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.

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