As Simms and I put in perspective during Tuesday’s PFT Live the Packers’ expected victory over the Lions, we strayed into the question of whether Aaron Rodgers has a legitimate beef with the organization.
We both think he does.
And here’s the potential core of the problem. It’s something I’ve mentioned before, and it’s probably something I’ll mention again. The corporate ownership structure of the team prevents it from having the kind of single-minded obsession that teams with traditional owners have, when it comes to winning championships.
While there’s definitely a benefit to not having a dysfunctional, meddling owner, the Packers operate at a clear disadvantage when it comes to the absence of a multi-billionaire who wants his football team to be better than the football teams owned by the other multi-billionaires. Whether it’s Jerry Jones or Robert Kraft or any other owner, that urgency to win, to win it all, to do it now simply doesn’t exist in Green Bay.
Look at what the Chiefs did after they lost the Super Bowl. They identified their biggest weaknesses, and they addressed them aggressively. What did the Packers do? For the most part, what they always do. Draft and develop. Draft and develop. Draft and develop.
It serves them well. They’re always competitive. But it helps to have had Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers in an unbroken chain that dates back to 1992. For more than 20 years before that, they didn’t have a Hall of Fame quarterback — and they weren’t good.
Rodgers, as Simms always says, makes up for a lot of deficiencies on the roster with his stellar play. What have the Packers ever done to enhance a Hall of Fame quarterback with established veteran talent from other teams?
Rodgers recently told the story of the late Ted Thompson calling Aaron personally in 2007 to address rumors of the team trading for Randy Moss, and to explain that the rumors were unfounded. Maybe they shouldn’t have been unfounded. Moss went to the Patriots that year for a fourth-round pick and had one of the best seasons of any receiver in league history.
It’s not the Green Bay way. Possibly because Green Bay doesn’t have that swashbuckling billionaire who is willing to pull the trigger on bold moves in free agency.
As 49ers CEO Jed York once said, you can’t fire the owner. In Green Bay, anyone and everyone can be fired. Thus, no one will be inclined to stake his or her job on a boom-or-bust move, for fear of that bold move going bust.
Thus, the Packers continue to slow-and-steady their way to consistent contention, loitering on the porch but never kicking in the front door. With 31 other teams all held by individual owners, the league always will have a team or two (or more) that has decided to lunge for the brass ring — even if that means falling off the horse, face first.
For Rodgers to cap his career with a Super Bowl or two, maybe he needs to play for a team with an owner who can and will go all in. The Packers, given the absence of that kind of presence in the organization, never do.