The next coach of the Green Bay Packers ideally will serve in that job for the balance of the career of quarterback Aaron Rodgers and beyond. Given, however, the team’s failure to get back to the Super Bowl despite the presence of one of the greatest players in league history and the loudly ticking clock on his career, the next coach necessarily needs to be a coach who will get the most out of Rodgers.
That said, the folks who will be participating in the hiring decision have tried to gloss over the critical importance of the connection between the new coach and Rodgers.
“Aaron is free to provide input but he won’t be part of the process,” CEO Mark Murphy told reporters. This seems to mean, based on the full content and tone of the press conference involving Murphy and G.M. Brian Gutekunst, that Rodgers won’t be meeting with the candidates as part of the interview process.
That could be a mistake, given the financial investment made in Rodgers and the critical importance of another Super Bowl win or two to the legacy of Rodgers and everyone connected to him. Rodgers should meet with all candidates in the presence of Murphy and Gutekunst, so that they can assess whether there’s an appropriate chemistry between brand new coach and highest paid player in NFL history.
As much as they try to downplay it (and try to downplay it they did), Rodgers looms over this process. He has four, five, or maybe six years left, and the next coach should make it to the end of Aaron’s tenure. Or maybe the next coach will hasten the end of Rodgers’ tenure. However it goes, it would be wise to ensure that it goes smoothly between new coach and franchise quarterback.
There’s really no more important relationship on a team, and that relationship is no more important than in Green Bay, where Rodgers was, is, and will continue to be the face of the franchise.