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Is the Packers’ Management Hidebound?

The Big Four on the management team of the corporation that is the Green Bay Packers are president and CEO Mark Murphy, general manager Ted Thompson, coach Mike McCarthy, and defensive coordinator Dom Capers. Because McCarthy takes direct charge of the offense, Capers has been given broad authority over all defensive matters, thus raising him a full level above the offensive coordinator and all the other coaches and staff.

The foursome, comprising a straight-line chain of command, has been intact for eight full years now, since Capers joined the other three in 2009. At this point, I view them not so much as four different and diverse individuals, but more as one monolithic management unit.

Mark Murphy, 61, has been the Green Bay Packers’ president and CEO since December 2007. Murphy formerly played safety with the Redskins from 1977 to 1984 (two Pro Bowls, 27 interceptions). While still a player, he got an MBA in 1983 from American University, and later followed up with a law degree from Georgetown in 1988. Murphy was the head exec for Green Bay’s Super Bowl XLV win, and he played on the Redskins team that won Super Bowl XVII.

As an aside, Murphy, while a player rep, served on the players’ bargaining committee during the strike-shortened 1982 season. When the Redskins released him after the 1983 season, and no one else signed him, some felt he was ostracized due to his union activities.

Ted Thompson, 64, was selected as general manager by former Packers’ president Bob Harlan in January 2005, so he’s starting his 12th year as GM. Thompson was a linebacker with the Houston Oilers from 1975-84. He first joined the Packers organization in 1992, and has served them as an assistant director and director of pro personnel, and as director of player personnel. From 2000-04 he was the VP of football operations with the Seahawks.

Mike McCarthy, 53, was named the team’s head coach by Thompson in January 2006, so this will be his 11th year at the helm. He was once a tight end at Baker University in Kansas. McCarthy went straight to work after college as a graduate assistant for the Fort Hays State football team. He also had a brief earlier stint with Green Bay, as quarterbacks coach in 1999. After that, he moved on to be the Saints’ offensive coordinator, and then was the OC for the 49ers before assuming his current job. He’s been associated with three college football teams and four NFL teams, and he’s been an NFL coach since 1993. He guided the Packers to a Super Bowl XLV win.

Dom Capers, 66, joined the Packers as defensive coordinator in January 2009. In his 32 years in the league, he has been on one Super Bowl winning team: the Packers of 2010. Capers attended Mount Union College in Ohio, where he played linebacker and defensive tackle.

In sum, Murphy is the intellectual of the group. Murphy and Thompson each enjoyed NFL playing careers of eight or more years, and all four men were college players. The four have been employed at college or pro football operations for a cumulative total of 125 years – 25 for Murphy and Thompson, 30 for McCarthy, and 45 for Capers. I don’t see where any of the four have taken any time away from football in those 125 years.

Other than Murphy, each has come up through the ranks, working at a great many coaching, assistant, or coordinator jobs. Each can be said to have achieved a lot of success in their football careers.

Almost without exception, I don’t believe any of the Packers’ Big Four have ever worked as adults at any job unrelated to football. Murphy did work at a couple of universities, as athletic director, just prior to joining the Packers. McCarthy might have poured a few beers at his dad’s tavern.

Does the Definition Fit?

Hidebound, adjective – unwilling or unable to change because of tradition or convention; narrow or rigid in opinion; oriented toward or confined to the past; conservative; orthodox, conventional; inflexible.

Our foursome has football experience in abundance, football is all they know – which can be a curse as well as a blessing. What follows are a few questions to ponder.

  • Given their ages (all but one in their 60s), does a generation gap exist, whereby there is difficulty in understanding, and being understood, by players one or two generations removed?
  • Are they too secure in their jobs? While storms of criticism have rained down with each successive year of playoff losses, none of the four appear to have ever been in danger of losing a job.
  • Has the group succumbed to the Peter Principal, whereby they have risen to their level of incompetence, such that making the playoffs is the farthest this group can now take the Packers?
  • Have they become hopelessly stuck in their ways, and lost all receptiveness to fresh ideas and creativity (Ex., reluctance to sign free agent veterans from other teams; totally predictable play-calling)?
  • Are they just too darn stubborn and defensive, to listen? It was made clear this year by the QB that the team doesn’t pay any attention to non-locker-room “outsiders.”
  • The group has a well-deserved reputation of releasing players who are past their prime, but still capable of a reduced levels of performance. Should this principle also apply to management?
  • Has burnout set in? In the last several years, who among the four has displayed any spark of unrestrained emotion or enthusiasm, a rush of adrenaline, or an almost boyish love for the game that infused the organization during the early Favre years?
  • Has football become all business and no fun within the executive and coaches’ offices of the Packers?
  • From the CEO on down, are the bosses holding their charges accountable for their job performance? Are the one or two assistant coaches fired after each season just sacrificial lambs used to deflect from higher management’s inadequacies?
  • Have the four gotten way too cozy in their relationships with each other? Are there no meaningful checks and balances in the current setup?

The Ultimate Question

If you agree that this foursome has become the very definition of hidebound, do you honestly believe the Packers will ever again contend for the Super Bowl unless several of the four are replaced by younger, fresher, and more enthusiastic, progressive, and creative people?

Or, until this happens, are Packers fans consigned to living out Groundhog Day year after year?

Rob Born

Smart drafters don’t select the best available players, they fill a team’s positions of greatest need.



  1. PF4L January 31, 2017

    Fat Mikes exit meeting with Dom….

    McCarthy: “Have a seat Dom, let’s get into this”….”.Looks like another year of bad luck my man.”
    Capers: “I couldn’t agree more Mike.”
    McCarthy: “Ok, see ya in May.” (extends hand)
    Capers: ” Sounds good Mike” (shakes hand)

    MM exit meeting with TT….

    TT: “Have a seat Mike”….Hell of a coaching job Mike, without you running the table, you and i are in deep shit”…”Expect a bonus in your last check…btw Mike, where did you get the balls to say that we’d run the table?”
    MM: “Well Ted, i’m a highly successful NFL Head coach, as you know. Being such a great leader, i just needed to make a statement for this team, i wanted to motivate them.”
    TT: “Listen Mike, i’ll do what i can in the draft, but what do you see for us next season?”
    MM: Well, like you’ve told me 100 times Ted, as long as we have Rodgers, we have nothing to worry bout.”
    TT: (Laughing) “Isn’t that the truth…See ya in March Mike,” (extends hand)
    MM: (laughing) “Ok, take care Ted.” (shakes hand)

  2. Dennis January 31, 2017

    Remove AR from this picture and you have a subpar group of personnel who would have been gone after the first three years under private ownership. This is why I hope AR takes his talent to another team when his contract expires, the only chance of getting some more SB,s under his name. He could be the missing link that the Texans need. With that defense they would be in the SB for the next three to four years.

  3. Dennis January 31, 2017

    By the way I am more of an Arron Rodgers fan than the Packers.

    1. PF4L January 31, 2017

      Listen Dennis. Then you are not a Packer fan. It’s that simple. Reading that, as a Packer fan, that makes my skin crawl. If you hope he gets traded to Houston, You should then stop pretending to be a Packer fan. If i see some girl pounding you in the face at a Packer game, i’m not helping you.

      I’m one of the biggest Rodgers fans around. The mans talent makes him All-World to me.
      But i was a Packer fan way before Rodgers got here, and i’ll be one long after he’s gone.

      We all remember people proclaiming to be Packer fans with Favre at QB, but when exposed, they were nothing more than Favre fans. Those were the kind of fans, that “Packer fans” wanted to hit upside the head.

    2. Kato January 31, 2017

      You come off as a guy that wore Vikings Favre jerseys

  4. PF4L January 31, 2017

    I’m not sure how Mark Murphy got catapulted into the highest position of the Green Bay Packers. Did someone owe him a favor? Did someone lose a bet?

    Mark Murphy didn’t have any NFL experience, he didn’t have any NFL clerical experience, he didn’t have NFL management experience, and he didn’t have any NFL executive experience. But for some reason, he’s given one of the top jobs of any of the 32 teams.

    Based on his attitudes, statements, and his unwillingness to even acknowledge his own job responsibilities. Makes him inept in my eyes.

    You hear from this man only on a few occasions…maybe on the Titletown District, attempting to cut a ribbon, or holding a press conference for the reason of announcing a photo for sale in time for Xmas of Starr, Favre, and Rodgers.
    Yes, he called a press conference for that.

    Speaking of the ribbon cutting, that was also a FAIL. Apparently this highly educated intellectual genius, doesn’t know how a scissors operates, how it’s able to cut things, as evidenced by this video.

    Notice where he puts his right hand in this fail. He’s clueless to this simple task. But at the end, all he can do is laugh at himself, there is no second take.

    Save yourself the torture and skip to 9:20 into the video


  5. Kato January 31, 2017

    Good write-up up. Nice research into the careers of the men. I have made this clear in other posts, but I think TT is the biggest problem, followed by Murphy’s failure to challenge Ted to do a better job. I am not a big fan of Capers, but he hasn’t exactly gotten the most help personnelwise

    1. Mike Kegel January 31, 2017

      I agree!
      A coach can only play the guys the GM signs; the abysmal performance in the secondary is directly TT’s fault!
      His failure to sign or trade for better talent is a reflection of his deficiencies in talent evaluation and acquisition.
      He might be a good 4-6th round drafter, but his record on the top three (except for AR & CM) is poor.
      The team needs an infusion of quality DBs… LaDarius Gunter did not pan out, and it was painfully obvious.

  6. Kato January 31, 2017

    The packers lucked into McCarthy. One of the top offensive coordinators in the league.

    1. Cheese January 31, 2017

      Key words- offensive coordinator.

      1. PF4L January 31, 2017

        And one of the best is quite the fucking reach….

        As an offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy’s record is a sparkling 46-50.

        That is a .479 winning percentage. Apparently that’s what Kato describe’s as one of the top offensive coordinators in the league. In his world.

        Anyone got an aspirin?….Holy fuck.

        1. PF4L January 31, 2017

          Pssst…Kato…Stop writing. Do us all a favor and just read from now on.

        2. Kato January 31, 2017

          Omg, holy fuck, I didn’t realize an OC had control over personnel that wasn’t related to the offense, had any control over the defense, or didn’t spend two of those seasons with QBs in their first season starting, one a rookie who was not ready for the NFL and had not taken a snap from under center since high school! Good job brah!

          1. PF4L January 31, 2017

            So…… he had a losing record as a offensive coordinator, but in your mind he was a top offensive coordinator. Despite ANY evidence.

            Do this littleman, go buy yourself a viking jersey. Get together with killer and Dennis at Buster and Dave’s. You and killer should have a big long football conversation. Then have Dennis come back in here, and tell us…between the 2 of you, who is more delusional.

            Thank you for understanding.

          2. Kato January 31, 2017

            How was your long day of deepthroating Aaron? Long day judging by the attitude I take it? “SEAN Payton is a mediocre at best offensive coach because his football team has been a .500 team at best the past 5 years.”- PF4L. Gee, thanks for the insight. You are so smart, I want to grow up to be just like you!

          3. PF4L January 31, 2017

            Deep throating Aaron….is that what you wrote?

            Hmmmm….We’ll settle for you just growing up.

    2. Kato January 31, 2017

      “What has he done without Aaron Rodgers at QB?”

      Well, he was offensive coordinator of the saints 2000-2004. His offenses ranked in the top half of the league every year but one.

      Aaron Brooks had seasons of (yards, TDs, INT) 3832, 26, 22; 3572, 27, 15; 3546, 24, 8; 3810, 21, 16 under McCarthy. After McCarthy departed, Brooks last two years were 2882, 13, 17; and 1105, 3, 8. Seems pretty solid.

      1. PF4L January 31, 2017

        Here’s what Kato “doesn’t tell you”…….I’ll start in order of “stupid” and go from there.

        Brooks played 5 seasons under McCarthy, not 4 like Kato says. Kato doesn’t let facts get in his way though. so accuracy isn’t that important.

        Under McCarthy, Brooks had an TD/Int ratio of 1.6/1. 107 tds and 67 picks…….WOW!!!!!!

        Under McCarthy, Brooks had a passer rating of 82.1……..WOW!!!!!!!!!!

        Brooks last 2 years, he had 2 new offense coordinators, he got benched, and his last season, missed 7 games with a dislocated shoulder.

        Although a nice 10-6 season in 2000.
        During the 4 seasons of 01-04. the Saints had a stellar winning percentage of .500….Great Job O C Mike!!

        Aaron Brooks disappeared from the NFL the same time his cousin Micheal Vick, started serving his prison time.

        Lets not let facts get in the way.

        1. Empacador January 31, 2017

          Under McCarthy in ’99, Favre threw for 4091 yds, 22 tds and 23 ints with a passer rating of 74.7 and the same winning percentage of .500. I won’t bring up the stellar job McCarthy did with Alex Smith in San Francisco because you could dismiss that as Smith being a rookie, but it was ugly.

          In 2006 it was more .500 winning percentage, with some 3800 yards plus and all even @ 18-18 td to ints. ’07 was finally a banner year, only to see the choke job in the NFC championship game, which coincidentally is not only the last time the Packers have had a championship game at Lambeau Field during McCarthy’s tenure, but the only time. Maybe Favre’s decision during that game to force a throw to the only covered receiver resulting in his last Packer pass resulting in an int made Thompson/McCarthy realize they better put Rodgers in if they wanted to have the longevity they both currently enjoy with the Packers.

          Based on his sterling body of work prior to Aaron Rodgers, McCarthy made the playoffs in 2000, going 1-1, with the same 1-1 again in 2007 with Favre at the helm. The current 8 year run with Rodgers, is that McCarthy or Rodgers? Missing the playoffs only 1 time under Rodgers ought to be fairly enlightening to some folks, but, the Packers sure are lucky to have McCarthy aren’t they?

          1. PF4L January 31, 2017

            Caution: Read with a high degree of sarcasm.

            I don’t know why there isn’t a McCarthy day in Green Bay. What coach, could have his winning percentage with having only 2 HOF QB his entire tenure. That isn’t easy folks.

            You have all these coaches in the NFL, collecting their checks on cruise control with no name qb’s. Pffftttt….That’s easy, anyone can do that.

            Try being a highly successful NFL Head coach with only 2 HOF QB’s.
            That must be like serving hard labor, in hell.

        2. Kato January 31, 2017

          Hahahahaha YES!!!!! I just knew you couldn’t resist. You are just too much fun. Any time I take just an ounce of credit from your boyfriend and give it to McCarthy you act like a jealous girlfriend.

          First off, good job pointing out I left out the five games Brooks played in 2000. Or the fact they beat the defending super bowl champs in the playoffs. So fucking what.

          “Under MM, Brooks had a QB eating of 82.1……WOW!”- wow, you have a complete lack of understanding of the passing game in the early 2000’s. While an 82.1 rating would be pretty mediocre, actually well below average now, it was above average then. He did that with a QB that accomplished nothing anywhere else. Also, in that same time frame, Tom Brady had an 87.5 rating, not a lot better than Brooks. In that time period of 2001-2004, Brooks threw for 98 TDs against 61 picks while Brady went 97 TDs and 52 picks. The latter is considered the GOAT, you insolent cunt.

          Thank you for understanding.

          1. PF4L January 31, 2017

            AWE :(…lol..Why is Brady playing today and Brooks couldn’t find a job as a towel boy after 2006? You want to compare him to Brady? lol

            Oh all right….stop crying, grab a tissue, i’ll throw you a bone.
            Here are the career stats after McCarthy molded this man into one of the finest QB’s in the NFL.

            TD–INT: 123–92
            Yards: 20,261
            QB Rating: 78.5

            How this guy didn’t get into Canton is beyond me…..Petition anyone?

            Just curious….I never met a insolent cunt…..Is that like a cunt that queefs a lot? Or when you’re in the middle of banging it, it goes dry, or ?

          2. PF4L January 31, 2017

            Btw…Brooks played 8 games in 2000.

            But then again, when has accuracy and truth and integrity ever entered into your post.


    3. Kato January 31, 2017

      Joe Horn (5th round pick) in McCarthys offense (receptions, yards, TDs): 94, 1340, 8; 83, 1265, 10; 88, 1312, 7; 78, 973, 10; 94, 1399, 11.

      In the other 7 years without McCarthy his career highs in the respective stars are 49, 679, 6. I would say that is getting the most out of your player. Same with Brooks, who was a 4th round pick.

      Oh, and Deuce McAllister
      91/1 (minimal playing time rookie year)
      1641/8 (over 2000 total yards)

      While it’s worth noting he was injured the year after MM left and the subsequent year he put up 1,057 yards and 10 TDs, he didn’t put up the type of numbers he did under MM. All three of these guys were out of the league by 2009. Other things worth noting are Joe Horn was coached by McCarthy in KC and was familiar with him, which facilitated him coming to NO in the first place, where he made 4 pro bowls. McAllister made two pro bowls in a time when the NFC was loaded with running backs like Shaun Alexander and Ahman Green. Also worth noting, as PF4L so kindly pointed out, Brooks did indeed start 5 games in the regular season for McCarthy in 2000 (first starts of his career). What he didn’t point out, is his QB (Brooks) was making his first playoff start and knocked off the defending super bowl champs, becoming the first rookie QB to do so. He also did not point out that Brooks replaced Jeff Blake who was having his best year under McCarthy since 1995.

      1. Kato January 31, 2017

        And no rebuttal from PF4L. I am sure he is just cleaning up from post dinner “activities” with Aaron. Tell me, does Aaron let you wear his super bowl ring time to time? Do you have a safeword for when things get too rough with him? If you feel in anyway threatened by him, please, let us know, we can help you.

        1. PF4L January 31, 2017

          Yes we do have a safeword, it’s the same one your Mother and your Grandfather use.

          1. Kato February 1, 2017

            Good morning! Good start with an incest joke. Now before you give Aaron his morning blowie, let’s go over a few things. First, your complete lack of reading comprehension is astounding. In no way was I comparing the careers of Tom Brady and Aaron Brooks. I was merely comparing their numbers over the few years they were both in the league. There was even one year where Brooks had the better QB rating. But the point is this: Brooks was putting up similar numbers to Brady despite like how you said it “he was looking for a towell job in 2008.” Because MM’s coaching and system made him look like a better QB than he actually was. Same goes for McAllister and particularly Horn. None of them enjoyed the same production without MM, except for McAllister for one year. I don’t think Aaron Rodgers is in the same mold as Brooks, but I think MM’s system plays some role in the success he has had. Bill Belichek called MM one of the best coaches he has gone against. I don’t think he says complimentary statements too often.

          2. Kato February 1, 2017

            And the fact that your retorts are “he actually played in eight games, along with five starts in 2000” , and that has absolutely no effect on the argument I am making clearly shows you have nothing of substance to come back with. You have no argument disproving that the saints offense and individual players had a lot of success in MMs offense. Guys that didn’t have success without him. It’s ok, you can just irrationally hate him like the rest. Belichek went ten years without winning a super bowl. Marv Levy went to your straight super bowls and lost them all. I guarantee that the packers could go to your straight super bowls and lose them all and you would blame MM. Or anyone else not named Aaron Rodgers

          3. PF4L February 1, 2017

            And, not unlike killer…..Little Kato goes on to say….blah blah blah blah……

          4. Kato February 1, 2017

            Actually, all you are saying is blah blahblah. You said nothing that disproves what I said, or any kind of counterpoint. LOL. Ok “little man”

          5. PF4L February 1, 2017

            Kato… repeatedly copying words i post, doesn’t make you cool, or humorous. It tells everyone you have no imaginative to come up with your own words.

            And saying i didn’t disprove anything you said, doesn’t make it true. All it means is that you are too stupid to realize when to say i’ve had enough.

  7. Empacador January 31, 2017

    Ground Hog day lives and breathes as I write this. Good article Rob!

  8. Gort January 31, 2017

    Hey Rob, love the “Groundhog Day” reference.

  9. Gort January 31, 2017

    Hey Rob, love the “Groundhog Day” reference. :)

  10. Zwoeger January 31, 2017

    Like the Killer novels and responses I quickly came to skipping the PF4L – Kato “dialogs”.

  11. MMTTDCSUCK February 1, 2017

    This thread is reeking of piss . . .

    1. Kato February 1, 2017

      Yeah. Pissing in PF4L’s face is fun

      1. PF4L February 1, 2017


        Let me counterpoint that great intellectual statement made by Kato.

        Pissing in Kato’s face is fun.

        OHHHHHHHHHH…feel the BURN!!!!!!!

        Talking to Kato is like talking to an 8 year old with behavior problems.

        Seriously dude, just grow the fuck up Kato, and stop stalking my post with your adolescent bullshit.

        1. Kato February 1, 2017

          You are the one that responded to me broski

          1. PF4L February 1, 2017


            Let me counterpoint that great intellectual statement made by Kato.

            Pissing in Kato’s face is fun.

            OHHHHHHHHHH…feel the BURN!!!!!!!

            Talking to Kato is like talking to an 8 year old with behavior problems.

            Seriously dude, just grow the fuck up Kato, and stop stalking my post with your adolescent bullshit.