Championships are obviously great, but every Packers president in team history has really had one much bigger goal: protect the franchise. And there’s only one way to protect the franchise in a business as ruthless as the NFL: make sure you can keep making money.
We’re conditioned to think that winning is the be-all, end-all in professional sports, but the “professional” part of that two-word phrase means that business is always going to come first, and for the NFL’s only community-owned team, the team’s business interests are paramount.
The Packers are no trust fund baby. There’s no deep-pocketed owner to give the franchise an injection of cash if things turn dire. Other than the revenue sharing they get from the league as a whole, the team itself is on the hook for all of its own funds.
Mark Murphy’s tenure as the Packers’ president should be judged in light of this reality, and I think history will look kindly on him in that regard. True, it’s easier to make money with a Hall of Fame quarterback at the helm, but Murphy has taken great care to diversify the Packers’ business interests and make them into a year-round attraction to a degree that would have been unthinkable at the start of the Ron Wolf era.
It’s true that another championship would do a great deal for Murphy’s legacy. But off-field concerns matter just as much for the Packers’ team president, and no matter what you think of the sledding hill, Murphy’s been a winner in his arena.
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