Finding right man to fill Braatz vacancy won’t be easy task
Green Bay — Almost certainly, somewhere in the National Football League exists an executive capable of helping the Green Bay Packers break the losing cycle that has gripped the franchise for 24 years.
Packer President Bob Harlan is counting on it.
But finding the right person won’t be easy.
“There aren’t any messiahs out there, I can tell you that,” New York Giants General Manager George Young cautioned. “I don’t know if a one-man operation gets anything done.”
But it starts at the top and most good NFL organizations have a single dominant figure who makes the majority of the decisions for the football operations.
In announcing last week that the contract of executive vice president of football operations Tom Braatz would not be renewed, Harlan said he is consid- ering expanding the duties of the job.
The new job could be more along the lines of a general manager. Braatz and Packer Coach Lindy Infante had equal input on personnel matters. The trend in the league has been away from the traditional general manager.
“The old days of a guy who does everything, really Jim Finks (of New Orleans) may be about the only one,” said Ernie Accorsi, executive vice president of football operations for the Browns. “I’m talking about an employee now, not (the Raiders’) Al Davis, who’s an owner.
“But the old-fashion baseball style general manager. When I came in the league 22 years ago, it was a very simple thing. We only had about 15 or 16 employees involved. Now we’ve got 54 people, not counting coaches.”
Although the duties can be spread out, everybody contacted said the key is having a single person that can be ultimately responsible.
“There’s got to be one guy first and one guy second,” Young said. “That’s my opinion. It helps that way. I don’t view it as people work for you, we kind of work together.
“But there’s somebody who has to have the final say when it gets to that.”
Another critical factor is the relationship between the person in charge of football operations and the coach. In most cases around the league, the successful general managers have been allowed to hire their own coaches.