Football Leadership Firmly In Place

McCARTHY’S NEW CONTRACT MATCHES GM’S FIVE-YEAR DEAL Recently retired Chairman Bob Harlan has said that the tandem of Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy is the best the Packers have had leading the football operations since Ron Wolf and Mike Holmgren. And now that tandem is in place for the foreseeable future. - More | Official Press Release Conference Call Transcript



Recently retired Packers Chairman Bob Harlan has said many times he feels the tandem of General Manager Ted Thompson and Head Coach Mike McCarthy is the best the Packers have had leading the football operations since Ron Wolf and Mike Holmgren.

And now the organization will have that tandem in place for the foreseeable future.

McCarthy signed a new five-year contract this week that replaces the final season of the three-year deal he signed upon becoming the head coach in January 2006 and extends the franchise's commitment to him through 2012.

This comes just one month after Thompson also signed a new five-year deal, and having them in lock-step contractually only reinforces the partnership the two have formed as the football leaders.

"The five-year deal I think is a reflection of the commitment to our football program and the direction that we're headed," McCarthy said in a conference call from Hawaii, where he is coaching the NFC squad in this weekend's Pro Bowl. "Ted declared from the first step when I was hired as the head coach, how he was looking for a partnership. I think it's great to have five years to continue to reach our goal."

That nearly was achieved this year, with McCarthy leading the Packers to the NFC Championship for the first time in 10 years. The 23-20 overtime loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants is something McCarthy called "a learning experience" as his program moves forward.

Enjoying a week in Hawaii and coaching in the Pro Bowl is one step in getting past the difficult loss. McCarthy said he and his staff were reminded by league personnel that the Pro Bowl assignment was a reward for their season, and getting out on the practice field for the first time on Tuesday and working with the league's top players was a welcome diversion.

Last week it was hard to escape the psychological torment. McCarthy was in Phoenix, site of Super Bowl XLII, to collect a pair of coach of the year awards from Motorola and the NFL Alumni. In a city plastered with Super Bowl banners, it was impossible not to think about how close his team came to getting there.

McCarthy didn't watch the Super Bowl because he was flying from Texas to Hawaii during the game, but as he got updates on how close it was and that the Giants had a chance to upset the previously unbeaten New England Patriots, he admitted to getting interested in the outcome.

{sportsad300}"I think it's only natural to say, 'My goodness, that should have been us,'" McCarthy said. "I think everybody to a man around the National Football League probably thinks that. But I think it's a credit to the New York Giants, what they accomplished. They're a perfect example of playing their best football when it counts."

That's what the Packers hope to do, obviously, should they get another opportunity. The team played perhaps its best in the NFC Divisional playoff victory over Seattle but couldn't carry that over to the following week in the NFC Championship.

Not that either man wants to wait any longer, but McCarthy and Thompson both now have received the long-term commitment from the organization to try to take that extra step. McCarthy envisions the partnership continuing to work as it has the past two years, when the Packers improved from 4-12 to 8-8 in McCarthy's first year, and then 13-3 with a first-round playoff bye in his second.

"I think the fit between Ted Thompson and myself and the way we're structured with our personnel department and coaching staff, the way they work hand-in-hand, I think it's an extremely healthy situation," McCarthy said. "It's something I look forward to being a part of for a long time.

"I think it's definitely a huge commitment from the organization, to Ted Thompson and myself. The goal will never change. It's been the same since the first time I stood in front of the media and the fans, and that's to win the world championship and bring the Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay."

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