In the space of less than a week, team president and CEO Mark Murphy took knowledgeable Green Bay Packers fans from elation to deflation.
First, he assured us that the new GM would remain in charge of the head coach. But just days later Murphy announced that the head coach would report directly to him. More about Murphy being a bald-faced liar in a bit.
We probably can agree that among the qualities a CEO should possess are: reasonable intelligence, good analytical ability, good judgment/decision-making skills, ability to communicate well, and high credibility. So how does Murphy rate?
On raw intelligence, I’ll give Murphy a satisfactory grade – so why does he do so many stupid things?
On analytical ability, he gets an “incomplete” grade, because for 11 years now he has never shown us any marked interest in the organization’s football operations. We really don’t know what he thinks are the team’s ever-increasing problems, how they came to be, or how they might be solved.
I might have given Murphy credit for replacing Ted Thompson with Brian Gutekunst if he had acted a few years ago, but c’mon, that’s been a no-brainer for a long time.
As for coach Mike McCarthy and the new GM both directly reporting to the CEO, in the best of circumstances, that’s a dubious way to run a business. In the Packers case, where they have a marginal head coach who is more concerned with his own job security than he is in doing what’s best for the team, it’s a disaster waiting to happen.
Ability to Communicate
Reader comments indicate that many fans agonized through Murphy’s entire 24-minute announcement and Q&A session on Tuesday, January 2. I was so excited by the prospect of a new GM that I gave Murphy a pass at the time. No longer: his comments were poorly delivered, unbusiness-like, evasive, duplicitous – in short, godawful.
If I had a grandson in middle school who gave a speech like that, I’d be out looking for a tutor. By my estimate, in the Q&A portion alone he said “you know” over 100 times, even more than all the “ahs” and “uhms.” As often as not, he failed to even complete his sentences.
There was no eloquence, and few meaningful insights or explanations in Murphy’s presser. Nor was there the appropriate gravity for the moment. Here’s how he began: “Good afternoon. Ah, in case none of you heard – heh-heh-heh – there’s been a change involving Ted Thompson – giggle-giggle – No, I-I thought I’d make a few comments to start off…”
It went downhill from there.
Do any of you remember “Professor” Irwin Corey – the “World’s Foremost Authority?” He was a wild-haired comedian who dressed in a ratty tuxedo and stringy tie. For the latter half of the last century, his television shtick was to step up to the podium and spend an inordinate amount of time arranging his notes, clearing his throat, adjusting his clothes, and otherwise readying himself to speak. Then he would finally begin the speech with: “However” or “Nonetheless.”
Corey was funny. Murphy was not, though he tried to be several times. Corey died last year at 102. Murphy is still working on his comedy act.
The worst of all Murphy’s sins during the past week was that he absolutely destroyed any shred of credibility he might still have possessed.
As mentioned before, when directly asked whether the new GM would remain in charge of the head coach, he assured us he would. Asked again whether the new GM would have the authority to hire and fire McCarthy, Murphy responded, “Absolutely.”
Then, six days later – Murphy issued a news release saying:
“While we have enjoyed a lot of success, we need to improve. With that in mind, the head coach, general manager and executive vice president/director of football operations will report to me moving forward.”
That’s right, Tuesday’s words about who’s in charge of McCarthy are now inoperative.
This was hardly the only whopper Murphy delivered to us. In that same Tuesday speech, for example, he first declared that he alone made the decision to replace Thompson. But when a reporter followed up on whether Thompson was involved, Murphy replied, “Um, I would say… it was a decision that we made jointly.”
Shortly after this, Murphy disclosed, for the first time, that sometime during the 2017 season, McCarthy was given an extension on his contract. When he’s not lying, he’s keeping secrets.
I will NEVER EVER AGAIN believe or trust anything the Packers’ CEO says – and you shouldn’t either. Once someone has lost all credibility, as Mark Murphy has, it can’t be won back.