Green Bay Packers CEO and president Mark Murphy is to be congratulated for his decision to find a new general manager. But this was far from his finest hour.
It was the biggest decision Murphy has made since becoming the team’s president 10 years ago – Thompson and Mike McCarthy were both already on the job when Murphy took over. His biggest act of leadership prior to Monday was arguably building a snow slide and an ice-skating rink next to the stadium. The man needs a refresher course in leadership.
First off, this was a decision that should have been made two years ago. Though I believe much of Ted Thompson’s decision-making authority had been secretly handed off to others during those two years, why was this whole charade – naming TT “senior advisor for football operations” – necessary?
Why does Murphy have an aversion to the truth? He could have simply said that the Packers are grateful for Thompson’s 13 years of service, but now it’s time to look for a fresh face and new ideas. That would have been a dignified, sensible and honest way to part company. Instead, he allowed Thompson to stay on past his expiration date and become a subject of mockery by the media and of pity to Packers fans.
I have no ill feelings toward Ted Thompson, who unabashedly loves his team – at least from what I know. If he is still allowing the Packers to pay him millions of dollars, however, for the new title he’s been given, then my good will is greatly diminished. Charity should be accorded to the needy.
Murphy’s Penchant for Secrecy
This brings me to another of Mark Murphy’s character flaws. Why does the man insist on operating the enterprise in such a clandestine manner? Though all financial details of the players must be revealed, Murphy refuses to disclose even the basics about the contracts of his large front office staff. For instance, we aren’t told how much McCarthy or Thompson make or even how long their contracts last. This is not the norm for the rest of the NFL.
It was only associated with the Thompson announcement that Murphy belatedly revealed on Tuesday that sometime during the 2017 season Thompson extended McCarthy’s contract through 2019. Why was this not made public when it happened?
The only reason I can think of is that Murphy didn’t want Thompson to take the heat for a decision that would have been unpopular among a great many fans. McCarthy has now been twice exposed as being unable to compile a winning record without Aaron Rodgers on the field – he went 2-5-1 without Rodgers in 2013 and 3-7 in 2017. That a win percentage of .278.
The Packers’ front office likes to play tough with its players. Just ask Josh Sitton, Casey Hayward, Eddie Lacy, Jared Cook, T.J. Lang, Chris Banjo, J.C. Tretter or Micah Hyde – most of whom the team didn’t even negotiate with before dropping them. But they privately pamper, and most likely overpay, their coaches and administrators.
If the Packers were truly a merit-based operation, 2018 would be a last-ditch prove-it year for this head coach. We just found out, however, that instead of taking McCarthy to task, Thompson rewarded Big Mike for the team’s lousy performance in 2017. Does anyone doubt that along with that contract extension, Mammoth Mike also got a big raise?
There were media reports that some of those on the team’s seven-member executive committee or on the 45-member board of directors had expressed their concerns about Thompson’s job performance or health. Murphy stated that “there’s absolutely no truth” to that. If so, then the Packers ought to start the process of replacing those 52 passive or clueless nitwits.