Packers Nation Got Scammed… by Packers Leadership!

33
Mark Murphy

When one goes back and tries to piece together all that’s happened in the first 10 days of the year, what just transpired comes into better focus.

The last half of the 2017 season laid bare for everyone to see the state of disrepair the Green Bay Packers were in. Even without Aaron Rodgers, it should not have required a remarkable comeback for the Packers to force overtime, and eke out a win against the winless Browns.

Calls for the removal of coach Mike McCarthy and GM Ted Thompson had increased with each passing disappointing year. As the 2017 season wound down, even the team’s CEO and members of the board of directors were becoming the targets of blame and ridicule. Something had to be done.

On January 1, coach McCarthy starts things off by sacking people right and left. The offensive and defensive coordinators were let go, along with several assistant coaches. This was not the first time McCarthy has played the blame game – firing members of his coaching staff after disappointing seasons.

On January 2, CEO and president Mark Murphy began putting the scam into place. He called a press conference and announced that general manager Ted Thompson was being reassigned. We all know the reassignment was smoke and mirrors. Murphy wanted to keep playing the good guy, and didn’t want to alienate those docile fans who accepted the company line that the GM was a great guy in full command of his faculties.

Thompson wasn’t even on hand for the announcement. It appears Ted mercifully won’t be subjected to any further media exposure. We weren’t told how many millions of dollars Thompson was paid to agree to step down before the end of his contract, but the way the Packers have been throwing money around…

In the Q&A session, Murphy was unequivocal that the new GM would have authority over draft, free agency, and roster matters – and over the head coach. When asked a second time if the GM had hiring and firing power over Big Mike, Murphy stated, “Absolutely.”

Toward the end, Murphy slipped in an added tidbit: sometime during the 2017 season McCarthy’s contract had been secretly extended through the 2019 season. This served to quiet any fans who were still pushing to oust McCarthy right now – since he is in fact under contract for two more years.

Fans were exultant – many of their complaints about Thompson and McCarthy appeared to have been addressed, and a bunch of new coaches were being brought in to replace those under-performing bastards.

The euphoria was short lived. On January 4, Big Mike took to the podium to give his season-ending press conference. It was all about… Big Mike. He indicated that he needed to play a big role in the GM selection process, that the relationship between the new GM and himself “had to fit,” and he repeatedly referred to the relationship as needing to be a “partnership.” The warier fans among us started to smell a rat. It seemed a barely-behind-the-scenes power struggle was being waged.

Murphy didn’t wait long before making his next move. He had previously said he was going to search high and low, far and wide, internally and externally, to find the best possible GM candidate. He even added that he would be using consultant Jed Hughes of the Korn Ferry search firm, to help him in this massive endeavor.

Hughes apparently is a fast worker, for by January 7 the word was out that Brian Gutekunst, Packers director of player personnel, had the job. On January 8 it was confirmed that Gutekunst had agreed to a five-year deal.

There was a bit of intrigue involved in this hiring. Gutekunst was actually in Houston on Saturday, preparing to interview on Sunday to become the Texans’ new GM.

As Murphy tells it…

“(A) group of us sat down and pretty quickly we all agreed that Brian was the top candidate… I didn’t want him to have the full interview with Houston… we wanted to try to wrap things up that evening and get him back on a plane Sunday as soon as possible.”

So much for the promise of an exhaustive search. I’d say that Gutekunst handily out-maneuvered the CEO.

Gutekunst’s hiring was well received by Packers fans. He impressed nearly everyone when introduced at a press conference on Monday, both with his demeanor and his comments.

Also on Monday, the team announced that Russ Ball, one of the internal GM candidates, was promoted to executive vice president/director of football operations. Ball will continue to manage the Packers’ salary cap and serve as the team’s chief contract negotiator. It had been reported that Big Mike opposed Ball being named GM, so this can be viewed as another successful effort by the coach to consolidate his power and increase his job security.

Bait and Switch

A final bit of news emerged on Monday. Buried near the bottom of that day’s news release was this:

“Additionally, Murphy announced a change in the Packers’ organizational structure as Gutekunst, Ball and head coach Mike McCarthy will all report directly to Murphy.”

And there you have it fans, the big scam, the big lie revealed: McCarthy will not be reporting to Gutekunst, despite what Murphy had promised just days before. Nor will Russ Ball continue to report to the GM.

Had Murphy been upfront from the start, I assure you there would have been an uproar regarding the fact that Big Mike would no work under the supervision and authority of the GM. Given that Murphy over 11 years has shown little interest in the football operations side of the corporation’s affairs, it seems unlikely that he’ll interfere with, or even question, McCarthy’s coaching decisions.

In sum, Murphy orchestrated and manipulated the events of the last 10 days so as to have a minimum of outrage and controversy over his dramatic organizational makeover.

The New Power Structure

Some gained, and some lost, power in the upheaval: (1) the head coach has more power, less oversight, and less accountability than ever, though he is more fire-proof than ever; (2) the GM’s role has been reduced essentially to that of head of scouting; (3) Russ Ball, already the team’s primary negotiator, salary cap guru, and finance guy, has also become the “director of football operations,” so his influence has grown – at the expense of the GM; (4) Murphy, in a dictator-like power grab, has anointed himself to oversee every substantial aspect of the team’s affairs.

As for that fourth shift in power, these are some of the matters Murphy now presides over:

  • He’s the top man, over 14 others, in administration.
  • He directly supervises Russ Ball, who now heads up the 16-person football operations staff.
  • He directly supervises McCarthy, who heads up the 16-person coaching staff, the roster players, and the practice squad.
  • He now directly supervises Gutekunst, the top man in the 15-person player personnel department.
  • I’m uncertain whether he or Gutekunst supervises the director of public relations and the director of public affairs, though Murphy has always immersed himself in such matters.
  • I’m unsure who the director of brand and marketing, who oversees 11 employees, reports to, though Murphy has been hands-on in such affairs ever since coming to Green Bay.
  • According to the team’s website, Murphy directs the organization’s master plan involving Lambeau Field, the Lambeau Field Atrium, and the practice facilities.
  • He directed the Packers’ fifth stock sale, which netted $64 million which will largely go toward stadium improvements.
  • Another of his pet projects is Titletown, a development just west of the stadium that consists of a public plaza, Lodge Kohler, Hinterland restaurant and brewery, and the famous tubing hill and ice-skating rink.
  • The team website says he directed the enhancement of the organization’s retail operations, and brought concerts and other outside events to Lambeau Field.
  • The site also credits him with growing the team’s human resources, including installing a leadership development program for employees.
  • He’s also credited for donating approximately $8 million to local charities in the past year alone.

It’s safe to assume that Murphy also involves himself in team legal matters, as he has a law degree. He also has an MBA, so he would feel right at home in most of the team’s business and corporate dealings. And all along he’s acted in an owner-like capacity regarding league matters and representation.

Introducing the 2018 Green Bay Packers – brought to you by Mark H. Murphy!

About The Author

Rob is currently twiddling his thumbs on Whidbey Island in Washington. He likes to do research, although he has no shortage of opinions. He saw his first live Packers game in 1958, the only win of the year.

33 Comments on "Packers Nation Got Scammed… by Packers Leadership!"

  1. Cheese

    Kinda funny how they needed a consultant to hire a guy who’s been in house for over ten years. Plus, why would they need a consultant to help hire for a position that has been neutered of most of it’s power? Might as well as well just leave it vacant.

    • couldn’t agree with you more — the suits have taken over. Murphy got essentially what he wanted all along, Ball as the effective GM. as long as Ball controls the purse strings he and MBA Murphy control the franchise. we now have a “money-ball” franchise and we saw how well that worked in Cleveland, didn’t we? Big Mike doesn’t have to report to Ball, so he has been placated, even though he has to go over game plans each week with Murphy — WTF?????? So now what we are left with, is the only football mind, with the long term interest of the Packers as his guiding force, beholding to an MBA and an accountant. the captologist is probably an excellent person to consult on matters of roster formation and strategy, but sitting on high to approve or disprove every move made by the “in name only” GM — an obvious power grab and scam, exactly as you say…!!!!

  2. McCarthy has control over coaching staff and the roster selected by Gutekunst. Gutekunst has control over player personnel, scouting and the 90 and 53 man rosters. I believe we will find out McCarthy has more say than we have been told in draft picks, free agents, 90, and 53 man rosters. If McCarthy does not have say at this time you can guarantee McCarthy is going to force Murphy to make some draft, free agent, 90, and 53 decisions when Gutekunst and McCarthy disagree. McCarthy is going to want to throw his weight around and get more control on roster personnel. If he already doesn’t have it?

    • MM²SUCK

      And we already know how great a judge of talent this Buffoon is . . . Think 49ers. Add to this mix, the fact that he plays favorites and gives certain players much more latitude than others . . . McCarthy is a perfect example of a small town coach . . . HE is one of the most petty coaches that I have ever watched or read about. The only one that may be more of a douchebag was the coach in New Orleans that Pistol Pete Maravich got royally screwed by years ago . . .

      • KILLER

        Could not agree more MM2SUCK. I take it you used to be MMTTDCSUCK in your previous life?

        MM is incredibly petty, plays favorites, and scapegoats galore. I, too, cannot think of any coach the equal to him in these categories. He also has few equals in ego and in nonsense talk.

        The Packers have made their bed and it looks like they will be laying in it at least several more years.

        • MM²SUCK

          Yes, my new TOTAL PACKERS blog name! Too bad the board didn’t shit can the two MM’s. I had high hopes for a better, kinder name . . . Perhaps in a few more years when those two charlatans are gone . . . and they WILL be gone! Because they will have sucked the system dry by then.

  3. Capt. Fritter

    All will be forgiven if it means more trophies in the showroom. But if not, look out. Murphy is following the Jerry Jones playbook for operating a franchise and it will not end well.

  4. Rich

    Seriously, why are these people writing articles just to stir up drama and anger? What’s the difference? I never wanted Wolf because I think the whole legacy thing opens the doors for unqualified people getting into positions they are not ready for. Look at Guut’s resume. I think he is more qualified that Wolf at this time. Nothing wrong with that pick. Advice for the readers. Start making your own judgements and stop letting these writers, that are only trying to get published, stir up negative thoughts in your head.

    • Deepsky

      I agree I never really liked the Eliot Wolf pick because it sure seems like nepotism. Plus he’s pretty young. When Ron Wolf came to Green Bay he had already worked as a scout of some kind with 3 different teams. He was also 53 years old.

      Gutekunst is older and has more experience, experience with other teams.

      I also don’t think its time to go with an outside GM. When Braatz came to Green Bay, he basically didn’t listen to any of the Green Bay scouts, scouts who stayed with the team after he was fired who later would build the ’90s teams and train guys like Schneider and Thompson. Braatz brought in his own scouts and they didn’t exactly do a great job. He didn’t listen to the Packers scouts and took Brent Fullwood which caused him to pass on Barry Sanders the next year.

      We in Packer Nation are looking at this as a last shot for Rodgers. A new GM may think, hmmmm, I can get 2 first round picks for this guy. It’s been done before.

      • PF4L

        I’m probably not qualified enough to question whether Wolf is qualified or not. John Dorsey knows a thing or two about building successful NFL teams though, so i’ll defer to his judgement.

  5. Rich

    Also, regarding the power structure, another example of writers stirring up. Every organization is vulnerable, no matter what the leadership and decision making structure is, to power struggles and bad decisions. This is standard. You protect against that by having people in place you trust to do their jobs and have integrity. On to of that, they are all accountable and jobs are on the line. That is how you keep them making the correct decisions. Everyone has the same goal here, to win.

    • Cheese

      “You protect against that by having people in place you trust to do their jobs and have integrity.”

      Not a whole lot of trust had been shown in the GB front office. Just ask Alonzo Highsmith. Stripping the GM of the ability to hire/fire his own coach so Murphy can micromanage everything isn’t what I would call trusting. Lying about the GM having that ability and then changing it within the week isn’t trusting. Secretly extending the offensive coordinator, I mean head coach’s contract in season and not telling anyone about it isn’t trusting. Claiming that you’re the one who made Ted step down, and later on sheepishly admitting that it was a joint agreement isn’t very trusting.

      • KILLER

        I doubt the MM contract really was extended in season. Why?

        When teams extend a contract they announce it as it is an endorsement and show of faith in the coach. It can give the team a boost and lends greater credibility to the coach. There just is no reason not to tell anyone and everyone at the time.

        It was an appeasement, probably done hours or a day before it was announced.

        We already know Murphy is a liar. It’s been proven. If he lies about other stuff why not think he lied about this too? Especially when the in-season-extension-but-kept-it-secret deal makes no sense.

        Packers, run by cheaters and liars. Led on the field by a whining lying deceiver.

        Oh, and thieves! That whole stock scam is a total scam — give us money for a piece of paper because, uh, we are rich but want to be even more rich. Making $44,000 per year? That’s great, buy two of our stock for $250 each with your after tax money and we will let you help us make an extra 64 million on top of the other hundreds of millions we already make! Don’t worry, we will use the money to polish the stark cold aluminum bleacher seats. After all, that is the least we can do what with fans of other teams getting to sit in luxury in their own seats. THEIR OWN SEATS? Can you imagine that? Who knows, maybe the next time we give you the golden opportunity to buy more slips of paper… er, stock… we can maybe talk about that. Or, who knows, maybe extend the tubing hill….

  6. Troy Fancil

    reading between the garbage being spewed out by the coach and the President of GB leads me to believe in my mind that TT and MM were just not on the same page as to how they wanted the team to be run. I struggled like any older Packer fan through the 70s and 80s and rejoiced in the 90s and beyond, but I too had my eyes opened to the need for change this past season and TTs unwillingness to find patches for a sinking ship led me to believe it was time for him to move on. I’m thankful for what his SB team and playoff appearances but it’s time to move forward more aggressively. I also believe that keeping MM is the absolute right move! The guy might have the personality of Jaba the hut but he knows football and has a solid system in place. changing to a new offense is not the right move for Rodgers, he knows it as well as the coach and that’s a good thing! From what I’m gathering Murphy wants to be a part of the process for the sole reason that MM couldn’t communicate with TT which led to GBs current problems. I’m excited for next season and how this all works out!

  7. PF4L

    I’m trying to laugh it off, but i heard some of an interview with Murphy today (same radio station as the Brandt and Harlan interview.)

    I feel sick to my stomach when i listen to Murphy, what a clueless fuck. Steve Fifer, (who i know) asked him some pointed questions on McCarthys extension,(but didn’t ask him when he signed it, where i would have). But anyway, he avoided Fifers questions like the plague, refusing to answer.

    Then you had Gary Ellerson…who in Gary’s eyes, the Packers can do no wrong whatever they do, EVER. Gary is a liar, and an asshole, and here’s why. Gary asked Murphy (while cradling his ball sack) what he would say to Packer fans who think communication is a bad thing. Now think about that question, and how stupid it is. I listen to their show everyday, and i never heard one Packer fan say anything like that on their show, or from any i talked too, or even read about. So Ellerson asked him a fake question, based on deception.

    Let me say this Gary Ellerson, you are a fucking liar, and an asshole. I hope you read this, and if you have a problem, mention this website on air, and i’ll call in for you and we can get together and discuss it.

    This is the same Gary Ellerson, who for the last 2 or 3 years, would mock any Packer fan that called in and wanted anyone with the Packers fired. He would then go into juvenile rants and insinuate how stupid they are and question them being a Packer fan. This is the same Gary Ellerson who NOW thinks, these were GOOD moves by the Packers. Shocking…isn’t it?

    I can do my own thinking, and i don’t think Packers fans need that illiterate fuck speaking for me. Yes i said illiterate, when he was hired there around 2005, he read at a 1st, or 2nd grade level, it was comical, and sad at the same time.

    Sorry for the deep rant, i gotta stop streaming that radio station at work….lol. Pisses me off too much.

    • Empacador

      Oh, THAT fuckin’ clown. I vaguely remember him now after I looked him up. So he is the definition of homer? Anyone with a dissenting opinion gets booted off the air and then he tells the world how fucked up the caller is. Don’t they have any more recent, relevant former players that had a more memorable career they could pick from?

    • Cheese

      I heard that interview too. I can’t fucking stand listening to Murphy. He’s such an incongruent lying sack of shit. When they asked him if he noticed any issues between TT and McCarthy he completely avoided the question and ranted about the god damn 8 straight playoff appearances, how Ted was a successful GM, blah blah blah, and the past is the past. They also asked about the new power structure Murphy put in place and he made them call it a structure, not a power structure. Semantics don’t change anything, it means the same fucking thing gap tooth.

      Then the last question, when they asked about the McCarthy extension they asked why it was only for one year. Murphy said he wasn’t answering anything about contracts and ranted about how McCarthy is their guy and how successful he is. Murphy says ask me one more question I can answer. Why can’t you answer a question about contracts? You’re the president of a publicly owned franchise. They then ask if McCarthy is your guy then why was it only for one year? Murphy starts rambling a bunch of avoidant jibberish and ends with he wishes McCarthy nothing but success.

      I don’t know if Murphy was expecting the usual status quo fluff questions he always gets, but I loved that they were asking the real questions everyone is thinking. And Murphy had no clue how to respond to them because he was too busy trying to think of a way to weasel out of it.

    • Deepsky

      I listen to the big show over the my phone app for Packers news.

      I love Ellerson. Funny guy. He’s a homer, but that’s OK.

      As for Fifer, why is he so hard on the Packers? Yet he never knocks the Bucks or Brewers who haven’t won anything. Talk about two faced.

      • PF4L

        Gary can be funny, but it’s almost always when he mis-speaks, or says something stupid out of left field, i get it. Gary being a homer is one thing, disrespecting Packer fans is something different. Some people are good with being disrespected, i’m just not one of those people.

        • Empacador

          We are all homers to some degree. It’s the ones that have a platform and won’t talk about or even acknowledge differences of opinion and hang up on a caller trying to make their point. Pretending the caller is out of touch or unreasonable. Or the ones that are content with the corporate line and with everything they are told to believe. Like some of our new trolls hanging out here as of late. The sort of homers that would deny the Holocaust happened if 1265 said it didn’t, even though they watched it happen with their own eyes.

          • Cheese

            I see nothing unreasonable with pointing out blatant incongruencies and unaccountability in a regime that clearly hasn’t lived up to it’s potential. MAYBE this situation works out, there are plenty of doubts, but I don’t know how people can just bury their heads in the sand and act like everything is fixed. MMTTMM are all still in the mix, as is Ball. The only newbie is Pettine, and his #1 assistant already signed with Oakland.

            I haven’t listened to the big show much, but that Gary Ellerson was acting downright childish towards the other hosts because he refused to acknowledge the multitude of glaring question marks the Packers have. “Nope, Mark Murphy knows best. I have 100% trust in him despite the last seven years and his incessant lying over the past few weeks.”

  8. Empacador

    After reading and re-reading this article, hard to find fault with anything Rob wrote. I believe Gutekunst may have even less power than initially thought. Murphy, Ball, McCarthy, Gutekunst in that order probably. What a damn waste.

    My question is if they continue to flounder around and struggle even with Rodgers, how long before the executive committee, hopefully with Bob Harlan’s input, steps in and rights this ship? These embedded ticks are getting harder to control.

  9. PF4L

    “He’s also credited for donating approximately $8 million to local charities in the past year alone.”

    Lets not give anyone the idea this was his money he donated.

  10. Well the silver lining to all these changes is that most if you can continue bitching about the same old things.
    You just don’t have Ted Thompson to kick around!
    Lol

    • PF4L

      So, were going to keep on bitching about bad drafts, bad free agent signs, trying to convert a players position, time running out? So….doing the same old things?

      Well Tony, maybe we should all just grab a gallon of kool-aid, sit down with you next to the wishing well, and let the Packers tell us what and how to think about the team.

      • Total TMZ Packer

        I’ll tell ya what I think. Wouldn’t matter if they hired John Schneider and John Gruden and signed every single free agent on the market. If they don’t win the Superbowl EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR .you know Total TMZ Packers is gonna do one thing and one thing only:

        Whine like little BITCHES!!

        Enjoy your misery. LOL!

      • You all were screaming for changes.
        Now they aren’t the right changes?
        Lol
        So go ahead and throw a couple swear words in and call a couple of the coaches names and you all can feel better about yourselves!

        • PF4L

          That’s ignorant. Not that i’m surprised.

          The simple execution of change, doesn’t automatically rectify the problem, or issues. Yes, the right changes need to be made. The amount of changes made stopped short of eliminating all of the very people in place causing, or allowing the problem to continue. If you treat cancer, and only remove 50% of it, guess what? You still have a problem.

          But listen Anthony, thanks for trying.

  11. Empacador

    Oh look at all the edgy smart asses with their “You pussies were crying for changes and are entitled snowflakes” rhetoric. Is it really too difficult for you to see the Packers with McCarthy as head coach and Thompson have under performed? Do you actually listen to what that blowhard says and how he constantly fails to deliver on his promises? How he is going to get things fixed? McCarthy will NEVER be as successful on his own as he has been riding coattails. I’d lay money on that. Forcing his way into less accountability and over site after the shit season he was responsible for still isn’t enough, you feel compelled to come trolling around here thinking some of us are spoiled and entitled. You mean like the self proclaimed highly successful head coach who felt there needed to be a “fit”. That he should have some say in who his boss is so he can continue his good fortune? That kind of entitlement? Don’t see the hypocrisy, do you?

    Do you realize this is the 7th consecutive season the Patriots will have made the AFC Championship game, right? They haven’t been to the Super Bowl 7 straight seasons but they have been in the running 7 seasons. They actually capitalized on their opportunities a time or 2 along the way. Buffalo made it to the Super Bowl 4 consecutive seasons. They didn’t win but they reached the potential of their team. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to eek out a win, but I suppose Bills fans were “entitled” too back in the day, right?

    I don’t think everyone expects the Packers to win the Superbowl every year. It would be nice, but not realistic. Ron Wolf considered that mid 90’s team a fart in the wind because he knew they didn’t reach their potential. Was he entitled and spoiled too? I expect them to be prepared and play to the best of their abilities. When shit isn’t working I expect some job accountability and changes that come with being accountable, not the status quo, and especially not 7 years worth of futility. The shit show paraded out the since the Super Bowl is considered the Packers doing their best? Franchise best 15-1 yet can’t win 1 playoff game? Seriously, that’s not a waste of a season or an opportunity? But keep preaching about how some of us are spoiled and entitled. Fuck all you homers, go jerk off to Packers.com where the next championship is right around the corner, because McCarthy said so. Just ask him, he will tell you exactly what you need to hear.

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