NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's importance to American sports cannot be understated. The National Football League is America's number one sport, so much so that offseason events like the NFL Combine and sports television shows discussing the NFL free agency period lead sports headlines in front of the regular seasons of the NBA and NHL while also putting college basketball's March Madness prelude on the backburner. Goodell's impact on sports is so vast that he was recently ranked as the most powerful man in sports in Sports Illustrated ahead of all other major sports commissioners, including the NBA's David Stern and ranking Goodell even ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama. Being in a position of power also yields a hefty salary as well as Roger Goodell reportedly earned nearly $30 million in compensation in 2012, according to the NFL's most recent tax return.
Roger Goodell's biggest task as NFL commissioner has been dealing with the ongoing concern over the safety of American football. Goodell's own concern about the on-field safety of NFL players may have been revealed in a report that he was 'terrified' that a player would die on the field due to the high-impact collisions that take place during NFL games. Whether he is worried or not about that horrible scenario, Goodell appears to be proactive about player safety through numerous actions over the last few years including sending out a memo via email this week addressing NFL fans about recent safety measures that the NFL is taking to improve NFL player safety. The note includes an announcement of a collaboration with GE and Under Armour to "accelerate scientific progress around brain injuries".
It is important for Roger Goodell to address NFL fans through a variety of forums about player safety to show he is serious about the importance of the issue. With concussions and long-term brain injuries a continued quandary for the National Football League, he must intelligently evaluate the best way to make the NFL safer while maintaining the incredible interest that has made the NFL the number one sport in America. He must make wise decisions as the NFL player safety issue will arguably be the most important issue in sports this century.