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Roger Goodell

Like any good NFL teammate would, Commissioner Roger Goodell has restructured his multiyear contract in order to help his team. Rumor is, Goodell also restructured his contract so his team can sign some defensive help in the form of a big name linebacker or perhaps a cornerback. Hey, Pacman’s available!!! Wait, what?

Of course, Goodell’s reduction in pay is due to the country’s current economic dire straights, an idea Jim Calhoun wants no part of. Not only did the NFL’s Commissioner cut his salary by 20 percent (2.2 million of his $11 million salary), his office announced the league staff has been reduced by 15 percent as well. Again, these layoffs and salary reductions are being done because of the economy, but it also brings up an interesting scenario: If the country’s most popular sport is having a hard time making ends meet, what does it mean for other pro leagues?

We’ve already heard David Falk’s apocalyptic outlook for the NBA once the current collective bargaining agreement expires — potentially no NBA for two years — but what about a non-salary capped Major League Baseball? The NHL? If the NFL is dealing with money problems, obviously, the other leagues are too.

As attendance rates continue to fall, especially for sports like the NBA and MLB (projected from the linked article), front offices will continue to struggle. T-shirts and related paraphernalia sales are always welcome, but nothing beats putting butts in the seats — except maybe television contracts. The question is, if and when the economic smoke clears, will we even recognize what’s become of the professional leagues many of us have followed since getting slapped by the delivery room doctor?

As for Goodell’s sacrifice, giving up 20 percent of your salary is commendable, but why stop there? Do you really need to make almost $9 million in 2009 to be comfortable? Why not reduce your salary to a cool million or lower? Better yet, why not suspend your salary until the receipts of the upcoming season are tallied?