It was 26 years ago on Friday that Bob Harlan was elected as president of the Green Bay Packers.
Under Harlan, the Packers went from a laughingstock to one of the most successful franchises in all of sports. Thanks to people like Mike Holmgren, Reggie White and Brett Favre, the Packers became “cool” again. Harlan has even played a role in building today’s team. Before retiring in 2008, Harlan hired Ted Thompson, a general manger who has brought in players like Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews and Jordy Nelson to keep the team “cool.”
Rob Demovsky at ESPN chronicles Harlan’s impact in this piece at ESPN.com. Demovsky notes Harlan’s biggest move probably had nothing to do with personnel and everything to do with how the Packers were run. At Harlan’s urging, the Packers’ seven-member executive committee backed off from middling in football decisions.
Harlan brought in great football minds like Wolf and Thompson, and those minds were allowed to do their thing without a committee of businessmen looming over their shoulders.
Where would the Packers be today if a committee still played an active role in football decisions? Where would they be if Harlan instead used his election as some sort of power grab and ran the Packers like a Jerry Jones or Al Davis, stifling Wolf and the others in favor of his own personal glory? Would the committee have signed off on trading a first-round draft choice for an unknown and unpredictable young quarterback named Brett Favre who was toiling away on Atlanta’s bench?
Today, an entire generation thinks of the Packers only as “cool.” Wolf, Holmgren, Favre, White, Thompson, Rodgers and others deserves a ton of credit for that. But it’s Harlan who probably deserves the most praise.
Packers News, Notes and Links
- Aaron Nagler at Cheesehead TV wonders if Aaron Rodgers playing more during the exhibition season would help the Packers start faster (they’ve began three straight seasons 1-2). To me, the issue with the Packers slow starts isn’t Rodgers, it’s a bland and vanilla scheme on offense. It seems to take Mike McCarthy a month or so to really start mixing things up and trying different things on offense. Would that change if Rodgers played more? Maybe. Even if it does, I’d still be skeptical about playing my MVP quarterback who has had significant injuries in consecutive seasons and has already endured multiple concussions too much in games that don’t matter.
- You probably already knew this, but Tex at Acme Packing Co. goes into detail why the Packers are among the best at drafting offensive players.
- Not to toot our own horn here at ALLGBP.com, but……toot, toot. There’s been some great content on the site this week. If you missed it, check out Jay’s X’s and O’s piece on nose tackles and Thomas’s viewpoint on the nose tackle position. If you’re thirst for defensive line talk still hasn’t been quenched, check out Jeff on the Packers d-line overall.
- Lost amidst the season-ending collapse in 2014 was the fact that punter Tim Masthay wasn’t very good. The Packers brought in Cody Mandell to compete with Masthay in training camp. Hey, a little competition seemed to work for Mason Crosby. We’ll see if it also works for the other guy on the team who makes his living with his leg.
- Big Phat Eddie Lacy isn’t worried about being too fat. Lacy can enjoy all the crab legs and crawfish he wants as long as he keeps trucking defenders.
- The Sporting News picked the Packers to win the Super Bowl. In other news, I had no idea The Sporting News was still around.
Non Packers links and other Nonsense
- This guy was held captive by Somali pirates for 977 days and he’s got an amazing story to tell.
- Man, check out all the eating former Chargers center Nick Hardwick had to do in order to maintain his size. I never really think about how much an offensive linemen or defensive linemen eats. I always assumed they’re just big dudes, but obviously, that’s not always the case.
- Yesterday was the 10th International Day of Slayer. How did you celebrate?
Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .