Thompson corrects Harlan's mistake

Greg C.

Jun 1, 2005
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Marquette, Michigan
This past year was a waste for the Packers in a lot of ways, and the blame for that is not on Mike Sherman or Ted Thompson, it's on Bob Harlan. After Sherman's fourth consecutive playoff flameout (the most embarrassing one of all) Harlan needed to bring in a new boss with the freedom to do things his own way. I remember writing a post in the News Chronicle forum late last season called "It's All or Nothing for Sherman," in which I stated that Harlan would not remove Sherman from one of his jobs but keep him for the other, because it would be too awkward.

Of course I was wrong in one sense, because that's exactly what Harlan did, but I was right that it would be awkward and dysfunctional. No self-respecting GM is going to keep someone else's coach any longer than he has to. Thompson had to keep Sherman for one year as a condition of taking the job. (This was not in the contract but was strongly implied. Harlan said that he specifically looked for a GM who could work with Sherman as coach.) One year was the bare minimum for keeping Sherman around, and as soon as that requirement had been fulfilled Thompson dumped him. It's a cruel business sometimes. I'm not sure if Harlan lacked the guts to fire Sherman outright or if he really thought this arrangement would work out somehow. It was not a good sign when Sherman had his first press conference after the demotion last January and he looked like he was about to bite someone's head off.

I respect Bob Harlan for helping this team win again and for pushing the stadium deal through, but he blew this one. Mike Sherman could've been coaching another team this year or rebuilding his career by working as an assistant. Brett Favre could right now already have a year under his belt with a new coach, instead of having to decide whether he wants to start over with a new coach after a season that was doomed from the beginning because of all the turnover in personnel. ALL of the players could've used this year to get used to a new coach, who would then be better prepared to lead the team next season. None of those things happened, but there's no choice but to move forward. At least Thompson showed that he's not afraid to make a tough decision, as Harlan was.

By the way, it will be very interesting to hear what Ron Wolf thinks of all this. Not that his word is gospel or anything, but he's usually a straight shooter and he is familiar with all of these guys.

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