Everyone who has been a Green Bay Packers fan since the 1990s knows who Ron Wolf is. He’s the man who was hired as general manager in 1991 and helped the team reach back-to-back Super Bowls in 1996 and 1997 with moves that included hiring Mike Holmgren as head coach, trading for quarterback Brett Favre and signing Reggie White as a free agent.
Wolf retired from the Packers before the start of the 2001 season but, even though the team that will be playing in Super Bowl XVL on Feb. 6th is mostly the work of current GM Ted Thompson, Wolf should still receive some credit for the assist.
One of Wolf’s strengths as general manager was his ability to find players in the later rounds of the NFL draft. Two of those players, receiver Donald Driver (drafted in the 7th round in 1999) and left tackle Chad Clifton (drafted in the second round in 2000) will be starting in the Super Bowl. Another player, Mark Tauscher (drafted in the 7th round in 2000) was the starting right tackle up until an injury ended his season.
To be fair, the same can be said about the man who replaced Wolf as general manager in 2001, Mike Sherman. Even though Sherman was stripped of his general manager duties in 2005 and most of the players he drafted or signed were purged from the roster, he did draft starting center Scott Wells and signed defensive end Cullen Jenkins as an undrafted free agent. Middle linebacker Nick Barnett, who is on injured reserve, was also one of his draft picks.
However, in addition to the players I just mentioned, Wolf’s biggest impact was on the front office. Current GM Thompson was Director of Pro Personnel under Wolf. Director of Football Operations Reggie McKenzie, Director of College Scouting John Dorsey, Assistant Director of College Scouting Shaun Herock, scouts Lee Gissendaner, Brian Gutenkunst, Alonso Highsmith and Sam Seale and College Scouting Coordinator Danny Mock were all originally hired by Wolf (though not necessarily in their current positions) and retained by both Sherman and Thompson.
Also, Director of Player Development, Rob Davis, was a free agent pick up by Wolf in 1997 and was named to his current position after retiring 2008.
Thompson and Head Coach Mike McCarthy still deserve most of the credit for this year’s Super Bowl team. But, as the Packers play for their fourth Super Bowl ring and 13th NFL championship, it is worth remembering Wolf and the impact he has had on the Green Bay Packers franchise even today.