The NFL paid commissioner Roger Goodell $44.2 million in the 2012 calendar year, according to a recent tax filing.
Goodell was paid $35.1 million in salary, bonus and pension compensation. He also received an incentive payment of $5 million and a $4.1 million pension payment from the league's work stoppage in 2011 that was paid in 2012.
"I feel that, as commissioner, he runs the business of the NFL as if he were an owner-operator," Patriots owner Robert Kraft said in a statement. "I consider him to be one of the most outstanding managers in the country."
Marc Ganis, president of SportsCorp, a sports consultancy firm that has worked with roughly two-thirds of the league's teams, says Goodell's salary is not out of whack.
"It's pretty close to what baseball agreed to pay Bud Selig for his final two seasons," Ganis said.
Ganis said Goodell's salary is highly based on his performance and the fact owners believe he is worth north of $1 million per team.
"The NFL owners are paying this," Ganis said. "Not the players and not the fans."
NFL revenues from this past season topped $10 billion for the first time. The league's teams are collectively worth more than $37 billion, according to Forbes magazine.
Goodell's 2012 compensation was first reported by the Sports Business Journal.