Goodell, who earned $34.1 million that season, experienced one of the most challenging years of his tenure as he was scrutinized by his handlings of several cases. Goodell enters his 10th season as the league’s commissioner in 2016.
While Goodell has become somewhat of an unpopular face for several fans, he has done an incredible job of growing the game’s popularity.
Along the way, Goodell has had to overcome PR nightmares galore. Here are 13 times Goodell overcame an NFL crisis:
1. "Pacman" Jones: Goodell suspended Adam "Pacman" Jones for a year in 2007 after his involvement in a Las Vegas strip club melee during NBA All-Star weekend. In 2008, he was given an indefinite suspension after an alcohol-related altercation occured.
2. Vick’s dogfighting conviction: Vick’s admission to the involvement in a dogfighting ring was not taken lightly by Goodell. The commissioner acted swiftly suspending Vick indefinitely before serving 18 months in prison. In 2009, Vick was reinstated and later signed by the Philadelphia Eagles.
3. Ben Roethlisberger: Goodell suspended Roethlisberger without pay for the first six games of the 2010 season, despite the Steelers quarterbacak’s sexual assault allegations never led to criminal charges. Goodell cited the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
4. Spygate: Goodell levied discipline on the New England Patriots and Bill Belichick after it was found that they had attempted to videotape the New York Jets’ defensive signals. The team lost their 2008 NFL Draft pick and was fined $250,000. Belichick was fined $500,000.
Bill Belichick was fined $500K for his involvement in Spygate.
5. Jovan Belcher murder-suicide: While Goodell labeled it as a "human tragedy" when the former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker killed himself in the parking lot of the team’s facility after murdering his girlfriend. Goodell allowed the Chiefs to play the following day at the wishes of their team captains.
6. Aaron Hernandez: Shortly after the Patriots released the former tight end, Goodell labeled Hernandez’s murder charges a "black eye" for the league. Goodell has made player development a priority and makes it mandatory each incoming player attends the league’s NFL rookie symposium.
7. The lockout: Working with owners and the NFLPA on settling the lockout in 2011, Goodell was instrumental in helping both sides come to a consensus on a new CBA.
8. Bountygate: Harsh penalties were handed out to the coaches and players of the New Orleans Saints after Goodell revealed evidence the team had a bounty program in place.
Sean Payton was suspended for one year because of the Bountygate fallout.
9. 2012 referee lockout: The labor dispute involving the referees and the league reached a head with the officiating controversy between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks. "The Fail Mary" would ultimately lead to the ending of the lockout.
10. Ray Rice scandal: The handling of Rice’s domestic abuse case put Goodell in the public’s bullseye. Women’s groups called for Goodell’s resignation after he acknowledged the league "didn’t get it right" regarding his punishment. NFL owners endorsed a new personal conduct policy in 2014 with sensitivity to domestic abuse.
11. Adrian Peterson child abuse: The league reinstated the Minnesota Vikings running back last April after he spent months on suspension while facing child abuse charges in Texas. Peterson, who was indicted on abuse charges for beating his son with wooden switch, would have to agree to terms of the plea deal by attending counseling and adhering to the league’s personal conduct policy.
12. Deflategate: After the fallout of the Patriots’ Deflategate scandal in 2015, Goodell said he’d be open to changing his role in how the league disciplines its players. Goodell said the process has become "extremely time-consuming", but believes it’s important to uphold the integrity of the game.
13. Concussion lawsuit: A federal judge approved a settlement of atleast $900 million, spanning the ensuing 65 years. While the league never made any admission of guilt, this was a major step for the NFL retired player community. A growing list of playersm who suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, has become a major point of interest over the past few years.