Packers: Top 15 what-ifs of the Ted Thompson era Part 3

Brett Favre
Brett Favre /
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(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

3. What if the Packers hired Sean Payton instead of Mike McCarthy?

What happened?

After Mike Sherman was fired by Ted Thompson in 2006, the Packers hired Mike McCarthy to be their next head coach. They interviewed several other names including current head coaches Sean Payton and Ron Rivera.

Both McCarthy and Payton have gone on to win a Super Bowl as head coaches, and both are considered to be quarterback whisperers.

What if the Packers hired Sean Payton instead of Mike McCarthy?

Both McCarthy and Payton are great football coaches, but McCarthy has been more successful on a consistent basis and that is why I think he is the better coach.

Aaron Rodgers would have still turned out to be a great quarterback. Rodgers was very raw as a prospect coming out of college. Just watch some of his rookie highlights if you disagree with me. I think Payton could have done a great job developing Rodgers, similar to the job that McCarthy did.

Assuming Rodgers turned out to be the Hall-of-Fame caliber quarterback that he is today and the Packers still moved on from Brett Favre in 2008, I think they would have had about the same level of success that they had with McCarthy in the early 2010s, including the victory in Super Bowl XLV.

The Packers’ playoff streak may have been broken earlier than the eight years that it was in reality due to the fact that Payton’s Saints have been a lot more inconsistent on a yearly basis than McCarthy’s Packers. Payton has also had one of the best quarterbacks in football history in Drew Brees.

Rodgers and Brees have both had similar careers honestly. They both won a Super Bowl early on, both have had elite coaches, and both have had to deal with average defenses for the most part during the 2010s.

Hiring Payton instead of McCarthy would have still been a big deal as the head coach affects the identity of the entire team, but I struggle to believe they would have been drastically better or worse with Payton.