Sustained success was hallmark of Ted Thompson's tenure

Served as GM for 13 years as Packers qualified for playoffs nine times

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Former Green Bay Packers General Manager Ted Thompson

Ted Thompson

  • Inducted: 2019
  • Executive Vice President, General Manager & Director of Football Operations: 2005-18
  • Assistant Director of Pro Personnel: 1992
  • Director of Pro Personnel: 1993-96
  • Director of Player Personnel: 1997-99
  • Senior Advisor to Football Operations, 2018-19

If there's truth to the adage that the only thing more difficult in the NFL than attaining success is sustaining success, it would be the ultimate tribute to what Ted Thompson accomplished in his 13 seasons of running the Packers' football operation.

When Thompson was hired as general manager on Jan. 14, 2005, the Packers were coming off their 12th winning season in the past 13 years thanks largely to the work of Ron Wolf, Thompson's mentor during his first stint with the franchise, When Thompson stepped down from the GM post on Jan. 2, 2018, the Packers had finished with a winning record nine more times; qualified for the playoffs nine times, including a franchise-record eight straight; and compiled an NFC best regular-season record of 125-82-1 for a .603 winning percentage.

The highlight of Thompson's tenure was the Packers' victory in Super Bowl XLV, matching Wolf's achievement of winning Super Bowl XXXI.

Over the 13 drafts where Thompson called the shots, he chose 18 players who were selected to at least one Pro Bowl, which was tied for the most in the NFL over that timeframe.

No pick was more important than his first. With the 24th choice in the 2005 draft, Thompson selected quarterback Aaron Rodgers of California, a decision which relatively soon will become unprecedented in the history of the NFL Draft, first held in 1936.

Not since then has a team with a longstanding future Hall of Fame quarterback over the age of 30 drafted another future Hall of Fame quarterback. When Thompson selected Rodgers, his starting quarterback was Brett Favre, who would turn 36 in the 2005 season and 11 years later be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. With Rodgers all but being a lock to join Favre in Canton five years after he retires, Thompson's stroke of genius will make history.

Thompson also drafted another perennial all-pro in the first round, linebacker Clay Matthews; four Pro Bowl wide receivers in the second round: Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams; three Pro Bowl offensive linemen in the fourth round: Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang and David Bakhtiari; a Pro Bowl safety from a small, historically black university, Nick Collins of Bethune-Cookman; two blue-chippers in his last two drafts, defensive tackle Kenny Clark and running back Aaron Jones; and the Packers' all-time leading scorer, Mason Crosby. Thompson also signed a future Pro Football Hall of Famer, defensive back Charles Woodson, as an unrestricted free agent.

"What to me stands out is the consistency," Packers president Mark Murphy said when Thompson was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame. "It is hard to win one year in the NFL. Everything is designed to make it that way."

Before joining the Packers, Thompson played 10 years in the NFL with the Houston Oilers. From 2000-04, he also served as Seattle's vice president of football operations.

Born Jan. 17, 1953, in Atlanta, Texas. Given name Ted Clarence Thompson. Died Jan. 20, 2021.

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