The National Football League has announced that an agreement has been reached to extend Commissioner Roger Goodell’s contract for an additional three years, his fourth extension since being elected to the position in 2006. Goodell has negotiated numerous media rights deals with the NFL and helped usher in a new era of digital distribution, highlighted by the record-setting 11-year media rights contract with various entities worth a reported $110 billion.
On the Wednesday morning edition of ESPN Radio’s Unsportsmanlike, co-host Evan Cohen posed the question as to whether or not Goodell is worth more money than a player. The impetus for this query came after Goodell’s previous salary, which is reportedly about $64 million annually, was reported and how his career earnings are approaching $700 million.
“If the owners are willing to pay him to do it, yeah,” co-host Chris Canty responded. “It is what it is. The owners are looking at this and saying, ‘Goodell is the one that orchestrated these record-setting media rights contracts,’ and that’s all the NFL owners care about is the bottom-line [and] how much money they’re going to make.”
Goodell works with several league officials and representatives from television networks to negotiate the media rights deals, and he was critical in key decisions over the years related to flex scheduling and the integration of an over-the-top streaming platform, Amazon Prime Video, into the weekly game rotation. NFL Head of Media Brian Rolapp recently revealed that NFL Sunday Ticket through YouTube and YouTube TV has amassed a record number of sign-ups within its first year on the platform, part of a larger seven-year deal worth a reported $2 billion per year. Canty likened the reasoning behind his analysis towards replacement-value, and conveyed just how nuanced the role of a league commissioner is in today’s day and age.
“It’s easier for the owners to find players that can go out there and produce on a football field than it is to find people in this world that can do what Roger Goodell does,” Canty explained, “and I think that’s where the owners look at it and say, ‘This is why Roger Goodell is worth the contract paying him $60-70 million a year.”
As the commissioner of the league, Goodell is frequently at the center of unpopular decisions and instances with the potential to harm the image of the game. Both Canty and co-host Michelle Smallmon described him as “the personification of the shield,” understanding that he encompasses much of what the NFL is all about. While Smallmon, a former St. Louis, Mo. radio host and producer, has mixed feelings towards the league due to the departure of the Rams and the way it values women, she knows that Goodell takes much of the negativity and renders it sustainable.
“He’s absorbing all of this heat from fans; he’s protecting owners front themselves and the scandals that we hear about ownership, and he’s somehow turning it into piles of cash,” Smallmon said, “so that, if you’re an owner, is way, way, way more valuable than a player.”
Shortly thereafter, Cohen invited listeners to call into the show to discuss the Dallas Cowboys, one of the league’s signature franchises over the years, to respond to the assertion of the team receiving a deluge of criticism. One listener implored the show to stop discussing them, as it benefits owner Jerry Jones, who also makes weekly radio appearances.
He also shared that he and his father do not speak during the football season because of his father’s zeal towards the Cowboys, nicknamed “America’s Team.” In responding to the caller, Canty shared a story of his pre-draft visit in Dallas when he was informed by Jones that the Cowboys are “the Broadway of the NFL” and always a talking point no matter their record.
“There aren’t other owners that have a weekly radio show, so Jerry makes it a spectacle,” Canty said. “Jerry makes it a big deal, and when they underachieve, it creates this dynamic where everybody is polarizing. You either feel strongly about the Cowboys potentially being able to get them next year, or you think it’s going to be the same-old Cowboys, so I think that’s the lens that everybody looks at Dallas through, and that’s why we always talk about them.”
Jones makes weekly radio appearances, and star linebacker Micah Parsons hosts a weekly podcast with Bleacher Report, the most recent episode on which he expressed frustration towards people trashing the Cowboys. Nonetheless, sports media professionals know that there is significant national interest towards the team and oftentimes, there is no shortage of talking points, partially due to the accessibility of the personnel.
“We’ve got to keep reiterating – Jerry Jones talks every week; Micah Parsons talks every week,” Cohen said. “We’re an audio-based medium; we react to audio. They’re giving us a lot of audio.”
Jerry Recco: Paul Allen is ‘Not Textbook and He’s Phenomenal’
Allen sounded dejected in his final call of the Vikings’ 12-10 loss on Monday night, according to WFAN anchor Jerry Recco.
The Minnesota Vikings lost their Monday Night Football matchup against the Chicago Bears on a walk-off field goal. Paul Allen, who has been calling Vikings games for the last 21 seasons, sounded dejected in the call as if he were a Vikings fan communicating to listeners en masse, according to WFAN anchor Jerry Recco.
Outside of his role on the Boomer & Gio morning program on WFAN and CBS Sports Network, Recco is a play-by-play announcer himself as the radio voice of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights men’s basketball team. Because of his position in the industry, morning program co-host and CBS Sports analyst for The NFL Today, Boomer Esiason, asked Recco if he takes elements of style from other announcers to implement into the game broadcasts.
“No, because I don’t think there is a right way to do it,” Recco replied Tuesday morning on WFAN. “No, I do what I do, and if it’s good, great. As long as [athletic director] Pat Hobbs and [head coach] Steve Pikiell are happy, I’m happy.”
Recco has been calling Rutgers games since the 2016-17 season. The National Sports Media Association named him the recipient of the New Jersey Sportscaster of the Year in 2022.
As a play-by-play announcer, Recco is focused on documenting the action and has had the chance to call several memorable moments in program history, including its first NCAA Tournament win in 30 years when it defeated Clemson in March 2021.
“There’s no right way to do it because you’ve got textbook guys like [Mike] Breen, who’s the best; then you’ve got guys like Paul Allen,” Recco said. “He’s not textbook and he’s phenomenal – would you agree? And then there’s Gus Johnson, who’s crazy and he’s phenomenal in his own way.”
Joe Buck: Minneapolis Miracle ‘Easily the Most Exciting Singular Moment’ of Career
“It was easily the most exciting, singular moment that I’ve ever been a part of calling games for now 30 years on the network level.”
Joe Buck has what could be labeled as a sometimes contentious relationship with Minnesota Vikings fans. However, he believes a moment including the franchise is one of the finest moments of his storied career.
During an appearance on SKOR North’s Purple Daily, Buck told Phil Mackey and Judd Zulgad the “Minneapolis Miracle” — Stefon Diggs’ 2018 game-winning touchdown catch against the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Divisional Round — is one of the biggest moments of his broadcasting legacy.
“People ask me ‘What’s your favorite call of your career?’ They go, ‘What’s your favorite baseball call? What’s your favorite football (call)?’ That’s always my favorite football call. Because it’s a walk-off moment. You don’t really get that very often in football compared to baseball, obviously,” Buck said.
“If you do, it’s usually the kicker which, in that moment, I think the instinct for Diggs was unbelievable because he made that catch. And you’re thinking okay, ‘They got a shot of the game-winning field goal’. And he turns around, and nobody’s there. It was right down in front of us in this incredible, great stadium, with the best view we could possibly have. Your natural instinct is to go ‘Okay, get out of bounds’ and he spins around, nobody’s there. And he goes down the sideline, and they walk off with the win. I mean, it was easily the most exciting, singular moment that I’ve ever been a part of calling games for now 30 years on the network level.”
Joe Buck was asked about his relationship with Vikings fans. During a playoff game in 2004, Buck called Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss’ touchdown celebration a “disgusting act” as he pretended to moon Green Bay Packers fans. He claimed it was “unfortunate that we had that on our air live”.
The comments have been criticized for nearly two decades, with Buck admitting he went too far.
“I hear that back and it kind of gives me a little bit of a jolt because I’m like, ‘Man, I can’t believe that that’s what came out of my mouth’, but I have to live with that. And I’m not saying that I regret it, but it feels a little over the top.”
Joe Buck added that his wife — Michelle Beisner-Buck — preceded him at ESPN, and said Moss was the colleague that treated her the most, with Buck saying Moss “and I have become really good friends. And I don’t think Randy cares about it. So, you know, I guess I’ll just move on and hopefully everybody else can too.”
Anthony Lima: 97.1 The Fan in Columbus Does ‘Homer Radio’
“Down in Columbus on 97-point homer or whatever they are, all they did every day with Beau (Bishop) and all those guys, every day was ‘We’re not gonna lose.'”
Ohio State suffered its third consecutive defeat to Michigan on Saturday. 92.3 The Fan morning co-host Anthony Lima argues Buckeye fans in the Ohio capital have been told what they want to hear by 97.1 The Fan.
During The Ken Carman Show with Anthony Lima Monday, Lima turned his anger about the Buckeyes’ third consecutive loss to their chief rival into a rant about the “homer radio” provided by 97.1 The Fan to its Columbus audience.
“I was the only guy in the state of Ohio (saying Ryan Day wasn’t capable of beating Michigan),” Lima said. “Down in Columbus on 97-point homer or whatever they are, all they did every day with Beau (Bishop) and all those guys, every day was ‘We’re not gonna lose. We’re never gonna lose to Michigan. My god, Ryan Day picked up right where (Urban Meyer) left off. He’s just gonna take this to the next level.’ On the homer radio down there, that’s what they did, and you didn’t see it coming.”
Lima’s co-host, Ken Carman, laughed and covered his mouth in surprise during Lima’s rant.
“This is the man I wanted,” Carman joked after Lima concluded. “I’m glad I got him. I’m glad he pulled that out. He’s mad. You are unhinged.”