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Green Bay Packers’ latest Aaron Rodgers jab confirms worst suspicions about team’s culture

Matt Fitzgerald

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The Green Bay Packers are an iconic franchise, but that doesn’t mean they’re well-run. Aaron Rodgers has done his best to expose this fact, and instead of the front office acknowledging any faults, their tone-deaf approach to a relationship with the reigning NFL MVP continues to fray.

Packers CEO Mark Murphy cited remarks made by late general manager Ted Thompson about Rodgers’ personality during a recent event at Lambeau Field, implying that he simply can’t get through to the superstar quarterback, per NBC 26:

“I’m often reminded though… of Ted Thompson, as most of you know, just a great general manager, passed away (earlier this year)…(Thompson) often talked about Aaron, that he’s a… and it wasn’t just Aaron, a lot of different players. He would say, ‘He’s a complicated fella.’ So, I’ll just say that.”

Good to know this has been Green Bay’s policy for a number of years, right?

If you’re a Packers executive, and you can’t quite relate to a more modern perspective from an active player you employ, Murphy contends it’s best to just throw your hands up and say, “I don’t get it!” instead of trying to build a bridge and come to a mutual understanding.

That’s essentially what Murphy is saying here. And it’s been going on for the better part of several decades.

No wonder Green Bay managed only one Super Bowl apiece with Brett Favre and Rodgers to date.

Will Aaron Rodgers end his career in Green Bay?

Packers’ conservatism, antiquated thinking merits Aaron Rodgers’ ire

Packers' conservatism, antiquated thinking merits Aaron Rodgers' ire
Oct 27, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) talks with Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) after the game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Sure, it’s not like we can totally absolve Rodgers of any blame for his reputation as a prickly personality, but if anyone should dedicate any and all resources to getting through to him, it’s the Packers.

Apparently they aren’t interested in that. Remember, this is a franchise that’s lucked into the most insane luck at quarterback in NFL history. Instead of cherishing that uncanny good fortune, Green Bay’s leadership seems content to do whatever it wants to piss Rodgers off.

What are you doing, Mark Murphy and Brian Gutekunst? Not giving Rodgers a heads up before you traded up in the 2020 draft for his eventual successor, Jordan Love? Failing to commit to Rodgers beyond a single season after he went on a tear and won MVP?

This is a master class in how not to build a modern NFL team, and how not to handle a modern superstar quarterback.

Notice the emphasis on the term “modern.” That’s a notion the Packers are completely out of touch with. They’re always looking toward the future, hoping to preserve the long-term integrity and “consistency” of the organization rather than going all-in for a championship.

Guess what, Green Bay? The rest of the NFL’s top contenders are laughing at you. The only thing you’re doing every year is achieving “close-but-not-quite” status and falling short of the ultimate prize.

While the Packers sit on their hands offseason after offseason, teams like the Kansas City Chiefs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Rams continue to aggressively chase Super Bowls as if there’s no tomorrow. They make splashy trades, free-agent moves and sacrifice draft picks to win now.

Green Bay clings to picks, focuses almost exclusively on in-house talent, and even then, lets many of its homegrown players walk.

That cliche of the NFL’s acronym actually translating to “Not For Long” is true in a variety of contexts. It’s very much a “what have you done for me lately?” league, and the truth is, lately, the Pack haven’t lifted the Lombardi Trophy. That’s inexcusable with a quarterback like Rodgers leading the team.

Packers need to rip the Band-Aid off, trade Aaron Rodgers

Packers need to rip the Band-Aid off, trade Aaron Rodgers
Green Bay Packers President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Murphy (left) and General Manager Brian Gutekunst take questions at a press conference at Lambeau Field on Monday, December 3, 2018 in Green Bay, Wis. Adam Wesley/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

End the madness already. It’s clear the Packers aren’t interested in building a juggernaut around Rodgers, and frankly at this point, they’ve painted themselves into a corner where they can’t.

All it’d take would be a multi-year extension that’s backloaded so that more cap space opens in the near term. Instead, Green Bay’s decision-makers will just sit back, let Rodgers stew, and wait for him to report to training camp.

But that’s not how it should be. If Gutekunst loves Love so much, and Murphy just can’t get over how “complicated” Rodgers is, then trade him. Put Love on the field and see how he is.

Oh, but that dynamic duo calling the shots needs to keep one thing in mind: No matter how good Love is, he probably won’t reach the heights Favre and Rodgers achieved. Therefore, y’all might want to surround Love with, you know, a loaded roster while he’s on that cheap rookie contract.

Or are the Packers too dense to realize that is a winning formula in the modern NFL, and how a franchise would theoretically get the most out of, and best evaluate, their young, rising quarterback?

Will they even attempt to wrap their heads around a more modern approach to constructing a Super Bowl champion — and more importantly, how to handle professional relationships with players?

Don’t hold your breath.

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