Mark Murphy has seen the lowest of lows and the highest of highs as he begins his fifth season as President of the Green Bay Packers.
A former player who won a Super Bowl with the Washington Redskins and who also holds a law degree from Georgetown, Murphy seems the perfect balance between player and businessman, which would be a perfect fit for the National Football League’s smallest market.
With him entering year five of his tenure, now is a good time to examine what Murphy has done as well as what he didn’t do, and how the Packers have fared since Murphy took over for the legendary Bob Harlan.
Murphy was seemingly walking into a near-perfect situation when he took over on January 28, 2008. The Packers were coming off a 13-3 season in Mike McCarthy’s second year as coach and the team was one play away from an appearance in Super Bowl XLII. Brett Favre seemingly wound back the clock and enjoyed one of his best seasons in 2007. Everyone thought Favre would be back for 2008 for one more Super Bowl push and Murphy would have time to learn his new job.
Then the “Summer of Favre” happened.
Favre announced (what would be the first of a few) retirements in March 2008. Favre flew to Green Bay, gave a teary eyed press conference formally announcing his decision, and then he was gone. Murphy, as the new guy in town, did what only made sense at the time especially given how little he likely interacted with Favre. Murphy announced the team would retire Favre’s number at the home opener of the 2008 season against (now ironically) the Minnesota Vikings.
Favre’s picture was on the game tickets and the Packers planned a big celebration for their future Hall of Fame quarterback. It was going to be one heck of a farewell party.
Well, the party never happened. Favre changed his mind in the summer after the Packers had already installed Aaron Rodgers as the new starting quarterback and the rest of the story is history. Since this was mainly a football decision, and he had only been on the job six months, Murphy stayed mainly to sidelines and let McCarthy and Ted Thompson work things out with Favre.