GREEN BAY, Wis. – Will Aaron Rodgers report to training camp with the rest of his Green Bay Packers teammates on July 27?
“I appreciate the question,” team President Mark Murphy said on Friday during a Zoom about the team’s unprecedented financial fiscal-year. “This is really limited to questions regarding financial statements. I would just say there’s nothing new to update on the issue that you raised.”
Murphy took over as the team’s president and CEO late in the 2007 season, meaning he was with the Packers in 2008, when Rodgers’ legendary predecessor, Brett Favre, announced his retirement, changed his mind and ultimately was traded to the New York Jets. That messy divorce split the fan base.
A similar situation could play out if Rodgers doesn’t show up at training camp and makes clear he doesn’t want to return to the team he’s led for the past 13 seasons.
That wouldn’t only have an impact on the playing field, with Jordan Love presumably replacing the reigning MVP, but it could have an impact on the team’s finances if fewer jerseys are purchased at the Packers Pro Shop and the team endures a losing season.
“Well, we still sold every ticket” in 2008, noted team vice president of finance and administration Paul Baniel. “We’ve had sellouts since 1961.”
Chimed in Murphy: “And, you know, the person that replaced Brett Favre did pretty well.”
Of course, there’s no guarantee Love will be to Rodgers what Rodgers was to Favre. Maybe Love keeps the train rolling and gives the Packers another decade of on-the-field success – with those wins meaning one profit-turning season after another. Or, maybe the Packers’ run of success on and off the field will come to an abrupt halt.
While it’s true the Packers sold out their games during their lean seasons, those tickets often were sold for pennies on the dollar on the secondary market. While that fact won’t impact the team’s bottom line, empty seats mean fewer beers sold on gamedays and fewer people apt to buy a jersey or take a stadium tour.
It’s worth noting Rodgers, the 24th pick in 2005, and Love, the 26th pick in 2020, are two of 10 quarterbacks selected between No. 20 and No. 32 of the draft since 2005. Rodgers (nine), Lamar Jackson (one) and Teddy Bridgewater (one) are the only Pro Bowlers from that bunch. Meanwhile, Brandon Weeden, Tim Tebow, Johnny Manziel, Paxton Lynch and Brady Quinn were big-time busts.
Murphy, however, wouldn’t indulge in that uncertainty and how it could impact the team’s finances.
“That’s our answer, and we will stick with it.”