Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson gives the football report Wednesday during the annual shareholders meeting at Lambeau Field. / H. Marc Larson/Press-Gazette Media
If any of the 13,000 attendees at the Green Bay Packers’ shareholders meeting had any doubts about how the team’s general manager felt about his head coach, those should have been erased just a few minutes into Wednesday’s annual event.
Nothing from the meeting stood out more than what Ted Thompson, who took over as the Packers’ general manager in 2005, said about his eighth-year coach, Mike McCarthy.
“He’s not only a good coach but an excellent motivator and excellent leader,” Thompson said during his 10-minute report to shareholders on the football operations. “In January 2006, we were looking for the right man to lead this football team. ... I thank God every day that he’s the Green Bay Packers’ head coach.”
As has been his custom during this annual address, Thompson revealed little or no news. However, he was quick to credit the entire football operation, of which he is in charge, for its recent success.
“We are one of two teams with 10-plus regular-season wins over the last four years, qualified for the playoffs four seasons in a row and we’ve also interestingly enough qualified for the playoffs 15 of the last 20 years in the National Football League,” Thompson said. “And thanks to you, we’ve won 20 of the last 21 games here at Lambeau Field.”
Under McCarthy, the Packers have qualified for the playoffs five times in seven seasons. His record of 80-42, including the playoffs, gives him the third-highest winning percentage (.656) among current NFL head coaches with a minimum of 50 games coached.
Each accomplishment mentioned by Thompson and team President Mark Murphy was met with rousing applause, which showed just how far they have come since the summer of 2008 when fans were discontented over the way the Packers handled quarterback Brett Favre’s exit.
“I could not be more pleased with the job Ted is doing,” Murphy said, “and I hope you all feel the same way.”
Nevertheless, Thompson said the job in 2012 was incomplete. Despite an 11-5 record and a second straight NFC North title, the season ended in the NFC divisional playoff round with a 45-31 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
After calling it a “good season,” Thompson paused for a few seconds and added: “But we’re never quite satisfied. We have very high standards here with the Green Bay Packers, we understand that (and) we understand it was a disappointment in the end.”
Rather than reading through the roster like he has done in some years, Thompson listed the 11 draft picks while the stadium video boards showed pictures of each one but added it will be the veteran players who make the difference with this team.
He said players were traveling to Green Bay on Wednesday and will undergo physicals at 6 a.m. today before the first training camp practice at 8:20 a.m. Friday.
The biggest response during the 90-minute meeting came when Murphy discussed league issues and mentioned the officiating. The video board showed a picture from last season’s controversial loss at Seattle, the final game worked by the replacement officials. It was greeted with a round of boos.
“That morning in Seattle, my wife and I were at breakfast, and there had been some issues with replacement officials and Laurie said, ‘What’s it going to take to end this dispute?’ ” Murphy said. “I said, ‘Well it’s probably going to come down to a national TV game, a huge mistake costing a team a game.’ Little did I know it was going to be us about 10 hours later.
“When you go through difficult situations like that, you often find out about people and organizations. I was very proud of the way our organization handled a difficult situation, particularly Mike McCarthy. He was the point person on that.”
— firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @RobDemovsky.