CBS Sports NFL Insiders Jason La Canfora this morning released an interesting piece rating the top front offices of NFL teams – an admittedly subjective look at the best management teams – but one that not only ranks Ted Thompson and his crew in the top three and the best in the NFC, but seems pretty darned accurate.
There are those who might not like La Canfora, for whatever reasons, but he takes chances and backs his conclusions up with reasoning. Whether you agree with that reasoning is one thing, but at least he stands behind it.
As he admits, his listing of top front offices here is his own opinion, but the interesting thing I noted is that not only are the Packers the top NFC team on the list, but other NFC North teams, the Vikings, Lions, and Bears, did not make the cut.
Both of those programs have had inordinate success for years because of the guys at the top and the Packers are no different. Thompson is the guy I like to call the invisible man, the guy who has been called many things, some that are not printable here. But the “In Ted We Trust” mantra that has circulated across Packers Nation has been the most accurate description of how we all feel about the guy.
There’s little that we can gripe about with Thompson’s personnel moves over the years. Sure, he’s had some clunkers like Justin Harrell and Derek Sherrod (thought the jury’s still out on that one), but the slow, methodical pace that Thompson has adhered to has produced one Super Bowl championship and two straight NFC North championships the past three years.
Clearly, the man does his homework and provides the league’s smallest city with the tools it needs to be competitive on the field and profitable at the bank. The Packers raked in more than $40 million profit last year not only because of sound fiscal management, but because of the sound football decisions. It’s those facts that have allowed the Packers to sign their two top players, Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews, as well as continue to hit paydirt in the draft – and the guy who’s fingerprints are all over those moves – Thompson’s (along with Russ Ball and Mark Murphy) – just keeps the machine humming.
Here’s what La Canfora wrote about the Packers:
Ted Thompson is so low key and so patient that you sometimes forget he’s even there, which is what he loves. But man, what a tremendous front office when you can lose a John Schnieder — the best young GM in the game — to Seattle and just keep on winning.
Mark Murphy and Russ Ball help man the ship and keep the cap and budgets humming along, and this ultimate small market team has Super Bowl or bust expectations every year, which is all you hope for. Getting Aaron Rodgers signed to a cap-and-cash friendly deal through the rest of this decade was another phenomenal move, as was waiting for potential impact running backs Eddie Lacy and Jonathan Franklin to fall to them in the draft. Remember, the Packers have had to deal with guys like Brett Favre and Mike Holmgren walking out the door not that long ago, and they have done nothing but thrive since.
Thompson won’t get goaded into overpaying or drafting for need, and his keen eye has resulted in guys like Randall Cobb – so huge now — being picked where others might not have done so with so many receivers already in the fold.
Mike McCarthy was a sage hire as head coach. He is a perfect fit with this team and that city, and Rodgers isn’t done winning Super Bowls by a long shot. When they do venture into free agency, they often find steals, like Charles Woodson, and this front office doesn’t get nearly the credit it deserves.
So, tell us what you think, Packers fans. Is La Canfora on the mark?