2013 PTA Convention—Special Address
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
Roger Goodell is the eighth chief executive in the NFL’s 91-year history. He was chosen by the NFL club owners to be commissioner on August 8, 2006 and took office on September 1, 2006.
Commissioner Goodell has focused his priorities on successfully growing the NFL’s popularity and strengthening the game and all 32 NFL franchises through innovation.
Fan interest in the NFL has soared under his leadership, including the largest television audiences in league history, enormous growth in online and social media engagement, and other measures of business success.
In his first seven seasons as commissioner, Goodell has addressed a wide range of issues to improve the NFL, including player health and safety; the medical needs and pensions of retired players; personal conduct; revenue sharing; stadium construction; media innovation; and international development.
In 2011, his leadership helped secure a landmark 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL Players Association, the longest in the history of professional sports. That was followed by long-term extensions of the NFL’s television contracts. The nine-year agreements with CBS, FOX , and NBC are the longest ever for NFL broadcast television contracts and continue the NFL’s tradition of being the only sports league that shows all of its regular-season and playoff games on free, over-the-air television.
During his tenure, Commissioner Goodell also has strengthened the league’s anti-steroids policy, launched innovative media initiatives and a new series of international regular-season games, improved the NFL’s news media access policies to better serve fan interest, and revamped and enhanced the league’s programs to support and assist players and former players in their lives off the field.
Prior to being named commissioner, Goodell managed an array of football and business operations during a 24-year career in the NFL.
Goodell joined the NFL in 1982 as an administrative intern in the league office in New York. After spending the 1983 season as an intern with the New York Jets, Goodell returned to the league office in 1984 as an assistant in the public relations department. In 1987, he was appointed assistant to the president of the American Football Conference, Lamar Hunt, by then-Commissioner Pete Rozelle.
Under Rozelle’s successor, Paul Tagliabue, Goodell served in various senior executive roles and was appointed executive vice president and chief operating officer in 2001.
As chief operating officer, Goodell was responsible for the league’s football operations and officiating departments in addition to supervising all league business functions.
Goodell was instrumental in many league accomplishments prior to becoming commissioner, including expansion, realignment, and stadium development. He directed the dramatic transformation and growth of the NFL’s business units, played a lead role in the launch of the NFL Network, and was a key member of the negotiating team that produced the NFL’s television agreements.
In football operations, he helped lead the 1994 initiative for rules changes to improve offensive production, initiated the creation of a senior football operations position in the league office, oversaw the administration of the instant replay system, and restructured the officiating department.
Roger Goodell was born in Jamestown, New York, about an hour south of Buffalo, on February 19, 1959, the third of five sons of Charles and Jean Goodell.
The late Charles Goodell represented his western New York district in the United States Congress from 1959-68. In 1968, he was appointed by then-New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller to serve the final two years of Robert Kennedy’s term in the U.S. Senate following Kennedy’s assassination.
The Goodell family moved to Bronxville, New York, in 1971, where Roger graduated from high school. A three-sport participant at Bronxville High School in football, basketball, and baseball, Goodell captained all three teams as a senior and was named the athlete of the year at Bronxville High.
Goodell graduated magna cum laude from Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania in 1981 with a degree in economics and received the school’s Walter Hudson Baker Prize for excellence in economics.
Goodell serves on the boards of Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City and Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville, New York. He is also president of NFL Charities, the league’s charitable foundation.
Roger and his wife Jane live in the New York City area with their twin daughters.