Murphy noted that the club’s executive committee has started to lay the foundation for a succession plan, though it does not sound like there are any definitive timelines in place just yet. Perhaps whomever gets the nod in 2025 will, like Murphy himself in 2008, be ascending to the top job when the organization is at an on-field crossroads.
Murphy played football collegiately at Colgate University, and he went on to enjoy a productive eight-year run as a member of the Redskins’ defensive backfield. He became a full-time starter in 1979 and developed a reputation as something of a ballhawk, picking off 27 passes over a five-year span from 1979-83 (including a league-best nine picks in 1983, which culminated in his first and only Pro Bowl berth). He won a Super Bowl ring with Washington in 1982, and he recorded an interception and a sack in the team’s four-game postseason run that year.
Towards the end of his playing career, Murphy earned an MBA from American University, and for good measure, he earned a law degree from Georgetown University in 1988. He returned to Colgate to serve as the school’s athletic director from 1992-2003, and then served in the same capacity for Northwestern University from 2003-07. He moved to the professional ranks in 2008, succeeding Bob Harlan as CEO/president of the Packers.
Franchise icon Brett Favre had announced his retirement in March 2008, several months after a bitter loss to the Giants in the NFC Championship Game. That decision seemingly opened the door to the Aaron Rodgers era, but in July 2008, the Favre unretirement saga began, which represented Murphy’s first true test in his new position. Ultimately, Favre was traded to the Jets in August 2008, and Rodgers finally stepped in as the undisputed QB1 after three years as Favre’s backup.
The pinnacle of the Murphy era came at the end of the 2010 campaign, when the Packers landed their fourth Super Bowl title. That championship made Murphy the first person to win a Lombardi Trophy as a player and as a team’s top executive.
Although Green Bay is still in search of a fifth ring, the team has been a perennial contender with Rodgers under center, winning eight NFC North titles and advancing to the NFC Championship Game five times.
As he did with Favre in 2008, Murphy has seen plenty of late-career drama with Rodgers, navigating several years of contractual disputes and other acrimony — sometimes inartfully — to keep the club’s contention window open for as long as possible. He has also overseen the reassignment of former GM Ted Thompson, the subsequent revamping of the club’s power structure and the hiring of current head coach Matt LaFleur, which has thus far proven to be a savvy move.
For those who are interested in a more thorough look at Murphy’s tenure, Kris Burke of AcmePackingCompany.com provides a detailed history, including — quite importantly for a publicly-owned outfit that needs to compete with teams run by billionaire owners — the development of the Titletown District around Lambeau Field.
Much of Murphy’s legacy will be written over his final three years at the helm. Now that the team and Rodgers have a new new contract in place, it seems likely that the four-time MVP will end his career in Green Bay, but the expectation is that he will retire no later than the end of the 2024 season (it could happen sooner). So when Murphy transitions to emeritus status, he not only hopes to have at least one more Lombardi in the trophy case, he will want to leave his successor with a franchise quarterback already in place.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as the Packers president,” Murphy wrote. “I plan on making the last three years as successful as possible, with multiple Super Bowl championships!”
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