1. Welcome to Green Bay Packers NFL Football Forum & Community!
    Packer Forum is one of the largest online communities for the Green Bay Packers.

    You are currently viewing our community forums as a guest user.

    Sign Up or

    Having an account grants you additional privileges, such as creating and participating in discussions. Furthermore, we hide most of the ads once you register as a member!
  2. Big Announcement Coming for 2015 Football Season!!

    Be on the look out for a big Packer Forum announcement when the schedule is released. Full details coming soon...

Story on Mark Murphy

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by MarketplaceEditor, Sep 4, 2008.

  1. MarketplaceEditor

    MarketplaceEditor Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Messages:
    1
    Ratings:
    +0
  2. pack4life

    pack4life Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2005
    Messages:
    183
    Ratings:
    +2
    http://www.marketplacemagazine.com/content/291_1.php

    The green and gold CEO
    Steve Prestegard Article Navigation page 1 page 2 page 3

    The path Mark Murphy took to become president of the Green Bay Packers is partly paved with irony.

    It started in 1985, when Murphy’s eight-year playing career ended. Murphy did not retire; his team, the Washington Redskins, cut him, and none of the other 29 NFL teams picked him up.

    From there, Murphy started working for the National Football League Players Association while going to law school. Murphy had been part of the NFLPA’s negotiating team during the 1982 National Football League strike.

    Now, 23 years after the NFL retired Murphy, he is back as one of the few NFL team presidents — the only other known example is Chicago Bears founder George Halas — to have started in the NFL as a player.

    "When I was with the Players Association, I never expected I’d be representing the owners some day," says Murphy, who took over as Packers president from Bob Harlan after the Packers’ NFC Championship loss to the New York Giants in January.

    "You’re the face of the organization on many things, certainly on the business side, to represent the organization and the shareholders — to represent the Packers’ interests on the league level. Bob said he was a caretaker, and that’s a great way to describe it — I feel a great sense of responsibility, to the shareholders and the community. Management is management — hiring and dealing with people."


    Murphy is now the president of a franchise that has not been in bad financial position in the history of its residence at Lambeau Field, but its financial state is particularly good today.

    "With the [Lambeau Field] renovation, we’ve really changed the financial picture of the Packers," he says. "We’re in the top half in terms of supplemental revenue sharing; we’re paying out.

    "Bob has really left the organization in good shape. From a football standpoint, we’re very solid, and I have a lot of confidence with [General Manager] Ted Thompson and [Coach] Mike McCarthy. From a business perspective, the addition has made a huge difference. But we’re going to face substantial challenges in the future — with new stadiums coming on board, I think the stakes have been raised."

    Murphy has already made his mark on the Packers, hiring a senior vice president of marketing and sales, Laura Sankey, a former marketing and communications vice president at Qwest Communications and Coors Brewing Co. He also rearranged the Packers’ business management structure, designating as his senior staff Sankey, Vice President of organizational/Staff Development Betsy Mitchell, Vice President of Administration/General Counsel Jason Wied, Vice President of Football Operations/Player Finance Russ Ball, and Vice President of Finance Vicki Vannieuwenhoven.

    "The biggest challenge for us is can we continue to increase revenue," he says. Designating six vice presidents "gives you good coverage throughout the organization. Especially with the addition, the Packers are quite a larger organization than we were before the renovation."

    Murphy seems to advocate the same let-them-do-their-jobs posture his predecessor took in football operations. He describes his football role as to "be supportive, but allow them to make the decisions they need to make to be successful. Football decisions should be made by football people, and that’s the general manager and the head coach."

    Murphy has inherited both Thompson, whom Harlan hired, and McCarthy, whom Thompson hired. Both were involved in the offseason’s retirement, then unretirement, then trade of legendary quarterback Brett Favre to the New York Jets in early August for a conditional draft pick.

    "The most important thing is to have really good communication and expectations, and then on an annual basis you evaluate," says Murphy. "Obviously Ted will be judged based on the field, but it’s more than that — how he’s handling his responsibilities, and the people under him.

    "There’s a lot of competitive advantages we have as an organization — we have football people making football decisions, and I know that will continue."

    Murphy’s career path left football after he left the NFLPA. He holds a Master of Business Administration degree from American University, for which he studied while he was playing, and a law degree from Georgetown University. He worked for a law firm and for the U.S. Justice Department and hosted a radio show during his playing days.

    Murphy played in two Super Bowls, contributing a second-half interception in the Redskins’ 27–17 Super Bowl XVII win over Miami. He led the NFL with nine interceptions in 1983, and was selected to that season’s Pro Bowl. He is a member of the 70 Greatest Redskins team.

    Murphy played against the Packers three times in his career. The two wins were at Washington, 10–9 in 1977 and 38–21 in 1979. The loss to the Packers was in the highest scoring game in Monday Night Football history, 48–47 at Lambeau Field Oct. 17, 1983.

    His favorite football memory was the 1982 NFC championship game, a 31–17 Redskins win over Dallas, the Cowboys’ third consecutive NFC Championship loss. The game was the culmination of the one-year tournament format the NFL adopted after seven weeks of games were lost to that year’s strike. Murphy was a player representative and one of the NFLPA’s negotiators.

    "I vividly remember our team being booed, and particularly me when we came back," says Murphy. He calls the Cowboys–Redskins championship game "the most exciting atmosphere I’ve ever played in."

    Murphy played for Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs, notable for winning three Super Bowls, all three with different starting quarterbacks, and two of the three during strike seasons — in the 1982 season, after the seven-week players’ strike, and in the 1987 season after a four-week strike that included three games, which counted in the standings, with replacement players.

    "I really enjoyed playing for him," says Murphy. "When he came, you could really tell there was something special with him — a great communicator, full of energy. He really did a good job of making sure no matter what happened, the team stayed together. He really put the focus on the team."

    Murphy was more prepared for his "retirement" — after the Redskins cut him, a trade to his hometown Buffalo Bills fell through, and no other NFL team was willing to sign him — than many players are, even those whose retirement is their own idea, and not their team’s idea.

    "Probably the best thing was that I had something to pour myself into," he says. "I had been accepted into law school; I worked with the Players Association. I was pretty bitter at the time; I felt I could still play, but most players probably feel that way."

    After his legal work, Murphy was hired as the athletic director of his alma mater, Colgate, in 1992. He left Colgate for Northwestern in 2003.

    "When you work as an athletic director, in some ways you’re part of the university structure, so you oftentimes must work through a committee structure, and it’s kind of difficult to get a decision made. Here, you can get decisions made in a quicker process."

    Northwestern has not been known for much athletic success but, says Murphy, "Across the board we were able to achieve quite a lot of success," including eight individual national championships, three NCAA team championships, nine conference championships, 34 Big Ten individual championships, and two football bowl games, in a program that had participated in four bowl games in the program’s previous history. Northwestern finished in the top 30 of the U.S. Sports Academy Director’s Cup standings for three consecutive seasons. The athletic program’s graduation rate as of October 2007 was tied with Notre Dame and Navy for best in the NCAA.

    "The biggest challenge for us is can we continue to increase revenue," he says. Designating six vice presidents "gives you good coverage throughout the organization. Especially with the addition, the Packers are quite a larger organization than we were before the renovation."

    Murphy seems to advocate the same let-them-do-their-jobs posture his predecessor took in football operations. He describes his football role as to "be supportive, but allow them to make the decisions they need to make to be successful. Football decisions should be made by football people, and that’s the general manager and the head coach."

    Murphy has inherited both Thompson, whom Harlan hired, and McCarthy, whom Thompson hired. Both were involved in the offseason’s retirement, then unretirement, then trade of legendary quarterback Brett Favre to the New York Jets in early August for a conditional draft pick.

    "The most important thing is to have really good communication and expectations, and then on an annual basis you evaluate," says Murphy. "Obviously Ted will be judged based on the field, but it’s more than that — how he’s handling his responsibilities, and the people under him.

    "There’s a lot of competitive advantages we have as an organization — we have football people making football decisions, and I know that will continue."

    Murphy’s career path left football after he left the NFLPA. He holds a Master of Business Administration degree from American University, for which he studied while he was playing, and a law degree from Georgetown University. He worked for a law firm and for the U.S. Justice Department and hosted a radio show during his playing days.

    Murphy played in two Super Bowls, contributing a second-half interception in the Redskins’ 27–17 Super Bowl XVII win over Miami. He led the NFL with nine interceptions in 1983, and was selected to that season’s Pro Bowl. He is a member of the 70 Greatest Redskins team.

    Murphy played against the Packers three times in his career. The two wins were at Washington, 10–9 in 1977 and 38–21 in 1979. The loss to the Packers was in the highest scoring game in Monday Night Football history, 48–47 at Lambeau Field Oct. 17, 1983.

    His favorite football memory was the 1982 NFC championship game, a 31–17 Redskins win over Dallas, the Cowboys’ third consecutive NFC Championship loss. The game was the culmination of the one-year tournament format the NFL adopted after seven weeks of games were lost to that year’s strike. Murphy was a player representative and one of the NFLPA’s negotiators.

    "I vividly remember our team being booed, and particularly me when we came back," says Murphy. He calls the Cowboys–Redskins championship game "the most exciting atmosphere I’ve ever played in."

    Murphy played for Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs, notable for winning three Super Bowls, all three with different starting quarterbacks, and two of the three during strike seasons — in the 1982 season, after the seven-week players’ strike, and in the 1987 season after a four-week strike that included three games, which counted in the standings, with replacement players.

    "I really enjoyed playing for him," says Murphy. "When he came, you could really tell there was something special with him — a great communicator, full of energy. He really did a good job of making sure no matter what happened, the team stayed together. He really put the focus on the team."

    Murphy was more prepared for his "retirement" — after the Redskins cut him, a trade to his hometown Buffalo Bills fell through, and no other NFL team was willing to sign him — than many players are, even those whose retirement is their own idea, and not their team’s idea.

    "Probably the best thing was that I had something to pour myself into," he says. "I had been accepted into law school; I worked with the Players Association. I was pretty bitter at the time; I felt I could still play, but most players probably feel that way."

    After his legal work, Murphy was hired as the athletic director of his alma mater, Colgate, in 1992. He left Colgate for Northwestern in 2003.

    "When you work as an athletic director, in some ways you’re part of the university structure, so you oftentimes must work through a committee structure, and it’s kind of difficult to get a decision made. Here, you can get decisions made in a quicker process."

    Northwestern has not been known for much athletic success but, says Murphy, "Across the board we were able to achieve quite a lot of success," including eight individual national championships, three NCAA team championships, nine conference championships, 34 Big Ten individual championships, and two football bowl games, in a program that had participated in four bowl games in the program’s previous history. Northwestern finished in the top 30 of the U.S. Sports Academy Director’s Cup standings for three consecutive seasons. The athletic program’s graduation rate as of October 2007 was tied with Notre Dame and Navy for best in the NCAA.

    In 2006, Northwestern football coach Randy Walker suddenly died at age 52, two months after Northwestern had signed him to a contract extension through 2011.

    "In a lot of ways as a coach he was really at the peak of his profession," says Murphy. When Walker died, Murphy said, "Randy truly embraced Northwestern and its mission, and cared deeply for his student–athletes, both on and off the field."

    Murphy was approached to be a candidate for the Packer presidency by the Spencer–Stewart search firm.

    "What interested me initially was I felt it was a chance to tie together my background and my interests," he says. "There’s a benefit to seeing things from the player’s perspective. My experience as an attorney can benefit me in this position, and also my experience as an athletic director — building programs, managing people — ties in pretty directly to what I’m doing here."

    Murphy hopes to put his past contract negotiation experience to work in the upcoming contract negotiations between the NFL and its players. The salary cap is scheduled to end after the 2009 season.

    "There’s no question we benefit not only from revenue sharing, but the salary cap helps us and says what salaries will be as a percentage of gross revenues," he says. "We want policies that have been put in place and have benefited the league and the Packers to continue."

    NFL home teams receive 65 percent of ticket revenues, with each week’s visitor getting the rest. NFL teams do not have to share "local revenues," stadium-generated revenues beyond ticket sales — including prices for club seats and luxury boxes beyond the price of the highest-priced regular ticket. The Packers have done so well in revenue, in fact, that they make payments to the NFL’s supplemental revenue fund, in which the top half of NFL teams in revenue make payments to the bottom half.

    The $295 million atrium addition and stadium renovation, including moving the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame to the stadium and construction of two larger Packer Pro Shops, "has made Lambeau a year-round destination, and we’re trying to think of things we can do to make it more attractive and bring more people here," says Murphy.

    Murphy is in a unique position among current NFL team presidents. In addition to being the president of a team without being its owner, he is believed to be the first team president who formerly played in the NFL since the Bears’ George Halas. He is also trying to make the transition from college sports to the NFL, a transition that has more failures (besides former Packers coach Dan Devine, a national champion at Notre Dame who won 48 percent of his games in four seasons in Green Bay, there are Southern California coach Pete Carroll, who won a national championship at USC but was fired twice in the NFL, and Lou Holtz, who won a national championship at Notre Dame but lasted one season as coach of the New York Jets) than successes (most notably former Cowboys coaches Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer, the only two NFL coaches to have also won college national championships).

    "I can relate to what players go through, whether it’s training camp, fears that a career may end, some of those issues," he says. "I can relate to coaches; I understand the pressure coaches face, and that comes from being in a position of working with coaches."

    The NFL is not the same league Murphy played in, even in relations among teams. Football was the primary business of the older generation of owners, such as the Redskins’ Jack Kent Cooke. The newer generation, such as Redskins current owner Daniel Snyder, assumed significant debt to buy their teams or to get stadiums built.

    "Certainly the league has changed, and ownership has changed," says Murphy. "We were all in unison that changes need to be made to the current agreement. But it’s a different model now. The issue with a lot of owners is, get out and start doing things. A lot of it really depends on the stadium situation.

    "At its core one of the things that has set the NFL apart from other leagues is revenue-sharing. You don’t have gaps as large as you do between other teams [in other leagues]; it’s growing, but the gap is nowhere near what it is in, for instance, Major League Baseball."

    Murphy is effusive in his praise of Harlan, who stayed on as president after John Jones, the man picked to succeed Harlan, agreed to leave the organization after health problems.

    "Bob has been so helpful for me," he says. "I feel really fortunate. There’s really no other position like it in the NFL or in professional sports."
     

Share This Page