1954 IN REVIEW
New coach Lisle Blackbourn hardly endeared himselves to the faithful as the Packers lost their first three games, but the team suddenly came around, beating the Rams, Eagles and Colts (twice) for four wins in their next five games. Blackbourn hardly had time to enjoy the renaissance, though, as the Lions (twice), 49ers and Rams handed Green Bay four painful losses to end the season.
PACKER GENERAL MANAGERS
For the first three decades of the Packer franchise, the general manager could be easily identified. He was the head coach - Curly Lambeau and, then, Gene Ronzani. In 1954, the Executive Committee decided it was time to make a change in the management structure. As the NFL became more complex, it was apparent that one person would be hard pressed to put together a team, coach that team, keep on top of the free
agent talent, prepare for a college draft, and handle the administrative details. As a result, former Packer legend Verne Lewellen was handed the reins as the first "true" general manager in team
history. In 1928, while still playing for Green Bay, he ran successfully for Brown County district attorney, as a Republican, against teammate Lavie Dilweg. Re-elected in 1930, he was swept out of
office in the Roosevelt-Democratic landslide of 1932. In 1950, he rejoined the Packers as a member of the executive committee. He was general manager from 1954-58, and remained with the
franchise as the business manager from 1961-67. Lewellen's claim to fame may have been moving the Packer training camp to St. Norbert College in 1958. The Packers had practiced in Grand
Rapids, Minnesota (1951-53) and at Stevens Point State College (1954-57) prior to the decision to relocate closer to home. Vince Lombardi came to Green Bay in 1959 as head coach and general
manager, ending Lewellen's tenure.
PACKER GENERAL MANAGERS SINCE 1959
VINCE LOMBARDI (1959-68) - In all but his final year, Lombardi served as both head coach and general manager. After one uncomfortable year in the front officer, the Hall-of-Famer moved on to
Washington, where cancer cut his life short.
PHIL BENGSTON (1969-70) - Bengston picked up the reins as GM from Lombardi, but his draft record during his two-year dual reign was questionable at best.
DAN DEVINE (1971-74) - Devine may have won a division title in 1972, and had a number of productive draft choices, his overall report card as general manager could be summed up in one word:
John Hadl, a trade which backfired.
BART STARR (1975-80) - After five years as head coach and GM, Starr had a record of 31-57-2. The Executive Committee stripped him of the GM role following a 5-11 record in 1980, and the position
remained open for seven years.
TOM BRAATZ (1987-91) - Other than a productive draft in 1990, Braatz, whose official title was Executive Vice President of football operations , accomplished little in his tenure, and was fired in the
middle of a 4-12 season.
RON WOLF (1991-2001) - Wolf acted quickly as the new GM, firing Lindy Infante, hiring Mike Holmgren, and acquiring Brett Favre in his first six months. For most, his tenure was the most successful as a GM in Green Bay.
MIKE SHERMAN (2001-05) - By the end of Sherman's dual tenure, the debate over having one person in both roles was raging again. Team CEO Bob Harlan restructured the team's football operations, and removed Sherman as GM after the 2004 season.
TED THOMPSON (2005-now) - Thompson has definitely left his fingerprints on the franchise - firing Sherman one year after taking over as GM, ushering in the end of the Brett Favre era, and trying to restore the Packers to Super Bowl contention. While not always popular with the fans, he has become best known as being allegedly adverse to free agency and trades, preferring to build the team through the draft. Thompson has already brought home one Super Bowl trophy, and has the team in position to contend for even more hardware for the trophy case.