With the news that Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson is stepping down to take another unspecified role in the organization, it seems a lot of people are celebrating.
As an adamant supporter of Thompson to this day, this author must concede it is undeniable that he has lost a step the past few years. Of course, established journalists have never done a good job shedding a light on the inner machinations inside 1265 Lombardi Ave. Who exactly was responsible for Khryi Thornton or Jerron McMillian, to name just a couple of several head-scratchers? Was the scouting personnel that gave these and so many other busts ever made accountable?
Ultimately though Ted Thompson signed off on these and other dubious decisions. He also was directly responsible for the premature dismissals of Charles Woodson and Julius Peppers.
Despite these and other shortcomings later in his career, Packers fans owe Thompson a debt of gratitude. On the whole he has still drafted many current and recent Packers greats, including:
- Jordy Nelson
- T.J. Lang
- Mike Daniels
- Josh Sitton
- Clay Mathews
- David Bakhtiari
- Davante Adams
Nick Collins would have been a Hall of Famer, but for that flukey, career-ending injury in Charlotte, itself a huge factor in why the Packers have failed to win another Super Bowl since the 2010 season. Eddie Lacy, too, had the raw potential to be a multi year Pro Bowler; the degree to which his lack of personal discipline or faulty coaching are responsible for his demise will probably never be fully settled.
Above all, though, Ted Thompson drafted Aaron Rodgers, even though it incurred the ire of the Packers other Hall of fame quarterback at the time. Then, when the time had come, Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy had the brass balls to stare into NFL immortality and say, “No.” Not just for looking that smug egomaniac in the eyes and telling him no, but because of the unholy backlash that ensued from 2008 up until the Packers won the Super Bowl.
Why Ted Thompson’s drafting acumen declined the past few years may always be a mystery. Maybe questionable influences from other high-ranking officers played a substantial role. Maybe Dom Capers and his staff did a poor job of coaching and development. Maybe he lost a step, as so many greats do.
Ultimately though, without Ted Thompson, it is highly doubtful the Packers would have Aaron Rodgers or another Super Bowl championship. A certain predecessor would have remained then retired and the Packers would truly be in the wilderness.
It has certainly been a difficult year. Indeed, it has been a difficult seven years, with one disaster after impending disaster obstructing a destiny of multiple Super Bowl championships.
In the final analysis, the Packers have one more Super Bowl title than they would have had without Thompson, even if he probably ought to have stepped down a couple of years earlier. Many of us may be looking at the future with dark-colored glasses. With Rodgers, as well as Adams, a first-rate offensive line when healthy, a surprisingly resurgent running game with Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones, the Packers are in better shape than many will acknowledge. This author remains hopeful that Jordy Nelson can bounce back after having Brett Hundley as a quarterback. And by cleaning house of the defensive coaching staff, many unpolished players may finally get the coaching and development they need to achieve their true potential. In this way, our white-haired friend and good steward will also have a hand in the resurgence we are all hoping for. For all these and many other reasons, I salute you, TED THOMPSON! Green Bay Packer fans everywhere owe you a debt of gratitude.