Green Bay Packers: Top 5 General Managers of All Time
Some might say it is the players who propel a football team to the top or even the coach that brings the ability out of them. However, general managers are often the men responsible for building a successful squad and reeling in the talent that wins Super Bowls.
The Green Bay Packers have had 11 general managers in their 92 year history. While a few of them have made poor decisions, several have put together championship caliber teams.
Here are the top five GMs who ever held the prominent position in Titletown.
Sources: Packers.com, Packers Hall of Fame, Wikipedia.org
Honorable Mention: Mike Sherman
Mike Sherman was the Packers general manager for five seasons in the early 2000s and the team's head coach for six.
He had great success as a coach, winning three consecutive NFC North titles, but he also made a few good moves in the GM role.
Sherman is credited for drafting Nick Barnett and Cullen Jenkins. Both players are no longer with the team, but they were tremendous defensive players during their time in Titletown.
He also drafted Scott Wells, who is still with the Packers, and Javon Walker, who was a Pro Bowl wide out before injury.
5. Gene Ronzani
Gene Ronzani wasn't very successful as the Packers second head coach, but he had a tough act to follow. He took over for Curly Lambeau in 1950 as both coach and general manager and had a bigger impact on the franchise than what his record reveals.
Ronzani changed the Pack's uniforms to the famous green and gold scheme that the team is still recognized by today. While they accepted the new colors, fans were less fond of his decision to allow the first African American into the Packers' lineup.
In his short tenure, Ronzani is also credited with hiring a scout named Jack Vainisi who discovered the likes of Jim Ringo, Ray Nitschke, Forrest Gregg, Bart Starr, Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor.
4. Vince Lombardi
Vince Lombardi played the dual role of head coach and general manager in Green Bay for nine years and served an additional season solely as the team's GM.
Throughout the 1960s, his teams won five championships in seven seasons, and it was then that the small city became known as Titletown.
3. Curly Lambeau
Curly Lambeau, the founder of the Green Bay Packers, also served as head coach and general manager for 31 years.
He built the franchise from scratch and won six NFL championships after bringing in many Hall of Famers.
Lambeau's most notable signing was Don Hutson, the pioneer of pass catching, in 1935.
2. Ted Thompson
Ted Thompson took over as GM in Green Bay in 2005 and stepped into a bad situation. The team was over the salary cap, and he was forced to release key veterans such as safety Darren Sharper.
After sorting out the mess, Thompson began building the team that would eventually win Super Bowl XLV with 16 players on the Injured Reserve. The first step seemed insignificant at the time, but when TT drafted Aaron Rodgers with the 24th pick in the 2005 NFL draft, it turned out to be quite the steal.
Thompson's first controversial move was the firing of Mike Sherman and hiring of Mike McCarthy as head coach—which also proved to be the right decision. In the following years, he drafted many future stars in Greg Jennings, B.J. Raji, and Clay Matthews.
Thompson's toughest, yet most beneficial decision, was to trade Brett Favre in favor of starting Rodgers. It is safe to say that he has no regrets, and the fanbase is begging for his forgiveness now that Rodgers is the reigning Super Bowl MVP.
The Packers are now built for future success, and the word "dynasty" has been mentioned a few times thanks to Ted Thompson's work as the second best GM in Titletown's history.
1. Ron Wolf
The Packers hadn't had a taste of success since the legendary Vince Lombardi left the team in 1968, but when Ron Wolf was hired as GM in 1991, things began to change.
Wolf wasted no time and immediately brought in head coach Mike Holmgren, who later took the Pack to two Super Bowls.
In the same year, he traded a first-round pick to the Falcons for Brett Favre, who became one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. And in 1993 he signed Reggie White, who had already worked his way into the discussion of the NFL's best defensive ends.
Without Ron Wolf, Titletown's top GM of all time, the Packers may not be where they are today.