Michael Felger was largely saying it in jest Tuesday during an episode of “Felger and Mazz” on 98.5 The Sports Hub when he welcomed all of New England and Patriots fans to the “Packer Way.”

“The Patriot Way,” Felger, a Wisconsin native and Green Bay Packers fan said, “no mas. In its place? The Packer Way. … Today, we are all Packers.”

It’s an oversimplification, yes. But it’s not entirely unfounded, especially with director of scouting Eliot Wolf leading the charge as de facto general manager.

Wolf, of course, grew up around the Packers. His dad, Ron Wolf, built some of the most talented rosters in football history, including a Packers team that won the Super Bowl in 1996. Eliot Wolf’s first job in football was with the Packers where he spent a decade and a half.

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“My time in Green Bay meant everything,” Wolf admitted Tuesday during a press conference in Indianapolis at the combine. “That’s where I learned my foundation of scouting, leadership, how to treat people, how to deal with people, really just everything in terms of the business of football, and it’s prepared me for this moment to help the New England Patriots get back to where we need to go.”

Wolf probably could have succeeded Ted Thompson in Green Bay, a job that ultimately went to Brian Gutekunst. Wolf ascending to a top executive job was inevitable, though. The Patriots are hoping the apple doesn’t fall far from the Ron Wolf tree, a tree that has plenty of sturdy branches in front offices across the NFL. John Schneider helped build a Super Bowl champion in Seattle where he made moves like drafting Russell Wilson in the third round and Richard Sherman in the fifth. John Dorsey got his start in Green Bay, too, and he went on to build the championship foundation in Kansas City where he traded up to draft Patrick Mahomes.

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As for Gutenkunst — a Ron Wolf disciple himself — the Packers have been pretty successful since he took over, too.

Regular-season wins since 2018
Packers 62
Cowboys 60

The Patriots must spend money, but the Wolf’s success in New England will be defined by the draft. Bill Belichick’s lack of success in that regard accelerated the end of his incredible run in New England. Wolf must improve the team in that regard, starting with the No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. His decision will not only make or break the Wolf-Jerod Mayo regime, but it could be the difference between the Patriots returning to respectability or continuing to toil in early-1990s levels of ineptitude.

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It’s relatively easy to draft a franchise quarterback with the No. 3 pick, though. Where the Packers under Ron Wolf, Thompson and now Gutenkunst have found success, though, is building on the margins. Few teams have built a scouting and development machine that matches Green Bay. It’s how they have built a sustainable program that has produced 323 wins since 1992 — second to just the Patriots (327) in the same time.

It helps when you have Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, but it’s not like the Packers bottomed out to draft those two. They traded for Favre, and they made the shrewd decision to scoop up a falling Rodgers — even when they had Favre. History repeating itself — trading up to draft Jordan Love in 2020 — sure looks better by the day, too.

“I think the scouting process that I grew up with that, Gutekunst continues to employ has been really good, and they’ve been fortunate to sit Rodgers and sit Love for a year, and that’s been able to help them. I wouldn’t say that applies to every quarterback, but it certainly helps them,” Wolf said.

And if the Patriots do draft a quarterback at No. 3, don’t be surprised if the rookie sits. Both Rodgers and Love watched from the sidelines early on, and they both turned out quite all right. Patience is also a virtue in the Packers’ way.

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You have to supplement and support the QB, too. One of Favre’s favorite targets, Antonio Freeman, was a third-round pick. Rodgers’ go-to guys, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, were second-round picks. Love’s ascent to top-10 quarterback in 2023 coincided with the progress of a receiver room that doesn’t have a first-round pick and featured an undrafted rookie, a seventh-round rookie plucked off a practice squad and a fourth-round pick.

In fact, Love was the only first-round pick on the Packers’ offense in 2023.

Ultimately, you’d rather have the Patriots’ success over the last 30 years than what the Packers were able to accomplish. Despite all this praise for the Packers’ process, they have taken home a measley two Lombardi Trophies compared to the Patriots’ six. No offense to Mayo and whoever’s under center in 2024, though, but they probably aren’t going to be the next Belichick and Brady. Those expectations are outdated and unreleastic. The best path to long-term success is a sustainable, repeatable model that has you in the hunt every single year.

So, while there might not be cheeseheads in the Gillette Stadium tailgates this fall, and One Patriot Place probably isn’t about to run on Lombardi Time, the Packers influence in Foxboro will be felt in other ways. The Patriots should hope that is the foundation for the next couple of decades of successful football in New England.

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Featured image via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images