Packers CEO: “I’m not ready to give up on the season”

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As the Packers face a low-probability run-the-table-and-get-plenty-of-help scenario to make it to the playoffs, the man in charge of the franchise isn’t ready to fold the tents.

“I’ve heard from a lot of fans this week regarding the state of the team,” Packers CEO Mark Murphy writes in the preamble to an online Q&A. “Many have said that, since the chances of making the playoffs are so slim, we should sit some of our starters (including Aaron Rodgers), play more of our younger players and focus on the future. Others have said that we shouldn’t worry about winning and that a benefit would be that we would have a better draft position.”

It’s a bit of a surprise that Murphy would proactively address the issue of tanking. Yes, the temptation to tank is real, and from a business standpoint it makes plenty of sense to put lesser players on the field under the guise of evaluating them, but with a broader goal of losing now and winning in April via higher slots in each of the seven rounds of the draft. But the NFL and its teams typically avoid affirmatively discussing (and in turn legitimizing) what amounts to a direct threat to the integrity of late-season games between teams that have something on the line and teams that don’t.

“I’m not ready to give up on the season,” Murphy adds, as if he or anyone else would admit to giving in to the tanking temptation. “Now, I realize that we are 4-6-1 (and as Bill Parcells famously said, ‘You are what your record says you are’) and that we haven’t played well. However, we still have almost a third of the season left to play. I know that the odds of making the playoffs are slim (I’ve seen odds range from 3 to 15 percent), but we still have a lot to play for. If we can finish the season strong, even if we don’t make the playoffs (and crazier things have happened), it will give the team confidence that can carry over to next year. Also, from the individual player’s standpoint, the average career is so short (3.1 years) and every game means so much, they all have much to play for over the next five weeks.”

Murphy doesn’t mention that the head coach also has a strong incentive to win as many games as possible, in an effort to save his job. But that goes without saying, especially since Murphy says nothing in the column that would or could be interpreted as an indication that Mike McCarthy definitely will return in 2019.

52 responses to “Packers CEO: “I’m not ready to give up on the season”

  1. To me, there’s a big difference between “tanking” and realistic team/asset management.

    If your season has obviously gone down the tubes, and you clearly aren’t going anywhere, then how does it benefit you either in the short or long term to be delusional about it? Why wouldn’t you move out aging players or expiring deals for some kind of asset and get your younger guys some experience to either see who is/isn’t worth retaining long term, or who can step up, who can potentially earn a role etc? Is that “tanking” or just being realistic and setting yourself up in a better position moving forward?

    Players, even on bad teams, do not want to lose. More/higher draft picks just mean more of them who are likely losing their place next season. Bad games on tape mean less teams that will show them interest, give them smaller offers. Same goes for coaches. Losing = better chance of being fired, whereas leading underwhelming teams to victories in tough situations increases their stock more than anything.

    There is no situation where ANY of them would “prefer to lose” or try to “tank”. And if management makes moves for the future when there’s obviously nothing to achieve in the present, i don’t call that “tanking”. I call that intelligent realistic team and asset management.

    Even how everyone thought the Bills were “tanking” last year because they traded Sammy Watkins before the season. Then they went on and ended the longest playoff drought in sports.

    People have a very misguided and overly broad definition of what “tanking” is. People think everything is tanking. That word gets thrown around more than “elite” used to when discussing quarterbacks.

    Let’s get some perspective here.

  2. “Many have said that, since the chances of making the playoffs are so slim, we should sit some of our starters (including Aaron Rodgers),..
    —-
    Don’t worry, Rodgers will quit and leave for California as soon as the Packers are mathematically eliminated. Just like last year.

  3. I definitely want Rodgers to play all 16 games. He needs to own this terrible record. Everybody gives him all the credit for every single win. It’s time he took the blame for all these losses that are piling up.

  4. Ah, yes. The haters from Minnecrapolis are out in full force today. In the end their team WON’T be hoisting a Super Bowl trophy this year, just as it hasn’t since 1961.

  5. It is ironic that one of the best things about the Packers is often one of the worst. I love being a Packer shareholder, but this structure is bad for decision making. A owner CEO would have fired Ted Thompson years ago. He is the strangest man in the NFL. Mike McCarthy is a good guy, but he is so boring. That does not work in today’s millennial culture of I want it now.

  6. For all those smart fans that want Mike McCarthy fired, who’s a current NFL coach that’s had more success? Of course, Bill Belichick is one, but the only coach all time you could compare to him is Lombardi. You could say McCarthy is the second best coach in the NFL. McCarthy has his flaws, but the chances of hiring a more successful coach is highly unlikely.

  7. Murphy isn’t giving up on the season of Ribbon Cutting. Because that’s about all he does in Green Bay.

  8. They are not even close being out of it when you look at their schedule and see the teams ahead of them in the playoff race. Most of those teams play each other so it will keep them in the race for sure.

  9. I honestly don’t think Mark Murphy will get rid of Mike McCarthy at the end of the season. Not sure he really knows that much about football operations. Seems like once they win a Super Bowl with a guy they end up being so loyal that they are unable to move on. Reminds me when they had Bart Starr has a coach for years and could not move on from him for many years.

  10. You should be cause it’s over. You lost this season when you overpaid for the most overrated player ever. Now get over it. Over and out.

  11. “Not sure he really knows that much about football operations.”

    As a former NFL player that played for a successful, Super Bowl winning NFL team (Washington Redskins) and NFL coach (Joe Gibbs), I believe he knows alot about football operations, even more so than your average NFL executive. As for the Bart Starr years, they had a Judge running the board then, who obviously didn’t know anything about football. So don’t compare Murphy to him. Bart Starr was a great player, is a super human being, but unfortunately, a bad NFL coach. I believe Murphy would have fired him early in Bart’s tenure, or not hired him in the first place.

  12. “You could say McCarthy is the second best coach in the NFL”
    ____

    Yeah, you “could” say that. There are a lot of other really really dumb things you “could” say, too. Unfortunately, saying something doesn’t make it so.

    McCarthy’s message and approach has obviously gotten incredibly stale, incredibly predictable, he hasn’t adjusted or adapted well, and the fact that he’s coached Aaron Rodgers for this long and has one SB win to show for it 7 or 8 years ago IN NO WAY WHATSOEVER makes him “the second best coach in the NFL” today. Show me the last time McCarthy has gotten more out of less, given his teams schematic advantages and out-coached anyone.

    Give me a break.

  13. What McCarthy does these days is line up the same guys in the same positions to run the same plays over and over. His “scheming” is basically just saying “Hey Aaron, go make a play” while he blindly calls the same game plan week in week out.

    That’s not so much “coaching” as it is just piggybacking on a quarterback talent.

  14. Yeah, you “could” say that. There are a lot of other really really dumb things you “could” say, too. Unfortunately, saying something doesn’t make it so.

    How about saying he has the 3rd best winning % of current NFL coaches (Tomlin has the 2nd best, and McCarthy beat him in the Super Bowl), tied for 3rd most playoff wins of current NFL coaches (Andy Reid has one more, but has never won a Super Bowl), and is tied for the second most NFL championships of current NFL coaches.

    Now you tell me who the second best NFL coach is?

  15. I hate to be the one to tell you, but you gave up on the season before the season even started.

  16. Who cares what CEO Murphy thinks? In Green Bay it all about the VPs.
    ———-
    “Some of the team rules became byzantine. No backwards hats on the sidelines. No undershirts showing from underneath practice jerseys. All players must coordinate and wear the same color shoes, as determined by the team. When players leave the locker room for practice, the equipment staff tidies each locker, clearing it of any unsightly hangers or extra gear.
    Thompson set the rules, and it was up to Russ Ball, the VP of football administration/player finance who was seen as the only person in the building with Thompson’s full trust, to enforce them. One former Packer said that over time, these small rules add up and wear players down, causing some to question why certain things are the way they are.
    “It’s an insane level of control,” says one person close to the organization. “No fun, it’s all about the Packer brand and being a vice president. The most important people in the organization are the VPs. The players and all that, that comes later.””

  17. cheeseisfattening says:
    December 1, 2018 at 2:06 pm
    “Some of the team rules became byzantine.”

    Tough team rules, where have we heard about this before? New England under Belichick, Giants under Tom Coughlin, does that sound familiar? What do these 2 teams and coaches have in common? I’ll answer it for you, they won multiple Super Bowls. The media and the Giants fans wanted Coughlin fired, well, how have they done since he left? I’ll answer that for you too, nothing but lose.

  18. Do Packer fans realize the Rodgers contract is team crippling or is it just the rest of the NFL that realizes it?

  19. contra74 says:
    December 1, 2018 at 2:33 pm
    Do Packer fans realize the Rodgers contract is team crippling or is it just the rest of the NFL that realizes it?

    What crippling the team is too many injuries (Rodgers included although he plays), too much game time for rookie receivers (with Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison out), and aging over the hill players (Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Bryan Bulaga, Tramon Williams, etc.). Why they traded away Clinton-Dix made no sense. The #4 rated safety by Pro Football Focus, and the #2 safety in causing turnovers (3 Ints, 1 FF with Packers).

    Next year, when Aaron’s knee gets back to 100%, and the team gets rid of their bad contracts and spends that money on productive players, the rookie receivers get experience, they will be back to Super Bowl contenders.

    The Saints were 7-9 three years in a row before making a Super Bowl run in the last 2 years. Did they fire Sean Payton? Did his coaching become stale?

  20. In order for GB to catch Chicago, Bears have to go 1-4. Not happening. To catch Minnesota, Vikings need to go 2-3. Also not happening.
    That leaves Seattle, Carolina, and Washington. If one of those teams wins 4 out of 5, GB is out. That last scenario is possible. But I don’t think GB wins out.

  21. Not only is this season over, it appears that the foreseeable future is already over too. This team has done nothing to build depth or prepare for life after Rodgers breaks down (which it appears, he has).

  22. it’s not gold…..it’s yellow says:
    December 1, 2018 at 2:50 pm
    Tell that to your GM, who traded Clinton-Dix for a 2019 draft pick.

    Yeah, and from what I’ve read, Clinton-Dix is an unrestricted free agent, and just by not signing him, they would have received a similar draft pick (4th round). How did trading him make the Packers better? Now, we have Tramon Williams playing safety, which he hasn’t played much in his career, one less cornerback with the switch too, and we have injuries at that position. How many turnovers has Tramon created?

  23. No. From a business sense only an idiot tanks. There is zero guarantee and almost zero history in the modern NFL draft that suggests a higher draft pick equates to better performance. Where was Tom Brady picked? It isn’t about position it is about brains. Tanking is something dumb people talk about because they don’t understand how things work.

  24. contra74 says:
    December 1, 2018 at 2:33 pm
    Do Packer fans realize the Rodgers contract is team crippling or is it just the rest of the NFL that realizes it?

    ————

    There is that Minneapolis crystal ball being pulled out again.

    Do tell me how Rodgers contract that was just signed has any bearing on the current team?

    Throw that thing away. It hasn’t gotten you any good info that would help your own team win when it matters…

  25. Next year, when Aaron’s knee gets back to 100%, and the team gets rid of their bad contracts and spends that money on productive players, the rookie receivers get experience, they will be back to Super Bowl contenders.

    Wow, usually you guys wait until the off-season to start talking about winning the Super Bowl. Now you’re doing it during the prior season! They are 4-6-1!

  26. Now is the time to see who gives 100% on every play. There is no room for quitters. If the effort and intensity isn’t there…get rid of them.

  27. From big mike’s perspective, sitting aaron will make way for kizer to shine.
    That, or kizer will be right behind mike out the door.

  28. Heidi fans can anxiously await the “crippling” contract that Thielen’s going to want.
    In the meantime, you can wonder what will torpedo your hopes this year. A shanked chip-shot FG? A crucial Treadwell drop? A late turnover by Cap’n Kirk? Rhodes missing more time? The list goes on and on…

  29. Killer stat: Rodgers is 0-37 in Q4 comebacks against teams with a winning record. Sure, some of that is on coach and other players, but it’s also on Aaron, and indicative of the underlying flaw of the coach’s (and indeed the whole org’s) long held plan of just putting it all in Aaron’s hands.

  30. Of course the CEO is going to say this, that’s his job. But he know, and everyone reading this who is not wearing a cheese-shaped hat knows that this team is terrible this year and has no chance to make the postseason.

  31. Hey Street Tyson, curious as to where you are getting your data. Likely, the fraud known as Scott Kacsmar. So, the Dallas playoff game….was that a Q4 comeback? How about Chicago on opening night? Chicago to win the NCF North a few years ago?

    I don’t have time to do your homework for you, but your post is patently false.

  32. laxrob13, that is some weak logic. You’re just googling stats and using that as a be-all-end-all argument to rank who is CURRENTLY the best. By your logic, i guess Eli Manning is the 3rd best QB in the league right now since only 2 active players have more career yards? Is this how you analyze everything?

    Yeah McCarthy has good win % and all that other stuff you rattled off. It could also EASILY be argued that is more a byproduct of coaching one of the best QB’s of this era for so many years as opposed to a direct and absolute reflection of his individual coaching acumen.

    I’ll ask you again: show me the last time McCarthy got more with less. Show me the last time McCarthy won games by giving his team a schematic advantage. Show me the last time he played a tactical chess match with another coach and out dueled him. Show me the last time McCarthy did ANYTHING inventive or innovative to elevate his team above what their talent dictated.

    THIS is what good coaches do. And it’s been YEARS since you could point to McCarthy as a Head Coach who stood out even remotely in any of those ways.

    If McCarthy was coaching the Browns for the last 12 years, you think those stats you rattled off are even remotely within the same realm of what they are? If he didn’t walk into one of the best QB’s in his prime, you think he has even a fraction of that success? Easy answer: NO. Because now that Rodgers is having a bad year and doesn’t quite look as good as he used to, we’re seeing what his actual coaching abilities bring: zero road wins, sub 500 football, sputtering predictable play calling, etc.

    So to answer your question, who’s the second best coach? NOT MIKE McCARTHY! Not even close.

  33. We told ya’ll in August, but you never listen.
    Your roster is trash, top to bottom. Rodgers cant even save your team anymore.
    I like that Martinez kid though, I’ll give ya that.

  34. halfcentaur says:
    December 1, 2018 at 8:24 pm
    laxrob13, that is some weak logic. You’re just googling stats and using that as a be-all-end-all argument to rank who is CURRENTLY the best. By your logic, i guess Eli Manning is the 3rd best QB in the league right now since only 2 active players have more career yards? Is this how you analyze everything?

    This is your logic and you compare that to my facts? How better can a coach be judged than his won/loss record? McCarthy also played a big part in developing Aaron Rodgers, did you watch Rodgers his first 2 years? He was average in the preseason, and bad when he got a chance to play in the regular season (just look at the New England game in year 2006).

    As for games he outcoached a better team, how about the 2016 playoffs against the 13-3 (#1 seed) Cowboys, who won that game? How about the Super Bowl win over the Steelers, once again as an underdog?

    Don Shula never won a Super Bowl with Dan Marino, a hall of fame quarterback. With your logic, he wasn’t a good coach and should have been fired too.

  35. I’d also like to end the stupid argument that if you have the best or a hall of fame quarterback, you should win the Super Bowl. Here are the stats:

    % of Cap Spent on SB Winning QB

    Year Name Cap %
    1994 Young 13.1%
    1995 Aikman 6.7%
    1996 Favre 10.2%
    1997 Elway 5.2%
    1998 Elway 5.0%
    1999 Warner 1.3%
    2000 Dilfer 1.6%
    2001 Brady 0.47%
    2002 Johnson 9.6%
    2003 Brady 4.4%
    2004 Brady 6.3%
    2005 Roethlisberger 4.9%
    2006 P. Manning 10.4%
    2007 E. Manning 9.2%
    2008 Roethlisberger 6.8%
    2009 Brees 8.3%
    2011 E. Manning 11.7%
    2012 Flacco 6.6%
    2013 Wilson 0.56%
    2014 Brady 10.0%
    2015 P.Manning 12.0%
    2016 Brady 8.0%
    2017 Foles ???

    If anything, it is harder to win a Super Bowl with the great/highest paid quarterback. History has proven this is true! Remember, Tom Brady makes $15 million per year because his supermodel wife makes reportedly $30 million a year.

  36. One other thing that I’d like to add, 2010 wasn’t included because the article that I copied and pasted from didn’t include it. Aaron Rodgers made 5.3% of the Packers salary cap in 2010. In 2018, he makes 11.8% of the cap, and in 2019, it will be 14.2% (projected), and even higher in 2020 and 2021.

  37. Of course he hasn’t given up. Nobody on the Packers, or Packer fans, have given up either. We’re brainwashed to win.

    Besides…..the Vikings will be eliminated before the Packers anyway. Watching that “guaranteed” game-plan go up in smoke will be worth sticking around to watch.

  38. stellarperformance says:
    December 2, 2018 at 10:30 am

    Of course he hasn’t given up. Nobody on the Packers, or Packer fans, have given up either. We’re brainwashed to win.

    Besides…..the Vikings will be eliminated before the Packers anyway. Watching that “guaranteed” game-plan go up in smoke will be worth sticking around to watch.
    ———————————————————————————
    Wow. What a terrible set of predictions, and even worse performance by GB against the league’s worst team, at home.

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