If we are to believe anything that has gone on this summer, its that Aaron Rodgers is loyal to his past and present friends and coworkers. It hurt Aaron that the team he plays for, he gets hit for, would just toss aside players who have 'had his back.'
We get it, we all do. We think that sports teams, especially one like the Green Bay Packers, owned by the fans, are more than a business. We don't conjure up all this emotion for the company that made our lawn mower, or our minivan. We don't wear Kohler jerseys or Land O Lakes hats unless we work for the company, but sports, its different.
People should mean more.
The thing is, how much should we take that connection, that sentimentality into decisions on the future? How much should a business, which is what the Green Bay Packers Football Club is, care about the people who played for it, and how much should it also consider its own viability and future?
First, let's take into account the three players who often get thrown into this conversation - Jake Kumerow, Jordy Nelson, and Randall Cobb. From all reports, what has made Rodgers furious is that these men were cut, sometimes right after he vouched for them.
Rodgers went into battle with them, and he couldn't keep them with him for more.
Did the Green Bay Packers treat them coldly? I would argue they didn't, and in actuality, they gave them chances to get paid more than they would have staying in Green Bay.
Look, each went on to signing contracts with other teams. Maybe except for Kumerow, none of them signed contracts fans at the time would have thought were worth it. Green Bay decided they needed to spend that money elsewhere.
Each were not left out in the cold, in fact they continued their NFL dreams. Each received good money, and each became more vested in NFLPA retirement programs.
While I loved Nelson and Cobb on the Packers, and wished they could have closed out their careers in Green Bay, it was decided that the Packers were better off moving in a different direction.
What would have been wrong is if Green Bay could control their careers, and told them to retire when they were not seen as viable here for their salaries. But that's not what happened.
That does happen in the real world - a company will tell you that its over, and you are out, and you are at an age that you cannot find anything else. So the NFL is not like a business.
Another thing - we unfortunately have been down this path with being too sentimental in Green Bay, and it basically cost us fans 20 years.
When Vince Lombardi left, he could see that Green Bay's dominance was on the wain, and he wanted a new challenge, going to Washington. The Packers, held on to that Titletown as long as they could.
Bart Starr, who had thought about leaving Green Bay back in 59' to join his old coach Lisle Blackbourn at Marquette, was elevated to Head Coach after a couple of failed experiments after Lombardi. After not giving him anyone but Lofton and Dickey, the plug was pulled, and then they brought in another Packer, Forrest Gregg. Green Bay thought they would be sentimental and make Randy Wright a starting QB after he played for a bad UW-Madison team.
Not until there was a clearing of all the old guard, led by Ron Wolf, did this team wake.
We see it far too much in professional sports, teams hang onto the glory years, and fail. There are far few Mike Ditkas leading his former franchise to a championship.
Too many franchises try to hang on, and they have no answer. I think we don't remember how much pain took place for the retirement divorce with Favre, which led to the Rodgers era.
When Aaron Rodgers is retired at home, yelling at the set about why he would have been a better Jeopardy host, Lambeau Field will still be hosting football games. I hope that what was done to bring AR back does not hinder the franchise for the future, because I don't want the 70s and 80s to be inflicted on a new generation of fans.....