Roger Goodell made more than $44 million last year. Wait, what?

The NFL commissioner's job is hard. You have to train all year, hope to make a team because your contract isn't guaranteed, all to hopefully avoid concussions and any other major injuries slamming into super-sized human beings on Sundays.

Wait, wait. Players have that job. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell just sits in a nice New York office most days.

And here's the problem. The highest annual average salary in history is Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers at $22 million. Goodell doubled that in a 12-month period ending on March 31 of last year.

Yes, Goodell doubled the highest salary in league history, making more than FORTY FOUR MILLION DOLLARS.

Goodell makes that ($44.2 million in total compensation, to be exact) even though the players he is looking over play the most dangerous major sport there is and many are getting paid just a fraction of the commissioner's salary – and even less if they get a hefty fine for a hit the league deems illegal, or wearing their socks too low.

Sports Business Journal had the story on Goodell's haul. He made a $3.5 million salary and a $40.36 million bonus (!). Of that bonus, $5 million was earned the previous year. The league told SBJ that $9.1 million of that pay came from a deferred bonus and pension from the 2011 lockout period, and his "true pay" is only about $35 million. Again, Aaron Rodgers is the richest player ever at $22 million per year.

Goodell makes far more than any other commissioner, SBJ says. MLB commissioner Bud Selig's salary is unknown, but reports have it between $22 million to beyond $30 million.

Deadspin pointed out that Goodell's salary is increasing dramatically, from $11.6 million in the period ending in March of 2011, to $29.5 million the year after that to north of $44 million last year. And the NFL players had to get locked out and take a league-friendly deal just to get back to work in 2011.

Goodell, some might argue, does a good job. And, although not physically demanding, his job is not easy. At very least he has been at the head of the NFL as it continues to grow to unprecedented levels of popularity and prosperity. That argument probably won't sit well with the former player who is suffering from CTE issues, but at least it's an explanation.

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Frank Schwab

is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!