Is This the Twilight of the Packers Brain Trust?
Earlier this week, we briefly explored the possibility that Aaron Rodgers' career is very likely closer to the end than to the beginning. Though it may not be quite as scary to think about, I think it's important to realize that the same may be true for the architects of the Packers' on-field success, Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy.
The NFL is, always has been, and always will be a young man's league. Experience will always help, but it will only carry you so far. Age always tracks down even the strongest of competitors, so it stands to reason that even the robot-like Thompson would be ready to ride off into the sunset eventually.
Thompson is 61 years old, and he may insist that he's "just getting started," but the fact of the matter is that he's been involved in the NFL since 1975. 39 years is a long time to do anything, much less maintain a career in professional football. While Thompson has no family to draw him away from the game, even he can't last forever at the top.
The job is too demanding, the hours too long, and the fame too fleeting to justify even the biggest of salaries. And what good is money if you never have any time to spend it? Sooner or later, Thompson will step down, and age alone almost assures that it will be sooner.
Mike McCarthy is a little bit of a different case. He won't turn 51 until November, which is still relatively young in terms of professional football coaches. He could have a solid decade on the sideline yet before he decides its time to hang it up. For McCarthy, the question is less about age and more about desire. How long will he want to continue being an NFL head coach?
McCarthy has already won a Super Bowl and made more money than he could ever need. What else, really, does he have to prove as a coach? At a certain point, will the desire to be with his family be stronger than the desire to squeeze out another season of NFL football?
I'm not saying it's imminent and I'm not saying Thompson and McCarthy are planning to ride off into the sunset together, but I do think it's likely that we have more seasons of the Thompson/McCarthy duo behind us than ahead of us. At some point, one will step down, and it wouldn't be surprising to see the other follow soon thereafter.