Shutdown Corner - NFL

Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson probably doesn't feel vindicated this morning.

He feels good, I'm sure -- his Packers, behind a thrilling, borderline-flawless performance from quarterback Aaron Rodgers(notes), gutted the Falcons to advance to the NFC Championship game.

But vindication? I'm not sure Thompson feels that, because it's never seemed like he's needed to feel it.

Before the 2008 season, Thompson made the decision that the Packers were better off without beloved longtime quarterback Brett Favre(notes). The decision made him an evil, cut-throat jackass in the eyes of many, but Thompson never once wavered. When Favre made his first retirement announcement, Thompson moved on to Aaron Rodgers as the Packers quarterback, and that was it.

Any vindication he needed on that decision, he probably felt the very next morning. He believed that letting Favre walk and putting the franchise in Rodgers' hands was the right call for the future of the Green Bay Packers

He was right, of course, and he was right before Brett Favre had a miserable 2010 season, and he was right before Aaron Rodgers laid waste to the Falcons secondary yesterday. He was right because he made the decision he felt was right at the time, and he stuck to it.

And as it happens, what he believed turned out to be true: Aaron Rodgers was indeed a fine quarterback, and Brett Favre was no longer worth the crippling interceptions.

And even though I'm sure Thompson will be fine without them, today would still be a good day for a number of people to offer him apologies. When he yanked the Packers out of Favre's hands, there was a group of fans that talked about him like he was OJ. The people who did it probably won't admit it today, but Thompson was showered with profanity, scorn and wishes of physical harm. He was the target of heaps of vicious abuse. I know, because my email inbox saw a lot of it.

That's part of his job, I suppose. He's a public figure, and any public figure will have to deal with criticism. He took it without complaint.

But in the end, the truth of the matter is that he was right and a lot of other people were wrong. He made a decision that was not easy or popular. He trusted himself. Yesterday didn't vindicate him -- he's been vindicated for a long time now -- but it sure hammered the point home.

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