Without quarterback Aaron Rodgers, head coach Mike McCarthy, or general manager Ted Thompson the Green Bay Packers would not have won Super Bowl XLV nor would they be the powerhouse they currently are.
It would be difficult to lose any one of these three men and no Packer fan would ever want to imagine what life would be like without them. However, if you had to choose only one person to remain with Green Bay, who would it be? Which person means more to the Packers organization?
The case for Aaron Rodgers:
Rodgers is at the top of his sport, which is something that is not easy to do. Not only is he by far the best quarterback in the league but he is clearly the best player in the NFL. He is the reigning MVP and the NFL Network recently rated him the No. 1 player, voted by his peers. Rodgers is doing things no other quarterback has ever done in history and is clearly the No. 1 reason why the Packers have the most prolific offense in the league.
He can make plays happen with his arm and when everyone is covered down field, he can make plays with his feet. There is no quarterback who can throw on the move like Rodgers does and no other signal caller has the complete package as he does. Rodgers is talented enough that Green Bay felt they could move on from Brett Favre, one of the most legendary quarterbacks to ever step onto a football field. Rodgers also understands that to be great does not just happen and that one must work hard to be the best. There is no doubt without Rodgers the Packers would not be where they are today and the future would never look as bright as it currently does.
The case for Mike McCarthy:
McCarthy restored the Packers to their formal glory by leading the team to victory in Super Bowl XLV. His 16-9 record through his first 25 games as head coach of the Packers broke Vince Lombardi’s record and led Green Bay to the NFC Championship game in just his second season. McCarthy is not only the head coach but he also calls the offensive plays. That means every time Rodgers makes a beautiful throw to a wide open receiver, it was McCarthy who designed the play to happen that way.
He has implemented a fantastic quarterback camp that prepares Green Bay’s signal callers for the upcoming season. In fact, the Packers have had one of the best quarterback camps in all of football after McCarthy began the unique experience as a quarterbacks coach for Green Bay in 1999.
McCarthy is a born leader who is not afraid to make the necessary changes to win games. Obviously, one of the bigger changes was not giving into Favre when he wanted to come out of “retirement”. The other big move was to bring in defensive coordinator Dom Capers and convert the 4-3 defense to a 3-4 months after losing to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship game. Without McCarthy running the show in Titletown, it is hard to image the Packers being as successful as they are.
The case for Ted Thompson:
Thompson is the architect of the current Packers regime and is a huge reason why Green Bay has been dominating both sides of the ball for the last few years. Without Thompson making the tough decisions in the front office there is no way the Packers are even in the position to play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV, let alone defeat them. The man was criticized thoroughly for going with Rodgers opposed to allowing Favre have his way with the organization. However, nowadays all those naysayers will deny ever muttering a bad word about Thompson.
He has drafted up when necessary to pick superstars such as Clay Matthews and selected the best player available in the draft even if he knew Rodgers was not going to have an immediate impact on the football field. Almost the entire current roster is made up of Thompson’s draft picks and almost all of his selections had a major impact in the 2010 playoffs and Super Bowl XLV.
Other organizations study Thompson’s ways and try to imitate his drafting style because they know it is a recipe for success. Green Bay does not spend big bucks in free agency because they build through the draft, which means when they do want to bring in a talented addition to the team they have the money available to sign him, such as Charles Woodson or Jeff Saturday. Realistically, the Packers would be nowhere near the top of the league if it were not for Thompson drafting quality players who are ready to contribute immediately.
Now, here is the hard part. Clearly, the Packers need Rodgers, McCarthy, and Thompson working together as well as doing their own thing in order for the team to be successful. The debate could go on forever and everyone could probably dispute everyone else’s theories. I for one had a very difficult time making my decision. However, I have chosen Rodgers as the person that means the most to the Packers organization.
It was certainly a hard choice but here are the facts: Without Thompson making incredible draft picks year after year and hiring McCarthy as the head coach in 2006, the Packers would be doomed. Without McCarthy implementing an outstanding offensive scheme and selecting the correct coaching staff to lead his players, Green Bay would not be as competitive. However, without Rodgers turning into the player that he has become and having an immediate impact on the team as soon as he became the starter, Thompson and McCarthy’s master plan could have never come to fruition.
If Rodgers does not pane out right away and sort of plays out like Alex Smith did in his first few years as a starter with the San Francisco 49ers, then Thompson and McCarthy look like fools for not allowing Favre to come back. The fan base becomes irate and both men could even possibly lose their jobs. It is no secret that if a team wants to win a Super Bowl they need an elite quarterback under center making the necessary plays to lead the organization to victory. Thompson can get the best offensive line and outstanding defensive players and McCarthy can have the greatest offensive plan since Bill Walsh, but if Rodgers is not able to execute then the Packers cannot win.
Rodgers winning an MVP award and becoming the best quarterback in the NFL makes Thompson look like a genius. Rodgers making unbelievable plays and scoring touchdowns at an insane pace gives McCarthy legitimacy as an offensive-minded coach. Without Rodgers, the Packers do not succeed as a team or an organization.