The phrase “organizational decision” was uttered more times than “jingle bells” in Green Bay on Friday, with Packers coach Mike McCarthy explaining the move to shut down quarterback Aaron Rodgers for a seventh straight start due to a broken collarbone by repeatedly uttering the two-word phrase.
Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com buries in his take on the matter a point that deserves far greater attention: The person in the organization ultimately responsible for making the organizational decision is G.M. Ted Thompson.
Demovsky wonders whether, in the risk-reward analysis resulting in the decision to extend a supposed 4-6 week absence to at least seven weeks and six days, Thompson decided that, even with Rodgers playing, a Super Bowl run is unlikely, given the team’s pistol-porous defense.
Here’s another possibility. Remember Thompson’s USA Today interview in which he talked about fear of jinxing Rodgers by having a better backup plan in place for him? There’s a chance Thompson, who doesn’t believe in jinxes but nevertheless is wary of them, doesn’t want to tempt fate by rolling the dice with Rodgers. Given the criticism Thompson absorbed for not having a solid No. 2 after the initial injury, Thompson would get even more of the same if he green lights Rodgers’ return and then Rodgers breaks the collarbone again.
And given the potency of jinxes that don’t exist, what if Rodgers would suffer some other serious injury that would have been avoided altogether if the team had continued to protect him from a re-injury to his collarbone?
Regardless of whether the final decision was made by Thompson or Dr. Pat McKenzie or someone else, it’s hard not to wonder whether the outcome would have been different if the Packers had a traditional owner. In Green Bay, no one possesses the ultimate authority that the other 31 owners enjoy. Elsewhere, it’s an “organizational decision” that can be made — and unmade — by one person.
With the Packers, public ownership means there’s no one person with the ability to say, “It’s my team, it’s my call.” If there were, it’s hard to imagine the organizational decision being anything other than, “Aaron is willing to accept the risks, so he’s playing.”