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The highest-paid person in the NFL? It's Commissioner Roger Goodell

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell received an annual salary of $63 million for the past two years, according to the the New York Times, citing documents shared privately by league officials.

The figure was revealed during an internal team owners meeting that took place in New York City, the paper reported. Goodell's salary across two years approached $128 million, including bonuses he received for approving labor and media rights deals for the league. 

American sports leagues have long been secretive when it comes to executive pay. While player and coach salaries are often shared, front-office salaries are typically kept private by the NFL, MLB, NBA and other major leagues.

Goodell, 62, became NFL commissioner in 2006. His tenure has been marked by controversial decisions, such as when he downplayed player protests against police brutality last year in response to the killing of George Floyd. Goodell later apologized publicly on behalf of league officials, saying, "We were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier." 

The NFL declined a request for comment by CBS MoneyWatch.

More recently, Goodell has come under fire for saying that the NFL will not release investigation documents centered on workplace harassment at the Washington Football Team. Goodell said the league made a promise to those involved that their names would not be publicized. 

NFL won't release findings of Washington Football Team probe 08:32

"When you make a promise to protect the anonymity, to make sure that we get the right information, you need to stay with it," Goodell said Tuesday in a press conference, according to the Associated Press. "And so we're very conscious of making sure that we're protecting those who came forward. They were incredibly brave."

Goodell was also widely criticized in 2015 for his four-game suspension of Tom Brady, a quarterback for the New England Patriots at the time, during the Deflategate scandal. 

In 2017, when Goodell had a base salary of $20 million, he signed a contract extension worth $200 million that keeps him as commissioner until 2024.

During a presentation at the owners-only meeting this week, a slide projection showed that Goodell made $63,900,050 in both 2019-20 and 2020-21, the Times reported. It's still unclear how much Goodell has made over his entire tenure with the league, but the 2019 to 2021 compensation figures offer a rare glimpse at a payroll few people see. 

Goodell's eight-figure salary dwarfs even the league's top talent. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott makes $40 million a year and Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen makes $43 million. The NFL's highest-paid player, Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs, makes $45 million. 

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