The humble Thompson, who battled health issues brought on by an autonomic disorder late in his tenure as general manager, likely will never get the plaudits he deserves for the talented rosters he assembled during his 13 years in charge of the football operation. He can’t take credit for resurrecting the woebegone franchise, as his mentor Ron Wolf did, but he certainly righted the operation after head coach Mike Sherman struggled with the dual role of coach/GM in the early 2000s.
Thompson’s tenure was largely defined by three events: Using his very first draft selection as GM on University of California quarterback Aaron Rodgers during the 2005 NFL Draft, even though the team still had future Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre as its starter; trading Favre to the New York Jets in August 2008, after Favre decided to unretire and the Packers had moved on with Rodgers as their starter; and Rodgers leading the 2010 team to the Super Bowl XLV title in his third season as the starter.
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Overall, the Packers compiled a 125-82-1 regular-season record on Thompson’s watch and made the playoffs nine times in 13 years, including a franchise-best eight straight seasons from 2009 through 2016. Green Bay was 10-8 in postseason play during that time, reaching four NFC Championship Games (2007, 2010, 2014, 2016) in addition to the one Super Bowl.
“In 36 years in the league, his teams won 330 games, so I don’t care if he was a player, a coach, a scout — his teams won. That’s what he did as a GM. Year in year out, his teams won football games,” said former Packers executive Mike Reinfeldt, who played with Thompson with the Houston Oilers and presented him for his Packers Hall of Fame induction in May.
“I think people will appreciate Ted. The longer he’s retired, the more the people will appreciate him. I think history is going to be kind to Ted Thompson. When they look back and see what he accomplished, it’s a pretty golden era for the Packers.”