By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- You can now make it two would-be NFL powerhouses who have been undone by egos and grudges and bad vibes since ESPN released its 5,000-word exposé about "the beginning of the end" for the New England Patriots. And neither of those teams were the Patriots.
Just weeks after Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown shared how and why Ben Roethlisberger led to the demise of the could-have-been dynasty in Pittsburgh, Bleacher Report's Ty Dunne has written a lengthy story that details just how toxic the relationship between Aaron Rodgers and former head coach Mike McCarthy was in Green Bay. It is a doozy.
As such stories tend to do, this one is full of unnamed sources. So some of it can be dismissed as gossip or hearsay that may not be 100 percent solid. But there's certainly a wealth of nuggets to comb through.
Some notable highlights from the near-8,000-word story:
--Rodgers always held a grudge against McCarthy, because McCarthy was the offensive coordinator of the 49ers in 2005, when he opted for quarterback Alex Smith at No. 1 overall. Rodgers had to wait until the 24th pick to be selected by the Packers. McCarthy got the Green Bay job a year later.
--McCarthy would reportedly miss team meetings so that he could get massages in his office. An unnamed player got word that McCarthy "would sneak her up a back stairway to his office while the rest of the team prepared for that week's opponent."
--BUT WAIT: "One player who heard about McCarthy's massages even wonders aloud if Rodgers started that rumor and tried spreading it to anybody that'd listen."
--"Some cite former general manager Ted Thompson literally falling asleep in meetings by the end of his tenure."
--An unnamed source said that Rodgers believed McCarthy had "one of the lowest [football] IQs, if not the lowest IQ, of any coach he's ever had."
--A former Packers scout said Rodgers is "an arrogant quarterback quick to blame everyone but himself" and added that the quarterback is "not as smart as he thinks he is."
--Rodgers regularly disagreed with McCarthy's play calls, leading to the quarterback improvising his own plays that required him to be "Superman."
--Amid frustration from the team that McCarthy's offense was not adapting to changes in the NFL, assistant coach Alex Van Pelt rose through the ranks and ended up developing a strong rapport with Rodgers as his quarterbacks coach. But then ... "the Packers opted not to retain Van Pelt when his contract expired after the 2017 season."
--"One person, who used to be close to the quarterback but has since been cut out of his life, describes Rodgers as forever 'conflict-averse.' As passive-aggressive to the extreme."
--Former Packers receiver Greg Jennings described Rodgers as sensitive and said that he was actively ignored by the quarterback when trying to get his attention while covering a game as a member of the media. Jennings also said he was scolded by Rodgers for daring to speak to Brett Favre after a game against the Vikings.
--An unnamed source estimated that Rodgers changed roughly one-third of McCarthy's play calls last year. It led to Equanimeous St. Brown having to tell his coaches that the idea to improvise a route was his own, so as not to throw Rodgers under the bus and upset the quarterback. That source told Bleacher Report: "This s--t was terrible. He f---ed McCarthy over. Aaron undermined him."
--An unnamed source says that Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy called Rodgers to inform the quarterback that the team would be hiring Matt LaFleur as the next head coach. "Murphy made it clear that Rodgers would need to accept coaching. 'Don't be the problem,' he told him. 'Don't be the problem.'"
There's obviously quite a bit more, and the full story is worth reading for any football fan. It doesn't reach any grand conclusions about who was the most wrong or who might have been right. It merely provides a look at just how untenable the situation became in Green Bay, due to a fractured relationship between the head coach and the quarterback -- one that began on the wrong foot and was never really rectified.
In other words, it was a look at what the beginning of the end actually looks like.
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