Packers GM takes low-blow at Lions assessing NFC North power struggle

Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst
Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The rivalry between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers is heating up. That's in no small part because the Lions are finally pulling their weight as a real force in the NFC North.

This past season, Detroit won the division for the first time since 1993, back when it was still the NFC Central. In that span, Green Bay has taken the title 15 times, most recently in 2021.

So it's in that context that Packers GM Brian Gutekunst threw some gasoline on the fire by bringing up banners.

Brian Gutekunst: Packers don't hang banners for division championships

"Around here, we’ve never hung banners for division championships, so it’s never been about that. It’s a nice starting point, but I think we’re always looking for bigger things," Gutenkunst said when he was asked about the battle for the NFC North.

As The Athletic's Matt Schneidman noted, Gutekunst may not have been trying to refer specifically to the Lions putting up a banner to mark winning the division. But they did put up a banner. And Gutekunst did say what he said.

Accidental or not, it was a sick burn from the Packers' perspective. Gutekunst should have bigger things on his brain than taking digs at the Lions though. A playoff win or two doesn't cut it. The GM has been on the job since 2018. Green Bay had an MVP quarterback in Aaron Rodgers and couldn't find their way back to the Super Bowl. With Jordan Love showing real promise, the expectations are about to ramp back up to that level for everyone involved with the Packers. That's how it goes.

Meanwhile, the Lions are coming off their best season in decades, not only winning the NFC North but winning two playoff games, their first since 1991.

The Packers and Lions have been walking different paths as far as franchise success. Green Bay has judged quarterbacks, coaches and teams on Super Bowl victories. Detroit has never won a Super Bowl. When it comes down to it, that's the banner both teams want.

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