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Mark Murphy insists he's staying out of football decisons

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Mark Murphy insists he's staying out of football decisons

Green Bay Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy has not doubt read and heard the criticism regarding his move last year to insert himself into football operations. 

While he won't be reverting to the way things were under Bob Harlan any time soon, he does sound like a man who understands what the perception of his role is and he seems intent on calming fears around that perception. 

Speaking with Rich Ryman in a recent interview, Murphy laid out the following:

I’ll be involved and supportive, but I’m not going to make football decisions. I’m not making decisions on who we are going to draft or who’s on the 53-man roster or whether we should pass on third-and-1."

On the one hand, this is obviously what you want to hear. No Packers president, no matter how rich their football past, should be anywhere near the day to day decision making process on the football side. 

On the other hand, why does Murphy seem unable to just slide back into the background and let the football people take the stage? 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (49) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

dobber's picture

It's one thing for him to 'slide back into the background' when things are humming and the team is doing well. It's another thing when you fire your GM, install yourself at the top of the food chain, then hire a new HC and coaching staff. Many of us were calling for him to take a more active role two years ago...and almost immediately divided into groups who felt he was too active and another that thought he wasn't active enough. For many Packers fans, this last couple years and team upheaval is uncharted territory and in our hot take culture, it's hard to predict how his actions (and our opinions) will play out.

Lare's picture

First of all, none of us really knows to what extent Murphy is involved in any team-related decisions. If Gutekunst or LaFleur have any concerns over his involvement they certainly aren't going to say anything about it now.

That said, Murphy's current position makes him ultimately responsible for everything related to the Green Bay Packers. If he's more directly involved than previous team Presidents I think it's his reaction to the fact that he definitely dropped the ball by not getting involved in the Thompson situation sooner.

Personally, I could care less what Murphy's role is as long as the team gets back to winning games and being a Super Bowl contender again.

The TKstinator's picture

If you could care less, how much less could you care?

dobber's picture

...if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

jannes bjornson's picture

He wouldn't be a groundhog

Rossonero's picture

Astute observations Dobber. Well said.

JDK52's picture

Well said Dobber.

Hawg Hanner's picture

The article was a hatchet job. Consider the snide remark "On the other hand, why does Murphy seem unable to just slide back into the background and let the football people take the stage?" The man was responding to an interview question. He gets asked questions just as an owner does. Sorry about that. And Dobber with the "we wish he would have stepped in two years earlier" Really? That is a crock. I confess I will never understand why Murphy gets so much crap from the readers on this site but I have never noted one iota of balance or credibility in all the assaults on the guy

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Filed Under: Packers NewsAaron Nagler
Tags: Green Bay PackersMark Murphy

dobber's picture

"And Dobber with the "we wish he would have stepped in two years earlier" Really? That is a crock."

I said...
"Many of us were calling for him to take a more active role two years ago"
...meaning that people wanted TT put to pasture, or pressure put on MM to remove Capers, or any number of different things that people wanted to see happen with the franchise but just weren't happening. I don't think I'm exaggerating when people were starting to point to an administrative malaise and asking for motion at whatever level it took to have it done.

" I confess I will never understand why Murphy gets so much crap from the readers "

I tend to agree: I've been slower to come around to the notion that the three-headed VP structure, with Murphy at the helm, has been bad for the team. The only real empirical evidence that people have had for mismanagement has been the fact that MM was kept around for an additional year and the reduced role of BG as GM. Absent any real statement or concrete information from Murphy and the board on why MM was retained, it's hard to judge (although there's been a tremendous amount of supposition and conjecture).

The TKstinator's picture

Supposition and Conjecture are my legal team. They rock.

BradHTX's picture

Funny. They are also a perfect description of my marriage.

dobber's picture

Huh. I thought that was Supplication and Contrition.

The TKstinator's picture

Better than Fornication and Evacuation.

Packerpasty's picture

nagler is becoming the curmudgeon of Packer bloggers...its his thing just like Steven A. or Skippy Bayless....he doesn't seem to like anything Packer related...snide remarks are his "go to"...

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Agreed. What fans had gotten used to was the Harlan model. Under that model, Harlan once per year evaluated the General Manager. Since the GM was responsible for all things football, that evaluation was not limited to drafting, FA activity, and roster construction, but also as to how the GM was supervising the coaches as well. IMO, here we have a philosophical fork in the road.

If the CEO is only interested in having a pretty (or highly) successful football team (versus a titletown state of mind), then TT and by extension MM and his coaching staff delivered and there was no need to put TT out to pasture until perhaps 2016 or 2017, when just judging the draft and FA disasters. one might reasonably question TT's judgments. However, if the CEO is looking for titles, then when evaluating the GM, the CEO is more likely to look at why the GM put up with MM's refusal to fire Slocum, and arguably Capers, and/or any other factors that have led to a perceived decline.

Bearmeat's picture

Exactly. And While Ted did win a Super Bowl, it was pretty clear that medically something had gone on, and he'd lost his touch. Or delegated to Ball too much.

Murphy probably felt that Ted had preceded him in his job and was already an established "vet" with the team... so didn't want to change the organizational culture right away.

Ferrari Driver's picture

If that is the case, why doesn't he allocate normal GM authority to Gute.

cuervo's picture

The only "normal" GM authority Gute doesn't have is the ability to hire and fire the head coach on his own. Even prior to the new structure, the Team President certainly would have been involved in that decision at some level.
It's really no different than many teams out there with a meddling owner.

The continuing "what the hell is Murphy doing" stories are tiresome, mostly based on hearsay, and are more fitting for a womens soap opera blog of some type.

fastmoving's picture

Dobber, Lare and Cuervo are right on the money on this topic. there is nothing more to say.

For the other outsmarters (I mean the world is flat crowed) is no conspiracy theory too dumb or strange enough. They always make a big thing out of nothing and its really tiresome to hear here voice of wisdom all the time.

The structure is nothing special, no need to talk about. And Murphy is one of the better guys at his position, thats for sure. But like always, there is no chance how it works out. one way or another. But the sissies always knew……….

dblbogey's picture

Murphy is bright, experienced, played in the NFL. I'm very comfortable with Murphy and the Organizational structure.

Coldworld's picture

Cuervo, your post assumes that Murphy is a solution to, not culpable for, the problems.

Admittedly, which side of that fence one comes down on diametrically affects one’s perception of whether his current involvement is justified.

In my view, he was complicit by approval or absence in the Russ Ball ascendence into roster matters. As such he has no claim to be a white knight saving the day and should get out of the football decisions completely, if not if the structure entirely.

If the personnel he has allowed to be in place are so in need of hand holding, that only reflects poorly on him. To gloss over that would be foolish no matter how unpleasant, or tiresome, it may be to point this out.

packerbackerjim's picture

I don’t believe Russ Ball has roster decision ability. He executes how bonus, salary, guaranteed money, etc, are structured not whether it’s offered. He in turn advises to Gute and Murphy how much cap room is available. In short, he crunches numbers not rosters.

Coldworld's picture

He appears to have done prior to Gutekunst being appointed. Some speculation had him being groomed as a possible GM by TT and Murphy.

cuervo's picture

"In my view, he was complicit by approval or absence in the Russ Ball ascendence into roster matters."

This is exactly what I mean...there is not one shred of actual evidence regarding your claim that Russ Ball was ever making roster decisions. Everything you believe to be fact is based on nothing but some reporters assumptions, tweeted out to the unsuspecting fan base. Same thing with the Mark Murphy wanted Ball to be the next speculation without ANY factual evidence.

Was Murphy a year or two late moving on from Thompson? Maybe, but since none of us or the "reporters" know anything about the day to day activities at 1265, it's all speculation and guesses what actually occured and how everyne involved interacted.

I prefer to make decisions based on at least some measure of factual information, not what someone tweeted or posted in a blog.

Mojo's picture

cuervo is spot-on. It's all speculation. We actually know very little about what has actually occurred and certainly not what will occur in the future. From my understanding, Ball is just the bagman number cruncher and nothing more. Murphy works with the business people and the upper-tier of the football side. That's it.

And since people speculate, I'm of the mindset that Murphy DOESN'T want to be involved in the procurement of the roster or the conception of the playcalling. He would probably give his advice if asked and probably would be in the loop on "big" personnel moves, but what makes so many think he wants to get involved in the day-to-day minutia on the football side? Why would he?

He should and has been heavily involved in selecting the upper-tier of the Packers organization. There has been zero evidence in all the time he's been here of him sticking his nose in on player personnel matters.

Coldworld's picture

Really, it was pretty clear a couple of years ago that the TT step back was in favor of more authority for Ball. Short memory makes for dubious conclusions.

jannes bjornson's picture

Take a look at some of the dead end contracts he negotiated and you can figure it out. He didn't promote the offering to Julius Peppers on the extension et al.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Well of course we'd all like to have facts upon which to base our opinions. However, stone cold hard facts are nearly non-existent. So, using the cuervo/mojo model, since there are no facts available, then fans can't arrive at any opinions and can only be sheeples.

What's the meme? 1% control things. 4% are sellouts. 90% are asleep. 5% have the facts and are trying to wake up the 90%.

OTOH, that 5% could be the conspiracy nuts who don't actually have the facts or whose deductive powers aren't worth crap.

ILPackerBacker's picture

How is it the carpetbagger has been president all these years and it is only CURRENTLY he is responsible?

Mind boggling what passes for acceptable among some fans.

Who was ted's boss?
who was supposed to review ted?


Coldworld's picture

Precisely. Completely agree.

Rossonero's picture

The best indicator of future behavior is past behavior.

Mark Murphy has never struck as a senior executive who acts like Jerry Jones and does things like:

- wanting to be in the spotlight
- talking to reporters frequently
- talking about player decisions, free agents, the draft

Perhaps Mark feels compelled to talk more now because he realizes the fan base is as restless and upset as it's ever been in a long time.

I can't fault for him for that, but I do hope he fades away and we hear more about Gutekunst and LaFleur as time goes on. Murphy can stick to his capital projects and developing the area around Lambeau Field. If he wants to pop in from time to time with a brief sound bite, no sweat. But it should be limited to that.

JDK52's picture

Basically agree. He is first and foremost an executive - primarily focused on the business aspects of running a very successful organization. He sees the fan dissatisfaction that has taken root over the past few years, and as the executive of the organization has chosen to make visible efforts to correct things and make everybody happy again.

Nobody knows how it will turn out. If someone says they can predict it, they're probably trying to sell you something.

That said, hopefully he does take himself out of the spotlight once LaFleur gets rolling.

jannes bjornson's picture

He can hold a presser to explain why the season ticket prices will again be increased contemporaneously with the Increased revenue stream from the Ice rink and brew pub flow into the Reserve Fund?

4thand1's picture

The more Murphy gets involved, the more he should be held accountable. A lot of the recent decisions are on him and he should be feeling the pressure as much as anyone for the team to succeed.

nostradanus's picture

The Head Coach, GM And Russ Ball all report to Murphy.

Having the Head Coach and GM on the same level could really bite them in the AZZZ!

That is all...

Packer Fan's picture

Most of the deeds are done for Murphy. He got rid of TT and MM. And he chose the people who run the organization and was involved with choosing LaFluer. Yes, he may be still involved somewhat since both BG and LaFluer are young. But at some point he must let BG and Lafluer go and do it themselves. Any other way and he will be meddling which he should not do. I imagine publicly he will remain out of the limelight while in the background be a source for BG for support if needed.

scullyitsme's picture

I think the public comments from Murphy and Gute are refreshing. Even when Thompson was good and ran the pack I’d criticize him for not speaking to the public. Hardly ever. If the packers truly are a public company the gm, ceo need to be front and center and answer for the organization. What Thompson did with his seclusion was unacceptable and ultimately led to him staying too long. If he had more press conferences I bet we all could of seen much earlier he was having issues, and pressure would of mounted to get rid of him a couple years ago. Anyone who doesn’t want Transparency is usually hiding something.

jannes bjornson's picture

He thought that was accomplished when he mumbled something @ the annual "shareholders" meeting out on the 50 yard line.

Jonathan Spader's picture

""I think the organizational structure that Bob (Harlan) employed with Ron (Wolf) was good for that time and for those people," said Tom Olson, Packers executive committee member and lead director, "and I think the structure with Ted Thompson worked very well, but you also have to remember, Mark has a pretty unique background."

That background includes two Super Bowls and a Pro Bowl while playing safety for Washington as well as:

A role on the players' bargaining committee during the 1982 strike season,Membership on the owners' bargaining committee during the last collective bargaining negotiation Working for the players association and as a U.S. Justice Department trial attorney15 years as athletic director at Colgate and Northwestern.A law degree and an MBA in finance. 

It is a resume unique among NFL team leaders."

Coldworld's picture

None of that addresses the question of culpability. Nobody suggests he is not a smart individual, but many such people do not make good business leaders. Murphy seems to get a free pass from a lot of folk. To be honest, the reason for that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me given what he has said and what has happened during his tenure in terms of organizational dysfunction.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Murphy also gets a ton of criticism based off speculation with little to no evidence. There alre plenty of people that suggest that Murphy is not a smart individual even if you're not in that group Coldworld. He has a track record that proves he's been a fantastic business leader.

The Packers profits keep going up. Lambeau field has expanded seating without compromising its history. Murphy's partnership with Kohler allowed them to have a beautiful hotel built across the street while adding a ton of land onto the Packer's ownership.

People have criticized Murphy's accomplishments saying he should be more involved with the team. He gets more involved and now they criticize him for sticking his nose where it doesn't belong. I choose to give credit where credit is due. You make no argument and say he has a free pass. To each his own.

Coldworld's picture

A President rightly takes a lot of criticism if an organization degenerates under his or her watch whether from micro management or, as here, from lack of realization of the growing dysfunction by his own admission. Murphy seems not to have. I find that odd.

I find it disturbing because how does that evidence that his intervention is more competent than his prior overview?

if one has faith in one’s hires, let them do the job they were hired for. One doesn’t hire people who might be good in one’s mind to key positions: one hires people one believed will succeed and backs that by giving them the freedom to succeed. Intervene if they do not succeed, no one can be certain of a hire’s ultimate success, but don’t hedge your bets: trust your own decisions.

The co-mingling of roles may have made sense in a short term sense last year. However, now Murphy has his own people at coach and GM, let them fly and do not make the mistake of blurring responsibilities. Let them do what they were hired for and are paid for, step back and monitor but let them make the calls and make it clearly understood that that is what you are doing and the extent to which you are doing it. This utterance is not that.

jannes bjornson's picture

It looks like he's well qualified to run the NFLPA. Move to New York City.
They can bring in Andrew Brandt to run the show.

LambeauPlain's picture

During the last few years of TT, Murphy diagnosed a culture of silo management that eroded communication and lack of trust.

MM even reported told his assistants if Russ Ball became GM, he’d resign.

Hence the current structure. Murphy has taken on more responsibility, shaved GM Gute’s role (mostly the head of Player Peronnel), and elevated the roles of HC and VP/Director of Football Operations Russ Ball.

As long as the 3 football guys reporting to Murphy stay in their lane and maintain open communication, it can work.

But to call Gute a GM is not acurrate. He is not a General Manager...he is a Specific Manager of

A Pickled Packer's picture

What is Murphy's job description anyway? I really don't know, if its to meddle and bungle he has done a great job. I lay the state of affairs our team is in at his feet. He had the authority to toss the coaches and GM overboard a long time ago but waited till there were too many holes in the dike. If we cut him will that increase our cap space?

jannes bjornson's picture

He waited until he saw 20,000 empty seats during the Arizona debacle and according to One Fan in attendance, a paucity of customers in the Pro Shop during the Christmas shopping season. Ka Jing!

ILPackerBacker's picture

In how many years is it perfectly clear nobody evaluated ted?

How do fans KNOW that carpetbagger was not doing his job?

Look at the talent level, look at the repeated mistakes on draft choices as well as the PROCEDURE used to draft them. The area they came from, the positions they played in college v the pro positions.

It is clear nobody evaluated ted

jannes bjornson's picture

He stated something along the lines of..." Ted can decide when he wants to leave...he has the job as long as he wants it"...Does that sound like
a guy with a MBA making a sound Personnel evaluation??

dobber's picture

Only if you really buy into what's said in pressers. Sometimes there's nothing more damning than a vote of confidence.

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