NFL commissioner Roger Goodell earned $44.2 million in compensation during a 12-month span that ended March 31, 2013, according to Sports Business Daily.

However, that amount includes $9.1 million in deferred pension and bonuses earned the previous year.

Goodell's reported compensation a year ago was nearly $30 million. He had not made more than $11.5 million in a season before the 2011 lockout.

"Goodell's compensation reflects our pay-for-performance philosophy and is appropriate given the fact that the NFL under his consistently strong leadership continues to grow," owners Arthur Blank (Atlanta Falcons), Robert Kraft (New England Patriots) and Jerry Richardson (Carolina Panthers) wrote in a letter to the NFL's other owners Friday.

The amount likely makes Goodell the highest-paid executive in sports. Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig made $22 million in 2012, according to ESPN. However, other sources indicated the figure may have actually exceeded $30 million. In recent years, MLB changed its tax status to for-profit, so it is not required to publicize its earnings.