The time has come to reunite the Green Bay Packer fan base.
Green Bay Packer President/CEO Mark Murphy recently has stated that the current position of star quarterback Aaron Rodgers has divided the fan base. I disagree with his assessment.
Prior to it becoming known there was a rift between Rodgers and Packer management, there was not a single die-hard fan who believed the current league MVP was a problem that the team needed to move on from.
To everyone who had any football sense or Packer loyalty, there was only one camp…. Aaron is our quarterback, and he is one of, if not the best of all time. 2021 NFL jersey sales listing the Packer number 12 as this years number 3 best seller bears that out.
As the story evolved, and as unknowing media types throughout the nation all spewed their uninformed opinions, fans began reacting to what they seemingly now knew based on the incredible mass of disinformation.
I say uninformed, because very few, other than those closest to the situation, know the true reality of what is happening here. It is correct that in reading the tsunami of social media posts on the subject, there is a divide amongst fans. A divide based on hearsay, not facts.
What we know.
Rodgers has repeatedly stated on several occasions that regarding playing for Green Bay, he loves the city, his teammates, the culture, the coaching staff, and the fans. He has also indicated his desire to remain a Packer his entire career.
Like myself, anyone who religiously followed the Pat McAfee show featuring “Aaron Rodgers Tuesdays” last season would be aware of Rodgers sentiments on the subject.
We also know for certain some of the issues Aaron that has that led to this current stalemate…and it is not about being paid more money.
Aaron Rodgers may possibly be the smartest guy in the building. He understands the NFL is a business, and as such has a desire to have some control in his own destiny.
He recognizes that as an aging player, time is imminent, and the puzzle pieces must be aligned to win now, and there within lies the biggest problem.
Management has repeatedly made decisions he feels have hindered the team from reaching their goal of additional Super Bowl championships.
His expectations are to play well into his 40’s, and his highly competitive nature, combined with his rare talent and his commitment to physical conditioning leave no reason to believe he will not play another 5 or more seasons. In his mind, if the poor decisions continue, more Super Bowl victories with the Packers are unlikely.
Without exacting change within current managerial thinking, Rodgers believes his destiny of winning the ultimate prize in NFL football may be more likely for him elsewhere. For him, the time is now to enact change or go somewhere he feels there is organizational commitment to do what it takes to win at all costs.
It is also about respect.
Rodgers clearly disagrees with management decisions regarding player personnel. My feeling is Aaron does not want to be quarterback and general manager, but does feel his game intelligence, perspective on leadership, team chemistry, and opinion on the best course of action is uniquely different from the scouts, coaches, and front office decisionmakers.
It is certain he feels his opinion should at the very least be heard and considered when these determinations are made. After all, when it is all said and done, winning falls primarily on his shoulders.
Should management take his advice or not, he has earned the respect to be heard before such crucial decisions become final.
The naysayers could comment that he is the quarterback…it is his job to play and managements job to acquire players. This is true. But why on earth would you not add someone with such football knowledge to your personnel team? Are the egos upstairs so great as to not consider such added opinion?
There is also precedence here found elsewhere in the NFL today. Pat McAfee was a longtime punter for the Indianapolis Colts before becoming an analyst. He played many years on a team quarterbacked by the great Peyton Manning.
As McAfee describes his days with the Colts, he said Manning was so respected, and his opinion carried so much weight, that if Manning did not want a player to play…he did not play. If Manning did not want a player to practice, he did not practice. If Manning did not want a player on the team…he was not on the team.
Then there was the relationship between New England Patriots Coach and GM Bill Belichick and star quarterback Tom Brady. For many years, the two would conduct weekly Tuesday meetings to discuss everything associated with the team…prior week performances, upcoming game plans, and yes, individual player performance evaluations.
Aaron Rodgers knows how other teams go about their business. He also knows where he sits in terms of ranking with other starting quarterbacks and team leaders. We all know he is certainly in the current top 3 in such ranking depending upon individual opinion.
At the very least, good management would recognize how to treat such an elite quarterback, and our current Packer front office obviously has not been able to grasp that. He deserves the respect to be included in the loop.
The management problem.
Initially I was thinking General Manager Brian Gutekunst was the root of this whole nightmare. I am sure he has some burden of blame in this mess, but not to the degree I once felt. The problems are even deeper, and further up the management ladder.
I believe the problem is Mark Murphy. A quick look back at recent history tells why. Mark Murphy is no Bob Harlan. Harlan was an administrator who directed the operation by hiring qualified people and allowing them to do the jobs they were hired for in their respective departments.
Football minds were hired for football aspects of the organization. He did not have an ego that made it necessary to interfere in football decisions unless absolutely needed, which was rare.
Murphy on the other hand, wants to control everything. He made this clear when he hired Gutekunst in 2018 and made significant organizational changes.
At the time of hiring the new GM, Murphy declared that the Head Coach would now report directly to him. This gave Murphy greater power and authority and ultimately reduced the authority of not only the GM, but the Head Coach as well.
Both positions now must meet approval of the president, despite the GM and Coach being responsible exclusively for football matters.
Like Harlan, Murphy has authority in future franchise development, NFL franchise business, stadium development and land acquisitions, community outreach, and all the other aspects associated with being the CEO and president. Unlike his predecessor, he now has given himself full say in football operations too.
Could have, should have.
Everyone has heard the stories of why Aaron Rodgers disagrees with what personnel decisions has led him to this point. The list of names is lengthy…players and even coaches alike. Letting go of quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt…players like Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Julius Peppers, Jared Cook, Jake Kumerow, and others.
Not saying all were wrong moves, but when you have a player of Rodgers caliber leading the team, his input would have eliminated these current problems entirely.
It also goes well beyond who the Packers let go, but also who they did not go after… sure, everyone missed on drafting DK Metcalf two years earlier, but think of what could have been had they had done so.
Perhaps instead of moving up in the draft to obtain Jordan Love, they make a bigger play to go after Justin Jefferson who ended up starring in his rookie season for the Vikings.
Most recently, everyone knew Julio Jones was destined for a new home, but were the Packers ever mentioned in the running for his services to play alongside Davante Adams?
Salary cap issues are real, but using that is merely an excuse not to make such moves. Converting cap money to guaranteed bonus money can often resolve those type problems. Imagine the outcome of the NFC championship game with Metcalf or Jefferson opposite Adams.
Murphy has fallen far short in leading this franchise.
Rodgers is not a money grubbing, whining, cry-baby, diva as I am so tired of reading from social media commenters who appear to be better equipped to discuss ice dancing or the potential victor in this season’s bachelorette.
Aaron Rodgers has very legitimate issues that only one person can resolve, and that is Mark Murphy.
Murphy has been on the job for 13 years now, all with an elite quarterback yet only one Super Bowl in that span.
It is time he steps away from football operations and let those hired to make football decisions make them without his interference. That would be the mark of a real leader.
Murphy removing himself from the football side would probably be enough to convince Rodgers his best opportunity still remains with him continuing as quarterback for the Green Bay Packers.
Rodger’s return would also fully bridge any divide, real or imagined, between the fan base of Packer Nation.——————
Thomas Doyle is a career professional chef, entrepreneur, restaurant consultant and writer for the food industry. A Green Bay resident, avid Green Bay Packer fan and lifelong season ticket holder, Doyle now can be found as a feature writer for Packerstalk.com.
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