Tom Silverstein's most recent piece on the Packers organizational structure confirms all of our worst fears of agendas and factions forming within the organization. He gives an inside look as to how the Packers organizational structure has changed from years of Bob Harlan, Ron Wolf, Mike Holmgren, and Mike McCarthy (The majority of his tenure) to the state in which it is currently in.
Silverstein gives an inside account of how Packers CEO Mark Murphy made a Cersei Lannister like power play at the end of the Thompson regime to put a weak triumvirate in place which would elevate him into a Jerry Jones like position of complete organizational autonomy (despite not owning the team).
Many have suggested the power structure does not matter as long as the Packers win. Although I agree with that to a point, I believe it is a dangerous proposition to bring new players into the franchise with the hopes of changing the culture when there could be instability caused by potential agendas and factions at the executive level.
If you have been following me during my time here at Cheesehead TV, you know that I have been criticizing the new organizational structure since its inception.
I have often talked about the dangers of hiring a general manager who is not in complete control of football operations and keeping a headstrong executive who thinks he should be the general manager as well as a successful head coach with a Superbowl ring who wants his voice heard. I discussed last season how this disjointed power structure could have contributed to the poor play on the field because many different figures could have been pulling the organization in different directions.
As the season progressed and McCarthy was fired and LaFleur was hired, some stories of this dysfunction and turmoil was leaked from sources within the organization and turned into headline-grabbing news. Many were shocked that so much organizational chaos could be emanating out of 1265 Lombardi Ave.
The innocence of one of the NFL's most storied franchises was shattered which left the organization searching for a new culture and a new direction. What we all failed to recognize was Mark Murphy was behind the scenes building a new culture and was orchestrating the new direction of this organization since before Ted Thompson was removed from office due to his ailing health. What we see now is the construction of a franchise in which Mark Murphy has the final decision on everything, both business and football.
Now that the dust has settled, and Tom Silverstein has confirmed my greatest fears, we all have to just sit back and hope the Packers don't become the latest organization to tear itself apart from within, because of a headstrong leader who used his power to usurp organizational control.
Let's examine the comparison between Murphy's powerplay and Jerry Jones taking full organizational autonomy in the mid-'90s. Before we start comparing both of these gentleman's powerplays, let me first say as principal owner, Jerry Jones could do whatever he pleases.
However, the reason for comparing these similar circumstances is to examine how it has negatively affected the Cowboys organization and how the Packers board of trustees should use this as a cautionary tale.
When the Cowboys were in the midst of their glory days, Jerry Jones believed that Jimmy Johnson received all of the glory for leading the organization to the top of the sport. Jones believed he could Johnson's job as well as he did if not better. This lead to a power struggle within the organization that forced Jimmy Johnson to leave the organization as Jones took over complete control of the Cowboys.
Since Jones took complete control over his franchise, the Cowboys organization has suffered on the field.
They won 1 more Superbowl with Jimmy Johnson's players but have failed to reach the big game since 1995. During the last 25 years, the Cowboys have made foolish football decisions and have squandered their immense resources at times. Just when it looked like Jerry Jones had finally stepped aside and let Bill Parcells take over making the football decisions, Jone's ego got in the way and forced Parcells out the door.
Since Murphy has assumed complete control of the Packers organization, the franchise has had instability and has shown signs of late 90's and 2000's Dallas Cowboys dysfunction. Dissention and turmoil have been abounding within the organization and Murphy has hired a group of coaches and executives that he can control. With these revelations of organizational turmoil, we have to wonder whether Murphy thought McCarthy and Thompson were given too much of the credit for the organization's success during their tenures.
From Tom Silverstein's article, we can glean that Murphy is the not so invisible hand of the organization whose fingerprints are on every business and football move the team makes. Evidence of Murphy's organizational autonomy was apparently displayed during the of hiring LaFleur's coaching staff, most notably, in the hiring of the Packers new special teams coordinator. Silverstein provides evidence of Murphy wielding his power despite his statement that "Matt (LaFleur) has the power to hire who he wants".
It is clear Murphy cannot be taken at his word whenever he claims members of his executive and coaching staff have the freedom to make their own choices. One thing is for certain, the successes and failures of the Packers franchise will now be solely on the shoulders of Mark Murphy as he is the clearly the figurehead steering the Packers organization.
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I agree that this is a concern, however the way I see it, there is change being made for the good. This article seems like he's saying that the disorder is growing, when in fact the disorder is in the past and is DECREASING.
Or so we hope.
Given the circumstances, I think we are VERY lucky to have landed La Fleur. I have a ton of confidence in this dude. If he wins, and I think he will, he will have earned the right to lead this team, and can be given more autonomy. Meanwhile, he's a young coach. Maybe the extra structure will be beneficial until he gets his sea legs.
If anything goes haywire, the buck stops at Murphy. I kind of feel like he's doing it right, exactly what needs to be done.
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