Turning the Tide: Why Green Bay Packers' Ted Thompson Can Become Popular in 2010
Do not adjust your monitors, I actually typed the headline correctly.
Such a scenario two years ago would have labeled insane, stupid, loony, and everything else in between. However, after the Packers' 7-1 surge to finish 2009 with an 11-5 record and a wild card berth, the improbable could very well become reality.
General Manager Ted Thompson could become a popular figure for a majority of Packer fans by the time the 2010 season concludes.
Now before anyone starts kicking my e-butt in the comments below, hear me out.
As last season wound down with the Packers winning seven of their last eight, Packer fans were as united as they had ever been in the A.B. (After Brett) era.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was lighting up scoreboards behind a repaired offensive line, and the new 3-4 defense shut down opponents, rising to finish the year ranked second overall. While the season ended with a heartbreaking wild card round loss to the Arizona Cardinals in overtime, many Packer fans saw big things for the team in 2010.
Let's wind the clock back even further, about two years. I am not going to recount the whole drama, but quarterback Brett Favre was traded to the Jets. Cheesehead Nation was on the verge of a civil war, and Thompson was bedeviled as "the evil TT." Some local radio stations even ran promotions that asked, "Is Ted Thompson SATAN?!"
Fast forward to now. Thompson still has his detractors (all NFL GMs do), but they have become a small minority. Those who have changed their mind about Thopson have moved from hatred to more of a "meh."
That can change this season.
Thanks to the superb play of his draft picks, Rodgers, wide receiver Greg Jennings, linebacker Clay Matthews, among others, Thompson's popularity may be on the upswing, despite the fact that he will forever be known as "the guy who traded Brett Favre."
If the Packers go to Dallas and win Super Bowl XLV, Thompson will move up to Ron Wolf's stature with Packer fans.
It sounds crazy right now, but if you are a Thompson hater and they win the whole smash, you will have no argument. The Lombardi Trophy speaks volumes.
Even if the Packers don't win it all, a second straight playoff appearance with one or two wins in the postseason may be enough to get the rest of the fans off of Thompson's back.
No, he hasn't been as aggressive in free agency as others, but can you argue with the results? The offense remains a top unit despite the loss of a Hall of Fame quarterback and the defense was the second best in the NFL.
The one thing Thompson has been lacking is consistency. Since he took over in 2005, the Packers have gone 4-12, 8-8, 13-3, 6-10, and 11-5. There have been no back-to-back winning seasons (or playoff appearances), but also, no back-to-back losing seasons either.
If the Packers go back to the playoffs this season, Thompson's popularity will rise. If they fall off and somehow miss the postseason, the fans will be back on his case.
It's a big season for both Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy, despite the successes of last season. It's all about how they handle success and high expectations. McCarthy has acknowledged as much.
They failed in 2008 coming off a stunning 2007 season. Let's see how they do in 2010.
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