I guess I’m an old-fashioned guy.
I believe that there are employers and there are employees.
I am of the opinion that there are those who head companies and have the responsibility of calling the shots, making the decisions they feel are best for the organization.
And those who are paid to produce the best product possible.
I don’t feel, using an old term, that the inmates should run the asylum.
I don’t care whether the company makes computers or fields a professional football team.
There is only one way to do it right.
That’s why I am tired of this never-ending Aaron Rodgers soap opera.
I realize pro football is an entertainment enterprise.
Fans are critical to the success of the sport.
The fans who attend the games. The fans who watch. The fans who follow from afar.
Aaron Rodgers is one of the finest quarterbacks ever to play in the NFL.
He was voted the league’s Most Valuable Player last season. He has won one Super Bowl, and has had the Green Bay Packers contending for a lot more in his brilliant 16-year career.
But Aaron Rodgers feels disrespected because the Packers have not consulted with him on decisions they’ve made, and have not included him in their plans of running the organization.
I love that word. Disrespected.
Rodgers is in the midst of a four-year extension to his previous contract worth up to $138 million through salary escalators and incentives. His average salary is $33.5 million a year.
I may be missing the point, but I’d say those numbers indicate the Packers respect Aaron Rodgers.
It seems every time the quarterback has something to say, there is a veiled threat that perhaps Rodgers would rather play elsewhere.
That would seem to be true, but he hasn’t actually said those words.
We do know that he was more than miffed that the Packers traded up to draft another quarterback, Jordan Love, in 2020. It was obvious the organization wanted to look ahead to Rodgers’ long-term replacement, the same way they drafted Rodgers when Brett Favre was still leading Green Bay years ago.
Rodgers felt the Packers should have drafted an offensive weapon, like a top wide receiver, to boost the team now, instead of looking beyond.
At least, Rodgers felt, he should have been consulted before the draft and not been surprised by the choice.
There is a history to his annoyances in Green Bay.
He became disenchanted with the former head coach Mike McCarthy, and had his differences with their current leader, Matt LaFleur.
Rodgers is more on the same page with LaFleur now, but that fact may be tarnished somewhat by the coaches’ decision to kick a field goal instead of running a play on fourth-and-goal at the Tampa Bay 8, in last season’s NFC Championship Game loss to the Bucs, 31-26.
Said the QB, “I didn’t have a decision on that one, but I understand the thinking”.
Above two minutes with all of our timeouts, but it wasn’t my decision”.
It is easy to second-guess, and the decision proved not to work out.
But, that’s not the point.
It was not his decision to make, unless asked by the head coach.
True, it backfired, but what happened to the adage, we win as a team, and lose as a team?
In his last TV interview, Rodgers, who obviously has no love for General Manager Brian Gutekunst, had this to say.
“I think sometimes people forget what really makes an organization. History is important, the legacy of so many people who’ve come before you.
But the people, that’s the most important thing. People make an organization. People make a business and sometimes that gets forgotten”.
When Aaron Rodgers was talking about the people, he was obviously not including Gutekunst.
Gutekunst makes the decisions that affect Rodgers, not the ushers in the parking lot or the vendors who sell the bratwurst.
In reaction to those comments, Mark Murphy, a former player, and currently the president and CEO of the Green Bay Packers indicated that under no circumstances will the GM be fired, something Rodgers has not publicly called for, but would seemingly be in favor of happening.
Two things here. The Packers will not allow Aaron Rodgers to hold them hostage.
Look, if the Packers Executive Committee and Board of Directors elect to fire Mark Murphy, they can.
However, it would be shockingly surprising if they fell prey to any demand by any player, no matter how legendary he is.
Clearly, the fans who cheer on their heroes and admire the great players in the league, obviously take the side of the athlete. Not the guy in the suit who sits upstairs in one of the suites.
But any organization, worth its salt, has to make decisions on what is best for them, not only for now, but for the future.
That is why head coaches and general managers have separate roles if one person does not handle both.
The coach wants to do everything possible to win the next game. The GM has a bigger vision.
Who knows how this mess will end up?
Will Aaron Rodgers quarterback the Pack in 2021?
Will he be traded?
Will he retire, then comeback the following year?
There are several scenarios out there, and we’re getting closer to a resolution.
In sports, it is not productive to have an unhappy star leading your team.
So difficult decisions may have to be made to solve that problem.
But in my view, the Green Bay Packers, who have had a glorious past, starting with the great Vince Lombardi, are bigger than Aaron Rodgers.
If an organization gives in to a player, it is no longer an organization.
I guess I’m an old-fashioned guy.