, and he has denied any wrongdoing. Still, he has settled 23 of the 24 civil suits brought against him by the women.

On Wednesday, the NFL appealed the decision, reportedly contending Robinson’s recommended suspension wasn’t lengthy enough. Goodell had the option to rule himself on the appeal or appoint a designee.

He chose Harvey, who isn’t a stranger to NFL issues.

Harvey is a partner at the Paterson Belknap firm in New York and previously served as a federal prosecutor. He also has experience in domestic violence and sexual assault cases and has advised the NFL and other pro leagues on creating and implementing workplace policies, including the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

He also serves on the NFL diversity advisory committee.

Goodell has called on Harvey in the past to preside over arbitration cases, and the attorney was part of the committee that suspended Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys for violating the personal conduct policy in 2017.

The league reportedly is seeking an indefinite suspension of at least one year for Watson.

–Field Level Media

Feb 14, 2022; Los Angeles, CA, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks flanked by Vince Lombardi trophy during Super Bowl LVI winning coach and most valuable player press conference at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Six state AGs warn NFL to fix ‘hostile’ workplace culture

Six state attorneys general sent a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday, outlining their “grave concerns” over “overtly hostile” workplace culture for women and warned the league to do better.

In a letter penned by New York State AG Letitia James and co-signed by five others, the AGs warned that the NFL could be subject to “the full weight of our authority to investigate and prosecute allegations of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation.”

Attorneys general from Illinois (Kwame Raoul), Minnesota (Keith Ellison), Massachusetts (Maura Healey), Oregon (Ellen F. Rosenblum) and Washington (Bob Ferguson) also signed the two-page letter.

The letter began by citing a February report in The New York Times in which 30 women spoke to the newspaper about treatment in the eight years since the Ray Rice scandal rocked the league.

“We all watched in horror in 2014 when the video of Ray Rice striking, knocking out, and spitting on his fiancé was made public,” the letter read. “In the aftermath, you promised to take gender violence seriously and improve the institutional culture for women at the N.F.L. These recent allegations suggest that you have not. Female employees reported that they were subjected to repeated viewings of the Rice video, with commentary by coworkers that the victim had brought the violence on herself.”

The Times reported cases of unwanted touching, parties where prostitutes had been hired and women being pushed out for complaining about discrimination.

“The N.F.L. must do better — pink jerseys are not a replacement for equal treatment and full inclusion of women in the workplace. Our offices will use the full weight of our authority to investigate and prosecute allegations of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation by employers throughout our states, including at the National Football League.”

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy issued a response via email to the letter.

“We share the commitment of the attorneys general to ensuring that all of our workplaces — including the league office and 32 clubs — are diverse, inclusive and free from discrimination and harassment,” McCarthy wrote. “We have made great strides over the years in support of that commitment, but acknowledge that we, like many organizations, have more work to do.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 22, 2022; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell during a AFC Divisional playoff football game at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Goodell to NFL teams: Head coach diversity ‘unacceptable’

Commissioner Roger Goodell said the NFL will re-examine policies regarding head-coach diversity in the league, saying its efforts have yielded “unacceptable” results.

In a memo sent to all 32 teams Saturday morning, he also said matters involving “the integrity of the game” must be addressed.

Goodell’s memo comes days after former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores sued the NFL, charging an interview he had with the New York Giants was a “sham” intended to meet diversity hiring rules. Flores also alleged he had been offered money by Dolphins owner Stephen Ross to intentionally lose games to secure a better draft position.

Both teams have denied the allegations.

Flores’ lawsuit got the attention of Goodell, however, even though a league statement said Tuesday that the NFL said the suit was “without merit.”

“Racism and any form of discrimination is contrary to the NFL’s values,” Goodell wrote. “We have made significant efforts to promote diversity and adopted numerous policies and programs which have produced positive change in many areas, however we must acknowledge that particularly with respect to head coaches the results have been unacceptable.”

After the January firings of Flores and David Culley with the Houston Texans, the NFL has one Black head coach – Mike Tomin of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Of the nine head-coaching vacancies, five have been filled so far, all by white men.

Goodell said the league will examine existing policies and initiatives relating to diversity, equity and inclusion and will hire outside experts to help in the review. Current and former players and coaches will be among those asked for input.

“Our goal is simple: make our efforts and those of the clubs more effective so that real and tangible results will be achieved,” Goodell said.

Goodell also said the league will examine “integrity” issues, without directly mentioning Flores’ pay-to-tank charges.

“These matters will be reviewed thoroughly and independently. We expect that these independent experts will receive full cooperation from everyone associated with the league or any member club as this work proceeds,” Goodell said.

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden looks on from the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Las Vegas won 26-17.  Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Ex-Raiders coach Jon Gruden sues NFL, contends emails ‘selectively leaked’

Former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden is suing the National Football League and commissioner Roger Goodell, with his attorney contending emails that led to Gruden’s resignation were “selectively leaked” to “force him out of his job.”

Gruden resigned Oct. 11 after the emails revealed derogatory comments he made about Goodell, players union chief DeMaurice Smith and various team owners as well as statements categorized as racist, misogynistic and homophobic. The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal reported extensively about the content of the emails, which were uncovered as part of the league’s investigation into the operation of the Washington Football Team.

“There is no explanation or justification for why Gruden’s emails were the only ones made public out of the 650,000 emails collected in the NFL’s investigation of the Washington Football Team or why the emails were held for months before being released in the middle of the Raiders’ season,” said Adam Hosmer-Henner, who is representing Gruden, in a statement.

The NFL responded with a statement of its own.

“The allegations are entirely meritless and the NFL will vigorously defend against these claims,” the league said.

The emails were sent from 2011-18, when Gruden was the analyst on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.”

Gruden signed a 10-year, $100 million contract in 2018 to return to coaching. He had a 22-31 record over the past three-plus seasons in his second stint with the Raiders, including 3-2 this season. He coached the Raiders from 1998-2001, then moved on to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2002-08. Overall, he has a 117-112 NFL coaching record and led Tampa Bay to its first Super Bowl win in 2002.

The Raiders are 2-1 under interim head coach Rich Bisaccia and have a 5-3 overall mark, tying them with the Los Angeles Raiders for the best record in the AFC West.

–Field Level Media

Feb 4, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA; NFL football commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at a press conference ahead of Super Bowl 55, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, in Tampa, Fla.  Mandatory Credit: Perry Knotts/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports

Report: NFL’s Roger Goodell paid nearly $128 million in past 2 years

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was paid nearly $128 million in salary, bonuses and benefits over the past two years, the New York Times reported.

The Times, citing four unnamed sources who attended the owners meetings in New York this week, reported Thursday night that Goodell’s compensation during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 fiscal years was about 90 percent based on bonuses, with his pay tied to helping negotiate a new labor deal and lucrative media rights contracts.

Last year, according to ESPN, he voluntarily requested to the league’s compensation committee that his base salary be reduced to zero due to the pandemic.

NFL players and owners reached a new collective bargaining agreement to keep the peace with players through at least 2030, in March 2020. This March, the NFL reached agreements reportedly worth more than $100 billion with CBS, ESPN/ABC, Fox, NBC, Amazon and NFL Network that will run through the 2033 season.

Goodell, 62, was elected to replace Paul Tagliabue as NFL commissioner in 2006.

The league declined comment to The Times on the report.

–Field Level Media