NFL rewards Commissioner Goodell with contract extension

NEW YORK -- Now that the NFL has labor peace for the next decade, Commissioner Roger Goodell has job security through the 2018 season.

Not only did Goodell make it through one of the league's most contentious and troubling periods -- a 4½-month lockout of the players -- but he oversaw a highly successful season once a 10-year collective bargaining agreement was reached. On Wednesday, he reaped some rewards himself with a contract extension through March 2019.

"It is the only place I have ever wanted to work," Goodell said after the league's compensation committee approved the extension.

Goodell, 52, took over for Paul Tagliabue in 2006. His original five-year contract was extended in 2009. He earned about $10 million, including bonuses, under that contract. During the lockout, he had a $1 salary.

No terms of the new contract were disclosed.

"I am grateful for the contributions and counsel of NFL owners in managing our league, the talented staff that supports us, and the players and coaches that perform their magic on the field. It is truly a team effort," Goodell said. "I am eagerly looking ahead to the challenge of building on our momentum and doing all we can to improve our game for the fans and everyone that is part of our league."

Goodell negotiated long-term contract extensions of the NFL's television contracts in 2011. The nine-year agreements with CBS, Fox, and NBC are the longest for the league and could net as much as $3.1 billion in 2022.

Twenty-three of the top-25-rated TV programs during the football season were NFL games.

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Goodell has made player safety and discipline his main focal points, and the league has ramped up fines and even suspensions for illegal hits. He also has been criticized for how the league dealt with retired players and with post-career health issues such as brain trauma; both issues have become priorities for Goodell and the league in recent years.

"I speak on behalf of 32 NFL club owners in saying we are fortunate to have Roger Goodell as our commissioner," said Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, chairman of the compensation committee, which also includes owners Tom Benson (New Orleans), Pat Bowlen (Denver), Robert Kraft (New England), Jerry Richardson (Carolina), and Steve Ross (Miami). "Since becoming commissioner in 2006, the NFL -- already the leader in professional sports -- has gotten even stronger.

"As evidenced by this contract extension, we have great confidence in Roger's vision and leadership of the NFL. Our clubs, players and fans could not ask for a better CEO."

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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