It’s both good, and bad, that the Packers don’t have an owner who can move quickly and decisively to address issues that exist within the organization. As it relates to the Aaron Rodgers situation in Green Bay, it’s arguably more bad than good that the franchise doesn’t have one person who can make a decision that can’t be questioned within the organization, now or later.
On one hand, Packers fans should be happy that there’s no single person who can give in to whatever whims or impulses he or she may have on a given day. Other teams have owners like that, and it can be problematic when an owner who really doesn’t know as much about football as the people paid to know all about football begins to make football decisions as the reaction to a bad game or a bad month or a bad season.
On the other hand, Packers fans should be chagrined by the reality that the franchise lacks that one person who has the power to take swift and severe action when needed. Because sometimes it is needed.
Currently, it’s needed in Green Bay.
The Packers need someone with the unilateral ability to make a full and final decision regarding the Rodgers situation. Whatever the answer may be — sign Rodgers to a lifetime contract and trade Jordan Love, tell Rodgers he plays for Green Bay or he plays for no one, or fire anyone whose name is on his Ryan Howard list of those who have wronged Rodgers in any way — the Packers would benefit from having one person who can make the decision without concern that someone else may not like it.
In Green Bay, the closest thing they have to that person is CEO Mark Murphy. But Murphy has six other members of an executive committee who, in theory, have power over him. And the executive committee has nearly 40 persons on a board of directors who, in theory, have power over them. And the board has thousands of shareholders who, in theory, have power over them.
Ultimately, the shareholders own the team, even if they don’t really own anything more than a piece of paper that serves as a unique item of memorabilia. The power of true ownership in Green Bay is so diluted that there’s no way to gather it and use it swiftly and suddenly, when (as in this specific situation) it needs to be deployed.
Although an effort eventually could be launched to replace Murphy if/when he handles the situation to the sufficient dissatisfaction of those to whom he answers, those to whom he answers have no practical ability to step in and take the wheel. Yes, this means Murphy has the power to handle the situation. But, no, he won’t use it the way that a traditional owner could or would.
As 49ers CEO Jed York said when the team found itself mired in less than mediocrity, you can’t fire the owner. In Green Bay, you can fire the CEO. Rodgers reportedly wants G.M. Brian Gutekunst to be fired. Perhaps implicit in that message is that Rodgers would actually prefer that the axe fall one level higher, with Murphy getting the boot, too (or instead).
Rodgers is willing to serve up his revenge more frozen than tundra. His current effort to get out of Green Bay could be aimed at part in forcing the front office to make enough missteps to set the stage for a full regime change. Regardless, without one specific person in Green Bay who can issue a decree that will face no resistance now or in the future, it becomes very difficult for the Packers to fix this problem quickly and cleanly.
Thus, while there are many good reasons to not have an owner who can roll out of bed on any given day and start messing up the football operation, the lack of a person who can start writing checks and/or issuing pink slips unfettered makes it harder than it otherwise would be for the Packers to find the cheese on the other side of the Aaron Rodgers maze.