Now that the Packer season is well over, it might be time to put it all behind us. It was a grind. It was also relatively uncharted waters for the Packer faithful seeing a stretch of losing 7 games in 8 tries and averaging less than 20 points per contest in those losses. Aaron Rodgers, as one might expect, is pretty much who everyone was talking about the entire season. Was he coming back? Does his absence from all workouts and mini camps and OTA’s and pre-season have something to do with the Packers offensive woes? As long as #12 is in green and gold, he will certainly be the eye of the storm….that is completely by design. So what exactly happened this past season that left Packer fans watching more and rooting less come playoff time? Here is one guy’s theory:
Anyone paying any attention to the media or has a Facebook or Twitter account knows that Packer Nation is hugely divided regarding AR12. Back when they lost to SF in the playoffs in LeFleur’s first season, I wrote a piece and dared to ask the question “what if the least of our worries isn’t really the least of our worries”. I was skewered as you might imagine. Fast forward to today…I believe the Rodgers critics outnumber the die hards by a decent amount. And with this massive divide in the fan base comes a similar divide in the locker room. I have heard more “calling out” from multiple parties than I ever had heard in 50 plus years of being a fan. So if the fan base is strongly divided…and the locker room is at least somewhat divided, wouldn’t it stand to reason that the front office is equally divided? Hear me out.
I believe that Aaron Rodgers was kept this year for one reason. Money. Is it possible he has a great season this past year…of course, he’s a 4 time MVP. Could the Packers have meshed right away and taken a run in the playoffs….absolutely, they have one of the strongest rosters in all of football according to Pro Football Focus (in my opinion “The Bible” in terms of NFL information). But was that the main factor in the return of Aaron Rodgers to the Packers? I believe not. I believe it was simply a financial decision. Like him, hate him or indifferent about him, you gotta admit one thing…AR12 is a cash cow. He knows it…the Packers know it…his sponsors know it…the dudes he does a Podcast with know it. It is hard to turn away a guy that you KNOW translates into a top dollar earner for your organization. And all the while Murphy has been the top dog, the marketing of the Packers has gone through the roof. Just that Packer Playland that used to be the old K-Mart is an amazing add for the organization. Bob Harlan knew football. Mark Murphy knows how to sell football.
I believe the divide in the fans and the divide in the locker room goes in lock step with the divide in the front office. I believe Gutey and LeFleur were both absolutely OK with Rodgers being gone AT LEAST as early as last season. A player on your team winning MVP means little if your team loses. And both of these guys are younger men who will want to remain employed long after Rodgers retires or is shipped elsewhere….they are also the guys that drafted Love…just sayin’. The Russell Wilson-type haul they would have gotten in picks is attractive to say the least, and even more so attractive when your team underachieved anyway. I believe Mark Murphy and the Board of Directors said AR12 stays this season at the very least. And why would they want that? Well, after a 2021 year that Covid gave the NFL a huge hit, the Packers posted a 38M loss. I don’t think Mark Murphy wanted any part of being the franchise that shipped off the 4 time…back-to-back MVP coming off of a historic financial loss like that. For the record, the Pack posted a record 77M profit in 2022. You will undoubtedly see 2023 numbers be equally high. Corporations right ships quickly.
But wait, the Packers are publicly owned so this can’t possibly be about money and profitability, can it? Well consider this. The Chicago Bears have 8 people on their Board of Directors and 5 of em are McCaskeys. The Dallas Cowboys list no Board of Directors on their website…just an owner and 3 “executives” named Jones. Tampa Bay has no real board, just 6 people on the executive team…all named Glazer. The Green Bay Packers list 42 people on their Board of Directors. Don’t mistake value for profits. Yes the overall value of the Packers falls to no one because no one owns them. But rest assured, the Board of Directors definitely has a dog in the fight in terms of profitability. And coming off a 38M loss? I believe Rodgers was asked to stay..paid a ton of money to stay and I really don’t think Gutey or LeFleur had a whole lot of say in it. Now that is a bit of a reach on all of it…I get it. And if I even consider believing that, then I must believe that the Board is praying for a return. Kinda. If it happens, the cash still flows but I ain’t sure LeFleur can sustain another season even remotely close to this last one…and that is certainly a complete possibility. And WTF do you do with Love?
I think they kept Rodgers at all costs and if he leaves town tomorrow he’s gonna be hugely responsible for about 150M of profit, coming off a huge loss. Interesting number. And the game Aaron Rodgers NEVER loses at.