Green Bay Packers General Manager Ted Thompson has led the franchise to one of the most successful runs in league history. The Packers have made the playoffs for seven consecutive seasons (tied with the Patriots for the longest active streak). To put that in historical perspective, the longest streak in league history is nine by the 1975-1983 Cowboys and 2002-2010 Colts.
Thompson took over an aging roster with major salary cap issues, and quickly turned them into one of the youngest teams in the league. He hit a homerun on his first draft pick with Aaron Rodgers, and navigated a very awkward transition from Favre to Rodgers. While famously being stingy in free agency, Thompson has made a franchise altering move in signing Charles Woodson, and some solid moves in acquiring Ryan Pickett, Letroy Guion, and (hopefully) Jared Cook.
So, where does the fire TT rhetoric come from in Packer nation? I believe it started with fans being upset about the handling of the Favre situation, and has continued with his refusal to spend big in free agency. Not capitalizing on the opportunities to trade for Randy Moss or Marshawn Lynch continued to anger a certain segment of fans. Thompson has continually refused to risk the future by going “all in” on the present. As a result, the Packers have only one Super Bowl victory over the course of time when they have been one of the dominant teams in the league.
So, is the Packers inability to win another Super Bowl a testament to the team lacking enough talent, and thus a strike against Thompson? I would argue it is not. The 2011 team went 15-1 season before fizzling out in the playoffs. The defense struggled mightily down the stretch, but the problem was amplified because emerging Pro Bowl Safety Nick Collins was lost for the season (and eventually his career). The injury bug bit the Packers for the next two seasons, but Thompson continued to provide the depth necessary to get the Packers into the playoffs. 2014 was the season where the Packers seemed set to make another Super Bowl run, before the team had an epic collapse in the NFC Championship Game against the Seahawks. Thompson had again put together a roster set to complete on the highest level, but on field mistakes cost them the chance at another Lombardi trophy.
While a portion of Packer nation clamors for Ted Thompson’s job, the Packers have achieved a historical level of success under his leadership. Making the Hall of Fame may well rely on the Packers winning another Super Bowl, but he has set them up for continued success in the foreseeable future and the Packers are lucky to continue to have one of the best General Managers in the game.Andrew Mertig is a a lifelong Packers fan and draft enthusiast. He has covered the NFL draft for radio and television stations in Green Bay. He is currently a host of the Pack-A-Day podcast and a writer for PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter @andrewmertig