WASHINGTON (Reuters) - National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell earned $35 million in salary, bonus and pension compensation in the 2013 calendar year, the league said on Friday.
That was about 20 percent less than the $44.2 million he earned the prior year but that sum included a one-time deferred payment of $9 million, the NFL said.
In 2013, Goodell, whose base salary was $3.5 million, was rewarded handsomely in bonuses for the league's new big-money television and sponsorship deals.
Goodell, 55, came under fire last season for his handling of domestic abuse and sexual assault cases in the NFL, in which he admitted his sanctions were too lenient.
However, television ratings were solid and the Super Bowl this month delivered the largest audience in U.S. history with an average of 114.4 million viewers.
"The commissioner’s total compensation in 2013 is a fair reflection of his leadership and contributions during the year," Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, chair of the Compensation Committee, said in a statement.
The release of Goodell's salary was part of the NFL's annual tax filing with the Internal Revenue Service.
"It has been a tough year," Goodell told a news conference two days before the Super Bowl. "It's been a tough year on me personally.
"It's been a year of what I would say humility and learning. We, obviously, as an organization, have gone through adversity, but more importantly it's been adversity for me."
Goodell succeeded Paul Tagliabue as NFL commissioner in 2006.
(Reporting by Steve Ginsburg; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)