If you guys don’t mind, I’m going to climb up here and look down upon you from my high horse. From this high horse, I’m going to plead with you, beg you, emplore you to stop complaining about Ted Thompson until after the draft. Does he make mistakes? Of course he does. Not addressing the safety or ILB position before last season was a clear error. I’m certainly not always right either. I’m right far less often than Thompson is. I had high hopes for ILB prospect Terrell Manning and S prospect Jerron McMillian. He’s certainly not perfect.
With that said, the facts are the facts. What the facts say is that the Green Bay Packers are among the most successful teams in the league during Ted Thompson’s career, despite consistently dealing with more injuries than other franchises. The Packers are the only team in the NFC to have qualified for the playoffs in each of the last 5 seasons. The mighty New England Patriots can match that record in the AFC, not exceed it.
The Patriots play in a very weak division with QB play that has ranged from Thaddeus Lewis to Mark Sanchez, and from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Geno Smith. Only the decidedly average Ryan Tannehill gives anyone hope in that division, and that isn’t saying much. The Packers on the other hand, over the last 5 years have had to deal with the league’s premier running back, Adrian Peterson, it’s premier wide receiver, Calvin Johnson and up until last season Brian Urlacher and the Bears defense. The NFC North is a superior division to the AFC East and the Packers have ruled it.
Can this credit be steered towards Aaron Rodgers? Sure. But Ted Thompson drafted Aaron Rodgers and Ted Thompson provided Aaron Rodgers with weapons and continues to do so. Against the Packers’ rivals, the teams whose fans you have to deal with on a daily basis, Rodgers has been spectacular. 10-3 against the Bears, 9-4 against the Vikings, 9-1 against the Lions (Rodgers sat out the Matt Flynn 6 TD game and the Thanksgiving game this past season). If you think it’s frustrating being a Packers fan, imagine what it has to be like to be a Lions fan and watch the GMs and coaches go through there and waste the Jerry-Rice-level talent that is Calvin Johnson. Imagine being a Vikings fan and being just certain that Adrian Peterson is the greatest athlete in the history of all athletic contests ever in all times and watching their organization, 7 seasons into his career (and 2 seasons from his forthcoming drop-off in productivity) having only one playoff win that Brett Favre (a Packer) and his 4 TD passes against Dallas got for him. Imagine being a fan of Chicago and being titillated by big acquisitions like Jay Cutler, Julius Peppers, Brandon Marshall, and Martellus Bennett and being told that your team has found the “missing piece” only to lose to Rodgers and the Packers again and again and again!
We as a fan base are spoiled. We believe that we have the best player in football and that he plays the most important position and therefore we should win titles. That just flat out isn’t always the case. The last three truly great QBs: Brady, Manning and Favre, for all their greatness and all of their 49 combined seasons of NFL service only have 5 Super Bowl titles between them. It is hard. There are 31 other NFL teams chasing the exact same prize that the Packers are every season. I understand that it is scary that Sam Shields might sign with another team, and that Jermichael Finley might sign with another team and that there is a universe in which JC Tretter is this team’s opening day center, but everything is going to be OK.
I’m not asking to embrace mediocrity, I’m not, but what I am asking everyone to do is to appreciate the three straight division titles and remember that those three straight division titles were immediately preceded by a Super Bowl Championship. Realize that not only have the Packers been arguably the NFL’s most successful franchise since Aaron Rodgers became the starter they are also going to be $35 million under the 2014 salary cap and because of the front-loading done on Rodgers’ contract (paying him $40 million last season) they figure to be in prime position for the cap increases in 2015 and 2016 as well. Remember that of the other three teams in our division there is as many Super Bowl Championships period, as the Packers have won in the last 5 seasons and thank God you were born a Packer fan.