It’s Thompson’s Team Now

by

Brett Favre put the Packers in a bad situation and the Packers handled it badly.  Ted Thompson has demonstrated his ability to evaluate college talent (Justin Harrell is an asterisk) and manage the finances of the team.  He is an awful, awful communicator and his ego, it seems, has badly affected his decisionmaking.

The roots of this entire dispute lie in Thompson’s unwillingness to indulge a need star quarterback due, in my view, to Thompson’s eagerness to have a team shaped almost entirely in his image.  So long as Brett Favre was the quarterback of the Packers, they were Favre’s team.  If they went to the playoffs, it was because of a resurgent Brett Favre.  If they won a Super Bowl, it was Favre’s Super Bowl.  And on and on.

This pissed Thompson off.  He has done a remarkable — that’s an overused word, but it’s true here — a remarkable job in turning around the franchise.  In 2005, the Packer had an aging roster and a shitty coach.  They finished with a record of 4-12.

By 2007, they were among the youngest teams in the league, their new coach was winning awards (2007 Motorola NFL Coach of the Year) and the team finished 13-3.  Thompson himself was honored as the 2007 NFL Executive of the year.

By any objective measure — and I emphasize this for those Packer fans who insist, against overwhelming evidence to the contrary that Thompson is a moron — this is one of the most remarkable franchise transformations in recent sports history.

But the final piece of this turnaround would be a Super Bowl.  And Ted Thompson’s first draft pick as Green Bay’s GM, a first-rounder at the team’s most important position, was on the bench.  This team would never be Ted Thompson’s team until Brett Favre was gone.

For two years Thompson endured Favre’s will-he-or-won’t-he retirement dramatics.  But this year seemed different.  It seemed obvious, even to outside observers, that Thompson did not want Favre back.  When he said that it wasn’t his role to try to persuade Favre to return, that was a pretty good sign.

Thanks to Favre, we now know just how much of Favre’s nonsense and pouting Thompson had to put up with over the years — his insistence that we re-sign players or pursue free agents or interview coaching candidates — so the fact that he was weary of such silliness is understandable.

But he’s a Hall of Fame quarterback.  He was Sports Illustrated’s “Sportsman of the Year” last year.  He was statistically a Top 5 quarterback.  And he would have been the NFL MVP if Tom Brady hadn’t had the best season ever as an NFL quarterback.  Was it too much to indulge him one last time?

In the end, it was, because the Packers, despite all of Ted Thompson’s wisdom and the remarkable turnaround he’s effected, would have remained Brett Favre’s team.

It’s Thompson’s team now.

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56 Responses to “It’s Thompson’s Team Now”

  1. Donald's Designated Driver Says:

    Steve: who knows why Thompson didn’t bend over backwards—again—to placate his prima dona “star.” Ego? Maybe. But that is certainly not the only explanation, and I’m not sure why that is the conclusion that you are jumping to.

    Here one possibility: maybe it really was a football decision. Seriously.

    Favre is “Mr. October”—too bad he plays the wrong sport. When the chips are down, when the Packers need him the most, he plays his worst. Can anyone honestly dispute this?

    Sit down for this one: The Packer never—ever, ever, ever—would have won another Super Bowl with Favre. In order to win a Super Bowl a team needs to string together at least three good (if not flawless) games against top competetition in high pressure situations. Favre has proven again (and again and again like a gunslingin’ energizer bunny) that cannot do this. He will self-destruct and he will drag the team down with him.

    People continue to ask the wrong question: is Favre better than Rodgers? Maybe yes. Maybe no. It doesn’t matter. That is a redherring.

    The correct question is “can the Packers win a Super Bowl with Favre”? The answer to that question is “no freaking way.” If it was going to happen, it would have happened last year.

    It’s time to find a quarterback that can lead the Packers to a Super Bowl victory. Maybe its Rodgers. Maybe its not, but the Packers absolutely cannot delay the search for one more year. The Packers are a team on the rise. They have probably a four or five year window of opportunity before they start to be a team on the decline. They need to put all the peices together as soon as possible.

    “Was it too much to indulge him [Favre] one last time?” Oh yeah.

  2. PackerBelle Says:

    “Was it too much to indulge him one last time?”

    They did indulge him. They gave him time, when he said he wanted to retire they told him to think it over. When he wanted to un-retire in late March they chartered a plane to go down there. The biggest complaint I’ve seen against Thompson is that he wasn’t involved enough in trying to convince him to stay and yet would that have been effective? Favre and Thompson had a massive personality conflict going on there. Even his best efforts could have been very counter productive if it rubbed Favre the wrong way. Leaving it to McCarthy – the coach and a guy Favre had a rapport with was more likely to have a positive effect.

    I personally think that there is something major going on in Brett’s life that we don’t know about and I think that is what is fueling this. His behavior has not been normal. Something is very wrong there and I don’t think not having his ego stroked enough accounts for this dramatic change in behavior.

  3. Ron La Canne Says:

    Steve,

    No question that T.T’s ability to identify and obtain young talent has made the difference. We will go into the season this year with one of the youngest teams, if not the youingest. in the NFL. I’m not sure if we can credit McCarthy to T.T.’s side of the ledger entirely. Wolf had a little input through Harlan during the search.

    However, T.T. lacks a major managemennt skill that is a serious problem He is almost fanatical about avoiding the public, especially in crisis situations. He allowed his field coach to absorb both Favre’s rants and the media’s stupidity alone. The Favre fiasco was his responsibility to handle. He may have done the behind the scenes work, but he should have been the only public voice on this issue, period. This deficiency can be minimized if the Packer Organization invests in a “Press Secretary” position. It is highly unlikely the Packers will ever face an issue like Favre again. So, this problem with T.T.’s style is not likely to be insurmountable. Maybe over time Murphy will be able to step in here. Whatever, do not ever let your field manager (coach) take the heat in a controversy that is related to management decisions.

    Thompson and Murphy address media at 12:30 (?)

  4. PackerBelle Says:

    When did Mike McCarthy take the heat during this situation? Aside from his one press conference he’s been pretty much dealing with the team and getting ready for the season. Aside from hiding McCarthy from the media, and therefore make it look like the Packers had something to hide, what where they supposed to do?

  5. Kristin Says:

    I think we should all bow our heads in a moment of silence…

  6. sfhayes Says:

    Sorry, Triple-D. Not buying. Ego may not be the only explanation — my post mentioned general annoyance and several others — but it is certainly the most plausible.

    I can understand the argument that shifting to Aaron Rodgers now makes sense for the Packers if they are committed to seeing Rodgers as their starting QB based on what they’ve seen. I can understand it, but I don’t have to agree with it.

    Pat Kirwan came up with a smart solution. The Packers should have retained Favre and, with the abundance of cap room Thompson has accrued, given Rodgers a fat extension if they truly believe he’s the man.

    Final point. There is no way of knowing whether Favre could have led the Packers to another Super Bowl. And you may be right that he would not have done so. But for you to claim that there “is no freaking way” he would have accomplished that is just silly. He was one throw — in overtime — from doing it last year. He was still playing at an incredibly high level. And even with his struggles in the cold/playoffs, he almost managed to take a young team, with a new running back and a developing offensive line to the Super Bowl. It’s certainly within the realm of possibility that given the chance to do it again he would complete the pass.

  7. Ron La Canne Says:

    Belle, your infatuation with T.T. is tedious. I am pointing to a serious flaw that Thompson has. He will not accept his full responsibility as the Boss. Admit it. Does it make him a bad GM? No. That McCarthy spent a lot of his time with Favre in the second week of camp is inexcusable. Admit that. Thompson is not perfect. Admit that. In turn, I’m glad he is our GM. I just think he does need to work on some issues with management style.

  8. Mr.Man Says:

    The premise of your post is baloney. Since when has Thompson displayed an ego about anything besides personnel decisions? This is the compete speculation that bizarre Favre supporters keep spouting– “Thompson is an egomaniac!” What are you taking about? The man is the least spotlight-seeking exec I can ever remember the Packers having. He hates talking to the media. He admits his mistakes. (He’s admitted that not keeping Wahle was an error.) Really, what the hell are you talking about?

    I agree, his communication skills are atrocious. They were part of the problem in this fiasco. But the main problem was Favre’s bullheaded insistence on being anointed the starter again or getting released. He gave in to what was reasonable, finally.

  9. 56Coop Says:

    Packerbelle brouoght up something that I find interesting. I think there is something wrong with Favre–maybe beyond him just being PO’d at the Packers. I watched that interview he did with Greta again–Anybody notice his extremely bad case of cottonmouth. Also, at times I thought his speech was a llittle slurred. I certainly hope he’s not hitting the vicodin again.

    I certainly hope this is not the case & I sure hope he can find some peace in retirement –he can’t play forever. Also, I hope the Jets O-line can protect him. I’d hate to see his career end due to injury.

    I’m sure in the not too distant future there will be more dirty laundry aired & opinons will swap back & forth like mine have over the past few weeks. About all I can say now is Good luck Brett (but not too good–just don;t get hurt) & let’s go GB Packers & Aaron Rogers.

  10. sfhayes Says:

    Mr. Man, several points.

    1) I hardly qualify as a “Favre supporter” as a brief look at the archive will tell you.

    2) You argue that Thompson’s refusal to talk to the media means he’s not an egomaniac. That’s a non-sequitur. Howard Hughes, perhaps the world’s most famous recluse, was nothing if not an egomaniac.

    3) You ask: “Since when has Thompson displayed an ego about anything besides personnel decisions?” This entire ordeal was about a personnel decision and so was my post. That’s what is relevant.

    4) Of course it’s speculative. That’s why I wrote “in my view” to introduce it. You’re welcome to disagree with the post, of course, but the fact of your disagreement doesn’t make it “baloney.”

  11. patrick Says:

    TT is a decent judge of slightly above average college players, but he couldn’t find a superstar playmaker if one was right in front of him. Other than AJ Hawk who has been a B or B+ player, who else has he drafted that was a game changer?
    You’re dead on that TT wanted to take all the credit if the Packers went to the Super Bowl. This reminds me sooooooo much of Jerry Krause dismantling the Bulls so he can get the pats on the back instead of Michael and Phil. His ego will be his downfall when they don’t make the playoffs this year, or next. Hopefully someone will remember who’s to blame when they suck, and not blame the coach. yeah right

  12. Mac G Says:

    Did you ever think Eli Manning could lead his team to a Super Bowl W? Did you ever think Trent Dilfer could? I know Brett Favre and the Packers were in the NFL final four last year and a Favre led Packers 08 team had a good of a shot as any top returning team.

    Favre can not lead a team anymore to a Super Bowl but Rodgers can or any other NFL QB? I understand the argument if Favre sucked last year but he played very well.

    The Falcons, Vikings, Eagles and Giants playoff losses were not solely losses because of bad play at the QB position. Obviously, Brett could have played better but there were many other major factors which caused Green Bay to lose those games.

    Steve, great post and yes, the Ted Thompson era has officially begun.
    I am glad we can now focus on the thinning DL, slow LB Poppinga, and the enigma of Nick Collins.

    Green Bay was about 4 or 5 plays away from easily being 9-7 or 8-8 last year so I am very skeptical of this “talent” emergence into the NFL elite.

  13. Aaron Says:

    DDD – can you email me at aaron@cheeseheadtv.com? Thanks.

  14. sfhayes Says:

    Patrick,
    Greg Jennings? Second round?

  15. Donald's Designated Driver Says:

    “He was one throw — in overtime — from doing it last year.”

    Bit of trivia: Favre is the only NFL quarterback to end his team’s season on an overtime interception twice.

    Add in the Pick 6 Game in St. Louis. (Full disclore: I was one of the yahoos that honestly believed that the receivers just kept “running the wrong routes.”)

    The redzone illegal forward pass (that he laughed about) instead of risking a tough hit in a home playoff loss to those mighty Mike Tice Era Vikings.

    Being outplayed and outclassed by Mike Vick at home for the first Lambeau loss in history.

    When the Packers need Favre the most: he plays his worst.

    But how you feel about this situation definitely depends whether you think Favre has been a victim of misfortune or whether he is a choke artist.

    It’s one thing to disagree. It’s another thing to not be able to fathom that another viewpoint exists. Right now, there are too many people that still can’t fathom that there is another viewpoint. Example: on this very blog I often read about how its “indisputable” that Favre gives the Packers the “best chance to win.”

    “Indisputable” is the new “literal” for the frequency of its misuse. How can something be indisputable if so many people dispute it? Not just blog commentors, but national journalists, the dude on the bar stool next to you. There are people everywhere that dispute this. And I am willing to bet that Thompson is one of those people that dispute it. (By the way, I encourage everyone to read McGinn’s piece yesterday on this very topic.)

    But if you still live in the universe where the only viewpoint is that Favre gives the Packers the best chance to go to the Super Bowl and anyone who disagrees is fooling themselves, then yes, the most likely scenario is that its all Thompson’s big dumb ego. But once you acknowlegde that another legitimate viewpoint exists (even if you don’t agree with it) the situation is a lot more murky.

  16. PackerBelle Says:

    “Belle, your infatuation with T.T. is tedious. ”
    As is your obsession with blaming him without giving examples.

    “I am pointing to a serious flaw that Thompson has. He will not accept his full responsibility as the Boss. Admit it.”
    I won’t admit that because I don’t see it. As Mr. Man has pointed out he admitted that releasing Wahle was a mistake. When there were reports Favre thought he wasn’t hearing from TT enough, TT called him right away to make sure things were okay between them. He’s admitted he doesn’t have all the answers. So really when hasn’t he been willing to accept full responsibility as being the boss?

    “That McCarthy spent a lot of his time with Favre in the second week of camp is inexcusable. Admit that. Thompson is not perfect. Admit that. In turn, I’m glad he is our GM. I just think he does need to work on some issues with management style.”
    So Thompson should be the one monitoring team chemistry and locker room issues now? Because that is what the meeting was about. It was about whether or not Brett Favre was in a position that Mike McCarthy could accept having him on his team. This wasn’t about trading, a contract, or wanting to be released. It was about Favre playing for Mike McCarthy. And you know what? It seemed to have worked because Favre got on a plane, went home and accepted a trade to a team that he wouldn’t even talk to earlier. And now the distraction is over – and had Mike McCarthy not spent all that time talking to Favre it might not be.

  17. sfhayes Says:

    I’ll give you credit for audacity, Triple-D. Your most recent comment complains that others are insufficiently open-minded regarding opposing viewpoints and that we’re too categorical in our statements.

    It would be a more compelling point if your first comment hadn’t read: “The Packer never—ever, ever, ever—would have won another Super Bowl with Favre.” You also wrote: “The correct question is ‘can the Packers win a Super Bowl with Favre’? The answer to that question is ‘no freaking way.’”

    In your recent comment, you wrote: “It’s one thing to disagree. It’s another thing to not be able to fathom that another viewpoint exists. Right now, there are too many people that still can’t fathom that there is another viewpoint.”

    Again, that point would be much more compelling if I hadn’t directly acknowledged the opposite point of view in my comment and, going further, said that I could understand the arguments of those who hold it.

    I wrote: “I can understand the argument that shifting to Aaron Rodgers now makes sense for the Packers if they are committed to seeing Rodgers as their starting QB based on what they’ve seen. I can understand it, but I don’t have to agree with it.”

    Finally, you claim that you “often” read “on this very blog” that it’s “indisputable” that Favre gives the Packers the best chance to win. I’m not sure how that’s possible since that claim has been made exactly once, in Jim VandeHei’s post earlier this week.

    In response, I wrote that I’d agreed with Jim when the story of a Favre comeback first broke in early July and that I thought Favre “probably” still gives the Packers the best chance to win. Hardly the dogmatism you suggest.

    Andy, you might recall, has written at least twice that Rodgers is going to be very good this year and, if memory serves, that the Packers might actually be better off with him at quarterback than with Favre.

    So by all means smack us around here. We actually enjoy it and that’s why we read the comments section so closely and often write back. But we do and say stupid things often enough on our own without having to answer for arguments we didn’t make about stuff we don’t believe. W

  18. Kristin Says:

    In response to PackerBelle’s argument here, and in other posts, that Mike McCarthy didn’t have to take too much heat during this situation: How about from January 21, 2008 through July 4, 2008?

    Please go back a read the timeline of events released by the Packers, and the transcript of Ted and Mike’s March 4th press conference announcing Favre’s retirement.
    Exhibit A: http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=771893
    Exhibit B: http://www.packers.com/news/releases/2008/03/04/3/slim/

    You can almost see the big sticks of dynamite sizzling in the room.

    Thompson allowed McCarthy to absorb nearly all the contact, throughout most of the offseason. Thompson informed Brett that his communication would be, or should be, with McCarthy. When Thompson went down to visit Favre on May 6th with “no agenda”, I suspect the levee was about to break, and Thompson knew it.

    If you look at the timeline, it’s all McCarthy, a little Campen, and a couple rare appearances by Thompson. If you read the March 4th press conference, you’ll see Thompson defers most of the questions to McCarthy, because he had all the contact.

    A few excerpts:

    (When did you hear from Brett and what exactly did he say?)
    Thompson: I’ll let Mike field that since he talked to him probably the most over the last couple of days.
    McCarthy: I actually took Brett’s call last night about 7 p.m., and he informed me it was time for him to hang up the cleats, as he referred to it. It was really very similar to the conversations we’ve had the last four weeks. … And we talked again last night about 9, 9:30, after the 7:00 conversation, I called Ted, and then Ted and Brett spoke this morning.

    (Ted, had you told Brett you wanted a decision this week?)
    Thompson: No. We had talked to him, I think most of those conversations were with Mike.

    (When you talked about going forward, was it his plan not to speak and have his only words be what he left on someone’s voice-mail?)
    Thompson: I’ll let you handle this one.
    McCarthy: I’ll let you ask him that question, when the time comes.

  19. Aaron Says:

    Patrick “Other than AJ Hawk who has been a B or B+ player, who else has he drafted that was a game changer?” So if players haven’t become superstars in a year and half, they won’t ever become superstars? Wow, tough room…

  20. awhayes Says:

    Triple D – It seems that you are accusing Steve/me/others of seeing things from only one viewpoint, but I think that actually may be the problem with your argument. You’re every bit as stubborn about this as the people you say don’t see your viewpoint. I follow exactly what you’re saying and recognize it as another perspective on the question of who gives us the best chance. It is a legit argument to make if you feel Favre doesn’t have it any more. And, when you point out the stats and overall difficulties he’s had in the past few seasons, your argument can seem somewhat compelling. And I’d even add to your argument the mental factor – when it seems he checks himself out of games mentally with that vacant look on the sidelines.

    But you discount last year and importantly you discount Favre’s career body of work. Last year clearly indicated the guy can still play and statistically in many areas, he was as good or better than he’s ever been. If he hadn’t played so well last year, I would probably let this one go. But he was incredible. His Giants game interception did suck and was a choke – no question. Of course, there were other factors in the game that helped it reach that point – but those excuse excuse Favre’s bad throw. But he got us there and in the NFL, getting there is one of the hardest parts of this whole thing. Brett Favre has gotten his team to the playoffs most of the years he’s played and that too need to count when attempting to answer this question.

    Again, I’m not saying there isn’t a chance Rodgers takes us into the playoffs one of these years, or maybe even this year. That is entirely possible and I really hope it happens. I just think the 2nd place MVP from last year would have given us a better chance this year, that’s all.

    To sum up, Favre wouldn’t have appeared in this ESPN article about the best QBs in big games if he were as horrible in big games as you make him out to be. I know this was written in 2004 and he’s been up and down since, but again, last year is solid evidence that he still has it:

    http://espn.go.com/page2/s/list/2004playoffsQB.html

  21. cheese0317 Says:

    I remember, when I was little my Dad cursing Lynn Dickey’s crooked legs and limp arm. I remember hoping David Whitehurst could be a better answer, hoping that he might lead them to the playoffs. I remember growing older, and more skeptical about Rich Campbell. The Randy Wright fiasco seemed hopeless. Anthony Dilweg isn’t worth mentioning. The Packers were a joke, a loser, and some whispered that the town might never be able to field a champion. Then came Don Majkowski’s torn rotator cuff. The most glorious torn rotator cuff in the history of my life.

    The Favre Era dawned.

    Over the next 16 seasons, Favre started every game and during that period no team in the NFL had a better win-loss record. Favre vomited blood on the sidelines and then returned to the field to rocket a touchdown pass. Favre played his best game, a must-win game for the Pack, 24 hours after the unexpected death of his father, his best friend. Favre won a Super Bowl. Let me repeat that: Favre won a Super Bowl. Off the field, Favre never bitched about money, and only renegotiated his contract when the Packers needed cap space. On the field, Favre played with joy. He never posed, or gloated or whined. He played, and he celebrated and he scolded himself for his mistakes. On the field, he won more games and threw more touchdowns (and interceptions) than any person ever in the history of the NFL.

    On the back of this success, Green Bay returned to its glory. It became a place where free agents came to play, and a stop on the road to the division championship. And, we’ll repeat this for emphasis: During Favre’s 16 years in Green bay, no team in the NFL had a better record. The Packers returned to the Super Bowl, rebuilt their stadium, their practice facility, and their image as a winner. They brought the Lombardi Trophy back to Titletown.

    Favre was not the only person responsible for all of that. But the 3-time MVP was the most important factor.

    And here it is in black and white:

    Ted Thompson just traded away the best quarterback in the NFC last year, the best player in Packers history, the quarterback with more wins and touchdowns than any other quarterback in history of the league, who is coming off a pro-bowl season with 13 wins, a run deep into the playoffs and the best completion percentage of his career … for a middling draft pick.

    The three quarterbacks remaining on the roster have 0 NFL starts, and one TD between them. The team is one injury away from being forced to start a rookie under center.

    There is not much you could say to convince me that this isn’t negligent management.

    Ted Thompson spent the better part of five weeks doing everything in his power to keep Favre from playing for the team, apparently so that Ted could play his draft choice. You can moan and groan all you want about Favre changing his mind about retiring. You can pick over the clumsy, disingenuous PR volleys from both sides and the bickering. But fact is: Thompson could have had Favre as QB this year, and he stubbornly clung to lazy metaphors and a decision he made a month ago (perhaps three years ago) to “move on”. Thompson has to take responsibility for that decision.

    Regarding this entire saga, I will say this: Favre deserved better. The fans deserved better. I do not and never will understand how a Packer fan who has watched Favre play could ever categorize him in the same category as malcontent wideouts who are more interested in paydays than wins of the field. I will never understand how Favre changing his mind about playing outweighs the fact that he is the greatest instinctual quarterback in the game, the best chance for a Super Bowl this year. I don’t understand the animosity from so many fans, and frankly I’m not much in the mood to have someone try to explain it to me again. I think those people have forgotten. Forgotten last season. Forgotten the 15 seasons prior. Forgotten Favre vomiting blood on the sideline. And forgotten all those years we suffered through Dickey, Whitehurst, Wright, Campbell, Majkowski.

    I don’t agree with those who argue that Favre’s poor sense of strategic career planning justifies his rejection. I never will agree with that. Let’s leave it at that.

    And let’s leave at this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-6Ny_eErqs

  22. Ron La Canne Says:

    Whose picture was seen? Whose words were quoted? Who got much of the blame from the Favre loonies? Answer: McCarthy . Over the past two weeks, Thomoson may as well have been a ghost. Since March, Thompson’s only public comments were non-commital. Please give me one documented example of him accepting resposibility as McCarthy’s boss. And, no, “The team has decided to move on” doesn’t count.

    McCarthy has a divided locker room to deal with. If you don’t think they are divided you are kidding yourself. Everyone maybe saying the right words, but there are bad feelings. The coach now has to work to turn that around. Along with getting ready for the toughest schedule the Packers have had in years. Oh, and a brand new QB to get ready. I would have thought getting ready would have been enough for M.M.

    We had a saying in the military, ” I’ve got your back”. That’s a concept T.T. needs work on. And no mater how mujch you try to avoid accepting that, it is a fact. Just put yourself in M.M’s position on your job. Think of your Boss as T.T. What would you want from him? I don’t know about you, but I sure wouldn’t want to be the focuss of a problem the Boss was responsible for creating. Along with Favre, of course.

    As I expressed in specific examples before: M.M was quoted as saying, “The Packers are a better team with Brett.” Two weeks later< “Brett doesn’t have the attitude to join the team.” Show me one, just one T.T, statement supporting McCarthy on that seemed contradiction. Now McCarthy is the bad guy in the Public’s eye. Do I really need to go on? Find me one quote from T.T. taking the heat from McCarthy and I’ll beg your forgiveness.

  23. Ron La Canne Says:

    Kristan,

    Thanks for taking my back. You certainly did your homework.

  24. Aaron Says:

    Ron – one little quibble – “Along with getting ready for the toughest schedule the Packers have had in years….” Last year at this time everyone was talking about how hard the Packers schedule was in ’07. Teams that look ‘tough’ now won’t be and vice versa.

    Realize it’s not the point of your post, just keep seeing the schedule thing brought up and wanted to say my peace and duck out from the great Ron vs. PackerBelle cage match. ;)

  25. Aaron Says:

    cheese0317 – I agree with the sentiment of your post, but you don’t run an NFL franchise on sentiment. If you do, you won’t be running an NFL franchise very long…

  26. Donald's Designated Driver Says:

    Woah. Time for me to back down a bit. I don’t defintely don’t mean to “smack” anyone around. I think the Favre discussion on this blog has been literally and indisputably excellent. I apologize if I have been a little too confrontational. What can I say, I am passionate about the Packers.

    With that out of the way. I highly recommend that everyone read McGinn’s piece from yesterday. (I think you have to be a JS “insider” to access it.) It paints a very, very different picture about what the Thompson and McCarthy thought of Favre.

    Here is an excerpt:

    “From a purely football perspective, the organizational shift against Favre began that November night in Dallas, gained steam in the arctic cold of Soldier Field and became a blaze during Favre’s pathetic second-half showing against the New York Giants with a Super Bowl there for the taking.

    Just about everyone who counted in the football department reached the conclusion that Favre could never win another championship. His dismal playoff record in the past decade couldn’t be overlooked. And the Packers concluded that it would be the mother of all mistakes if Aaron Rodgers got away without being properly evaluated as a starter.”

    If McGinn is correct, and I respect him quite a bit, this decision was not about ego, it was about football.

    In any event we only see what we are allowed to see. We are outsiders. I think it is foolish to try to extrapolate motives of Thompson based upon what little information that we do know. There are some very good reasons to dump Favre. Too many good reasons for me to feel comfortable chalking it up to Thompson’s ego.

    Interestingly, McGinn had a chat today and someone asked him point blank how much of the decision had to do with Thompson’s ego and how much was a football decision.

    “More football but some ego definitely was involved. It has to be. …”

    That sounds about right to me.

  27. Ron La Canne Says:

    So true Aaron, it could change. But it’s all I have to work with and I’m sure you agree that Indy, Dallas, TB, Seatle, Bears, Vikings, Jags, Panthers, and even the Bills will pose some problems for GB.

    I’m listening to the press conference now. What was billed as T.T. and one M.M. Press Conference had an additional M.M. Why? McCarthy apparentlly had nothing to do over lunch. Murphy followed closely by Thompson threw McCarthy under the Garden Tractor, to use one of Steve’s favorite expressions. “Favre is gone — It’s a football decision”, fingers pointed directly at McCarthy. These guys obviously slept through Ari’s lecture. This should have been Murphy and Thompson alone. Their job should have been to tell the media why McCarthy’s football decision was the right decision and provide support, not to have McCarthy addressing most of the questions again. This is truely unbelieveable.

    Of course, Favre’s the major bad guy here. That doesn’t excuse this kind of incompetence. The rest of the conference over loaded with buzz words and We love Brett, really. Oh well, they are who we have and I don’t thnk anything this bizzae will happen again.

    With Favre at Cleveland tonight, do you think they will actually show any of the game? My prediction mostly shots of Favre in a Geen #4 Jets jersey. Do ya think he’ll shave or not?

  28. Bill Says:

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    Thanks,
    Bill
    MyTeamRivals.com
    Bill@myteamrivals.com

  29. Mac G Says:

    Cheese 0317, Amen A Fn Men! I love the perspective and your bottom line “sentiment” is spot on.

    I do not spend money to read online content in 2008 but I am sure that McGin article is excellent.

    Favre has struggled in cold weather games but I mean, name me what NFL QB can play consistently well in -20 temps? Good God.

    Favre did get hurt against the Cowboys and did not play well early Rodgers looked good and more mobile with fresh legs but he also got hurt.

    Packers brass thought Favre was losing it based on those 3 games and wanted to go with Rodgers but could not be seen as pushing out the legend. Favre waffled and retired again so they had their opening. No turning back for TT.

    I still believe there is something deeper that we do not about yet.

  30. Aaron Says:

    Mac G: “name me what NFL QB can play consistently well in -20 temps?”

    Kyle Orton and Eli Manning for starters…

  31. Aaron Says:

    Well Ron, the Packers don’t play the Bills, but I agree, it LOOKS tough.

    But what if Manning’s injury lingers, T.O. goes all T.O, Garcia doesn’t make it through the first three weeks? As for the Bears, Vikings and Panthers – the Packers are better than all those teams. Hands down. The only team on your list that really worries me is Jacksonville. That will be a nasty game and the Packers better be ready for some hitting.

  32. PackerBelle Says:

    “Thompson allowed McCarthy to absorb nearly all the contact, throughout most of the offseason. Thompson informed Brett that his communication would be, or should be, with McCarthy. When Thompson went down to visit Favre on May 6th with “no agenda”, I suspect the levee was about to break, and Thompson knew it.

    If you look at the timeline, it’s all McCarthy, a little Campen, and a couple rare appearances by Thompson. If you read the March 4th press conference, you’ll see Thompson defers most of the questions to McCarthy, because he had all the contact.”

    So having the guy Brett likes talk to him rather than the guy that he’s had conflict with is bad? It isn’t like TT was out of the loop or acting on his own. According to Mark Murphy “The three of us [Murphy, Thompson and McCarthy] have been in complete agreement on every step in this process. Ted has been a true professional through this situation. He has no ego. He has always acted in the best interest of the Packers.” When Thompson heard Favre wanted to talk – he called him and made sure things were okay between them. But he had the guy Brett had a rapport with be the point man rather than himself because he and Favre didn’t really click. And so McCarthy would be a better salesman as to why Favre should come back then Thompson.

  33. Ron La Canne Says:

    Aaron, right you are. Got the Texan’s icon mixed up with Buffalo. Maybe a win there, but showed some improvement last year.

    Belle, on thiis issues you are impossible. Note: zero quotes from T.T. in your response. Why? Because there are none. That press conference will be part of a Case Study at Wharton. The title: “What You Should Never Not Say in a Press Conference.” (Convoluted Prose Deliberate) My God that was painful.

  34. patrick Says:

    Aaron, you did not just say Kyle Orton plays well in 20 below did you? wow, is all I can say.
    Anyways, Belle, Thompson was hiding behind the Coach because he was too afraid to handle it himself. He has been hiding under his table hoping nobody would notice he was around. Now that all the dirty work was done by Coach McCarthy and Favre is gone he’s gonna pop his head out of his little hole and try to act like he’s in control of everything. Maybe if he would have been a man and flown down to Mississippi to talk to Brett face to face maybe Favre would still be there. He’s such a coward

  35. Aaron Says:

    Patrick – December 23rd 2007, Soldier Field Chicago

    Score

    Bears: 35
    Packers: 7

    Starting Quarterbacks

    Bears: Kyle Orton
    Packers: Brett Favre

    Wind Chill

    -18

  36. Corey B Says:

    “name me what NFL QB can play consistently well in -20 temps?”

    Kyle Orton and Eli Manning for starters…

    Aaron- I believe the KEYword is consistently. Lay off the crack pipe with your Kyle Orton

  37. patrick Says:

    Kyle orton won a game? wow

  38. PackerBelle Says:

    “Belle, on thiis issues you are impossible. Note: zero quotes from T.T. in your response. Why? Because there are none. That press conference will be part of a Case Study at Wharton. The title: “What You Should Never Not Say in a Press Conference.” (Convoluted Prose Deliberate) My God that was painful.”

    I don’t think they hired him because of his public speaking ability. I think they hired him for his football knowledge and his ability to actually run the team, something that was noticeably absent under Thompson. But he did say the one thing that you seem to want him to say – that he takes responsibility for the situation. After all, when asked if he was comfortable with being the man who traded Favre he said “No. I don’t think anybody would be comfortable with that. This is in many ways sad, but this is where it came to. At the end of the day we felt this was the best solution to a very difficult situation. Hopefully we can do things down that road that will make people no remember this as much.” He knows what he did, he’s not overly happy with the situation but he did what he had to do. And he understands that its his job to give us something good. But he also isn’t someone who makes unilateral decisions – this whole situation seems to be something that was made collectively with the President, GM and coach of the team so that it was the best situation for all aspects of the Packers.

  39. Ron La Canne Says:

    Have you ever taken a remedial reading/listening course? Your presummed abillity to channel T.T.s real intentions do not substitute for evidence, No quotes = no evidence to support your position. Presenting what you think he means is interesting only to the extent that it shows what you want his position to be. It does not represent reality.

  40. Aaron Says:

    Corey – I’ll lay off the crack as soon as people stop pretending Brett is still 28 and not 38. And now you’re telling me the Packers play ‘consistently’ in -20 degrees? Even in December and January they have maybe 2 or 3 games in those conditions. In the last three, Favre has won one and lost two, the two being in the truly bitter cold. And he lost to Kyle freekin’ Orton.

    Kyle Orton dude.

  41. Aaron Says:

    Ron,

    To be fair, just because there are no quotes doesn’t mean there is no evidence. I think the man’s actions would constitute evidence…

  42. Ron La Canne Says:

    Actions Aaron? Okay – I’ll check back in a while.

  43. patrick Says:

    Thompson was the scared little 2nd Leuitenant sending a poor private to stick his head around the corner to see if the enemy was still there. He was too afraid to lead from the front, and sent McArthy and everyone else to take the bullets for him. What an idiot.

    Can Majkowski still play?

  44. Mac G Says:

    Aaron, if you want to roll with Eli Manning and Kyle Orton in 10 games in sub freezing temps over Brett Favre, go right ahead. I would just hope Kneckbeard does not start hitting the Schnapps at halftime.

    Most the Packers looked disinterested in playing the Bears game anyway. Plaxico pissed all over the Packers D and Ryan Grant went nowhere but of course it is all Favre’s fault for the Giants loss.

    Most of the logic I see from the good to see Favre go types and the Rodgers is the next “Steve Young” lovers is Favre gets no credit for the wins that put them in position to be in the playoffs but all of the blame for the playoff losses.

    I am ready to move on from this debacle and my non Packer friends are pouring enough salt in my wounds to make it difficult.

    I love the back and forth on this blog from both the authors and commenters. I look forward to exchanging view points on this fall’s games and not anymore of this awful drama, which has suffocated Packer fans.

    Still, there is no way else to spin it but August 7,2008 is a SAD, Sad Day for Cheesehead Nation.

  45. sfhayes Says:

    Aaron: “just because there are no quotes doesn’t mean there is no evidence.”

    Rumsfeld: “The absence of evidence is not necessarily the evidence of absence.”

  46. Mr.Man Says:

    Dude, if I disagree with your main premise, which was that TT has an inflated ego that blinds him, I get to call it as I see it– Oscar Meyer brand balogna.

    “You argue that Thompson’s refusal to talk to the media means he’s not an egomaniac. That’s a non-sequitur. ” Wrong. Your example is a non-sequitur. Howard Hughes was an insane hypochondriac, and one example hardly proves the rule regardless.

    If someone doesn’t like being in the public eye, even when, I don’t know, they’ve been voted the best GM in the NFL, I think that correlates pretty strongly without having a huge ego, don’t you? It doesn’t definitely mean they’re not arrogant, but it does tend to show, tend, that they’re not. I think that’s pretty obvious. Really, I just don’t know where people get this “Thompson is an egomaniac” lines. What can you point to to support that opinion?
    Hell, look at the way Thompson opened his press conference, in response to whether he was “comfortable” trading Favre— “No. I don’t think anyone would be comfortable with that.” Wouldn’t an arrogant GM say something like, “I was comfortable trading him in these circumstances” or “I was comfortable with the compensation we received for him”? Instead, TT says, this stunk and it was unpleasant. Seems pretty self-deprecating to me, which seems to have been his MO ever since becoming GM.

  47. Aaron Says:

    Mac – where did I say Favre was responsible for the Giants loss? It was a whole host of things, one major part of which was Favre’s play. (Hell, even his big TD to Driver was due to play design and Driver getting off the jam – Craig Nall could have made that throw…)

  48. Aaron Says:

    Mac: “Still, there is no way else to spin it but August 7,2008 is a SAD, Sad Day for Cheesehead Nation.”

    You got that right.

  49. patrick Says:

    August 7,2008 = Jan. 6, 1920 (Babe Ruth trade to Yankees). Ok, maybe the Jets aren’t our biggest rival, but there will be a curse on the Packers for a long, long time

  50. sfhayes Says:

    Triple D — We want you to smack us around, especially in the smart and often hilarious way you make your points. So by all means keep it up. The only point I was trying to make was that I’d consciously tried to avoid being the dogmatist you were criticizing and I didn’t want you, or anyone else, to misunderstand my points.

    I’m definitely no Favre apologist. In fact, I’d been so harsh on Favre — for many reasons, all of them deserved — that I wrote this post to highlight the ways Thompson is partially responsible for the mess we were in, to provide a modicum of balance. In the end, I’m pretty sympathetic to the way the Packers handled this from March 30 on — though they could have been a bit more straightforward than they’ve been.

    Aaron — Craig Nall could not have made that pass.

  51. sfhayes Says:

    Mr. Man,
    You’re right, you can call it as you see it. Happy to have you do so. As I say, it’s my view. I offered lots support for it in my post. You don’t buy it. Fair enough.

    For the record, I merely argued that Thompson’s ego affected his decisionmaking. The word “egomaniac” was yours. Do you disagree with the very basic proposition that Thompson’s ego affected his decisionmaking?

    As Triple-D pointed out — and he doesn’t agree with me — Bob McGinn says it was a football decision influenced, at least in part, by ego.

    You may not agree with McGinn and you may not agree with me, but as I said before, the fact of your disagreement does not make our points “baloney.”

  52. Kristin Says:

    I love this blog.
    Everyone is funny, smart (or makes a heckuva case for themselves) and respectful.
    Thanks Hayes Bros.

    Aaron – Kyle Orton? Thanks for the laugh. He was a nice boy that frigid day and didn’t hurt the Bears, and he even threw one of his twelve career touchdown passes.

    One final thought about Belle’s defense of TT’s approach to dealing with Favre. The trio of TT – MM – MM have presented unwavering support for one another over the last few weeks. As they should. And they’ll be better for it. They’ve gone into battle together. It took all three to take on the force that is Brett Favre. And it sucks to see Favre as the odd man out. As Mac G said, it’s a sad, sad day.

    This was a most unique situation. But the league is filled with divas and headcases. I think what we all hope, is that TT has learned one hell of a lesson. Communication is key. If TT hadn’t tip-toed around Favre the past three years maybe this wouldn’t have happened. Or maybe Favre would’ve had a Manny moment and publicly asked for a trade two years ago (actually, behind closed doors, he might have), who knows. We’ll never know what all transpired over the last few years. Until Chris Mortenson or Peter King write a book about it in eight years after Favre is enshrined in the HOF.

    When it comes to communication, Ron Wolf knew how to deal with players, he didn’t just leave it up to the coach to be a go-between. Brian Noble told of his own story (from the WBAY site):
    In six of his nine years with the Packers, Noble led the team in tackles. Towards the end of his career, though, he was approached by then-general manager Ron Wolf.
    He recalls Wolf telling him, “Point blank, ‘Brian, you’re a good football player — not a great one, a good one — but you’re only here until I can replace you.’”

  53. Aaron Says:

    Kristin – “He was a nice boy that frigid day and didn’t hurt the Bears…”
    Thanks for helping me prove my point ;)

  54. Aaron Says:

    Steve – You could have made that pass.

  55. tnpackfan Says:

    Triple D points out the following excerpt from the McGinn article:
    “From a purely football perspective, the organizational shift against Favre began that November night in Dallas, gained steam in the arctic cold of Soldier Field and became a blaze during Favre’s pathetic second-half showing against the New York Giants with a Super Bowl there for the taking.”
    If McCarthy thought it was such a pathetic second half Favre performance unfolding, “with a Super Bowl on the line” why didn’t he do something about it? Why didn’t he put Aaron Rodgers in? Don’t blame the loss on Favre, blame it on McCarthy. If your QB is struggling or playing “pathetically” give him some help. Favre got nothing.
    Where were the slants and quick passes that had worked so well? Why didn’t McCarthy get defensive help for Al Harris? I mean Plexico ate him up, (11 rec/ 151yds.) It was so bad Plexico went by the Packer’s sideline and told them Al couldn’t stop him and they needed to get Al some help. The Pack had only 14 rushing plays for 28 yds. Where was Ron Grant? When the defense knows you can’t rush the ball they can load up on the pass defense. Favre carried the team that night. The only help Favre got was from Mason Crosby. Instead of the “organization” noticing a decline in Favre they should have wondered about their coach’s ability to dynamically coach the biggest game in his career. It is disingenuous to put the loss on Favre’s shoulders. Was Favre’s last pass a tough one? Sure. But, the loss should be owned by the pitiful coaching job of McCarthy not a single player such as Favre, Al Harris, or Ron Grant.

  56. On the Divorce of Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers « On Deaf Ears Says:

    [...] PackerGeeks, on management: Brett Favre put the Packers in a bad situation and the Packers handled it badly. Ted Thompson has demonstrated his ability to evaluate college talent (Justin Harrell is an asterisk) and manage the finances of the team. He is an awful, awful communicator and his ego, it seems, has badly affected his decisionmaking. [...]

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