For years the Green Bay Packers were heralded as the franchise by which all others should be measured. A humble, small-town team that made it to the big time on the strength of their football tradition. This franchise didn’t deal in internal squabbles. They were too good for that. Except no, they’re not. Things have not been well for the Chicago Bears’ longtime rival, and it all came to a head last year when head coach Mike McCarthy was fired.
It seemed so puzzling. Here was a coach who’d had just three losing seasons in 13 years. He’d won a Super Bowl and reached the NFC championship three other times. Could things have gotten that bad despite a downslide as the roster was clearly being restructured? Turns out the answer is yes according to Tyler Dunne of Bleacher Report.
In a massive in-depth piece exploring how things went wrong in Green Bay, it all centered around the relationship between McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The two were never entirely in sync. Rodgers hated McCarthy for passing on him in the 2005 draft. McCarthy didn’t have the disciplinary approach to rein Rodgers in as the QBs’ power with the organization grew.
Eventually, the two couldn’t make it work anymore and McCarthy was canned. However, that doesn’t mean Rodgers won. Apparently, the organization has no intention of surrendering control to him despite the change.
Packers president did not seek approval of Aaron Rodgers on Matt Lafleur
It was clear that Rodgers pulled a lot of strings behind the scenes to get McCarthy out. Though he succeeded, it appears that victory in battle did nothing to change his standing with the organization. Packers president Mark Murphy made that abundantly clear when he hired new head coach Matt Lafleur without even speaking to his quarterback about it.
Right before the Packers announced LaFleur as their new head coach, the source close to the team says Murphy called Rodgers to tell him who they were going with. He didn’t ask for permission—he told him who the choice was. There was a brief pause on the other end of the phone before Rodgers eventually spoke. Murphy made it clear that Rodgers would need to accept coaching. “Don’t be the problem,” he told him. “Don’t be the problem.”
Knowing Rodgers’ history at this point, it doesn’t feel like that move does any favors for Lafleur. It basically sours the relationship before it even has a chance to begin. Rodgers is 35-years old. His window of peak play is shrinking rapidly. By the sounds of things, teammates aren’t thrilled playing with at times. Lafleur is a touted QB specialist but he’s also just four years older than his new quarterback.
Nothing about this hire says things will go swimmingly between the two.