For the second time in team history, a general manager for the Green Bay Packers has entered the Packers Hall of Fame. This Saturday, Ted Thompson was inducted into the hallowed halls at Lambeau Field as one of the team’s greats.
Thompson took the general manager job in 2005, taking over from coach/GM Mike Sherman. His first draft pick was unquestionably his best, as he selected Aaron Rodgers with the 24th selection that year. Thompson then hired Mike McCarthy as the Packers’ head coach the following season and helped McCarthy oversee the transition from Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers at quarterback in 2008.
Under Thompson’s leadership, the Packers made four NFC Championship Games, winning once in 2010 to advance to Super Bowl XLV. There, the Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25. Practically the entire Packers’ roster on that team was drafted or signed by Thompson, with only a few notable exceptions; just two of the Packers’ starters in that game (Chad Clifton and Donald Driver) preceded Thompson.
Making his mark as a scout and shrewd drafter, Thompson stuck closely to a draft-and-develop strategy when compiling his rosters, adding numerous undrafted free agents to the mix as well. However, he did make a few notable free agent signings to supplement his draft picks, mostly coming in the very early and late years of his tenure. Charles Woodson and Ryan Pickett were free agent acquisitions in 2006 and had lengthy Packers careers, with Woodson earning Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2009. Julius Peppers had a productive three-year Packers tenure as well after signing in 2014. However, the Packers did have spans of multiple years without significant free agent acquisitions.
As a result of that approach, Thompson has become a polarizing figure in recent years among Packers fans. A handful of relatively unproductive drafts — particularly in 2015 — put a damper on the late years of Thompson’s tenure as the Packers struggled with depth over the past few seasons.
In addition, Thompson has mentored numerous future NFL general managers coming up through the Packers’ personnel department. John Dorsey, John Schneider, Reggie McKenzie, and current Packers GM Brian Gutekunst all got their jobs after working for Thompson in the Packers front office.
Currently Thompson still works for the Packers in an advisory role, which he took after stepping down from the GM post in early 2018.
Congratulations to Ted, and APC wishes him well in the future.