GREEN BAY, Wis. – There are certain relationships within an NFL team that cannot be compromised.
At the top of that list are these two: general manager-coach and coach-quarterback.
Next up should be the man connected to both of them: coach Mike McCarthy, whose current contract runs through the 2015 season. That was not lost on Thompson, who called it "a big priority" to get McCarthy's deal extended.
"It's been the plan the whole time," Thompson said Wednesday shortly after his extension was announced. "The way the organization is set up – obviously, I'm not giving any trade secrets away – it's the way it's always been done here: The general manager kind of gets put away and then you do the head coach."
All indications are the working environment on the football side of the offices at Lambeau Field is as harmonious as ever. Whatever competitive clashes they might have had in the past, the relationship between McCarthy and Rodgers appears strong. As for the GM and the coach, Thompson says it like this: "We anticipate each other's thoughts often, which might drive both of us crazy sometimes, but I think it's working well and has worked well. Obviously, we see things pretty close."
Anyone who doesn't believe the coach and GM must be of like mind was not around Lambeau Field in 2005, when Thompson and then-coach Mike Sherman barely spoke. Thompson, who was brought in after then-Packers president Bob Harlan stripped Sherman of the GM job, tried in vain to work closely the head coach he inherited. In fact, Sherman could have survived the 4-12 season had he been more receptive to Thompson's arrival rather than shutting him out, according to several members of the organization at the time.
Thompson made it clear when he completed an exhaustive coaching search to hire McCarthy in 2006 that he never intends to go through that again.
At the Packers' annual shareholders meeting in 2013, Thompson told the assembled crowd: "I thank God every day that he's the Green Bay Packers’ head coach."
Together, McCarthy and Thompson have an 88-50-1 overall record, including playoffs.
"I think when two people work together for as long as Mike and I have, I think you develop certain understandings of each other," Thompson said Wednesday. "There are certain things you can communicate that are unsaid as opposed to originally when you probably need to spell everything out."