A look back at Mark Murphy’s legacy

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At some point over the next few years, the Green Bay Packers will have to undergo a major transition when the legendary quarterback Aaron Rodgers inevitably announced his retirement. After a tumultuous year, Rodgers made peace with the front office and signed a new contract. Still, the four-time MVP will be weigh your future after each season, and the end of the Rodgers era is likely in sight.

This won’t be the only major shakeup for the Packers organization in the next few years. President and CEO of Packers Marc Murphy reiterated the his monthly Q&A that he will retire on July 13, 2025, his 70th birthday. The Packers’ bylaws state that board members must resign at age 70, which also applies to the president.

Murphy has served as President/CEO since 2007 and has been a fixture in this period of Green Bay football. With the team already beginning its search for a successor, Packers fans should enjoy this time while they can and appreciate the CEO’s success.

Where most NFL teams cater to billionaires of varying success, the Packers’ publicly owned status means they don’t have a top intriguer to make one-sided decisions. Murphy may be responsible, but he answers to the board and shareholders. Murphy thrived in this capacity, bringing in the right people and trusting them to make their own decisions, giving them the autonomy to manage their area of ​​expertise and not interfere.

During his first season as president and CEO, Murphy underwent one of the biggest transitions in franchise history – Brett Favrethe exit of and the emergence of Rodgers. Murphy may not have hired Ted Thompson or were in charge when the Packers drafted Rodgers, but he trusted Thompson’s succession plan and backed Rodgers to become the starter.

Obviously, this decision led to a huge success. Rodgers and the Packers have been one of the most successful teams since those early days, including winning Super Bowl XLV. Murphy didn’t have to do much football-wise, but he trusted his team and didn’t interfere, putting him above most NFL leaders.

Murphy’s biggest test on this side of the deal came in 2018. Thompson’s last draft classes had mostly failed, and he quit in January. In the first major shakeup of Murphy’s tenure, the Packers promoted Brian Gutekunst, but it wouldn’t be the last that year. Murphy also altered the flow of energy in Green Bay. Instead of a linear structure, Gutekunst, Russ Ball (whom he promoted to director of player personnel), and head coach Mike McCarthy would all report directly to Murphy.

It was a controversial change. Only time will tell how this will ultimately unfold. But the triumvirate approach is working well so far.

After the collapse of the 2014 NFC Championship, the team was headed in the wrong direction. Rodgers’ game was still very good, but it had slipped after his second MVP season. Meanwhile, tension was mounting between Rodgers and McCarthy. The Packers fired McCarthy at the end of the 2018 season. Under the new power structure, Murphy would be the decision maker on his replacement.

Murphy kept Gutekunst and Ball heavily involved in the search, and it looked like Matt LaFleur was the unanimous decision. Even though Murphy had sole power to choose, he still trusted the people he put in charge.

Since then, Murphy has again been mostly uninterested in the team, trusting LaFleur, Gutekunst and Ball to do their job. It may not seem like much, but when you look at how teams like the Washington Commanders and Cleveland Browns are run, it’s the balance of power every team should want.

When tension between Rodgers and the Green Bay front office became apparent on the eve of the 2021 NFL Draft, Murphy may have made questionable comments (“complicated guy”). However, he kept their conversations private, didn’t turn on his quarterback, and was able to resolve their differences privately. Again, maybe not exciting, but watch Cleveland for the alternative.

Murphy was very successful commercially. He is truly passionate about Green Bay as a city and set out to prove that the smaller NFL market can hang out with the big boys. He was instrumental in building the Titletown District to sustain tourism year-round, and he was a significant force in pushing for Green Bay to host the NFL Draft. Green Bay has yet to receive the honor, but the city is getting closer every year and was a finalist in 2024.

The team was lucrative during Murphy’s reign, although the franchise’s success through the Brett Favre era certainly set a precedent.

Unrelated fun fact: Murphy is the only person win a Super Bowl as a player and general manager of a team.

A second Super Bowl with Green Bay would certainly solidify Murphy’s legacy. However, he cannot do much more personally than continue to trust and advise the people he has put in charge. His successor could have an interesting transition as the team adjusts to life without Rodgers, but Murphy will leave the team in good shape overall.

It’s often hard for us fans to sympathize with wealthy NFL owners, and many of them aren’t good people. But Murphy was one of the good leaders in the NFL. He was successful with both on and off the field aspects of the job. His successor will have big shoes to fill.

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