Mike Holmgren. What can we say about this character? After learning from the great Bill Walsh in San Francisco, Holmgren took over a fledgling Green Bay Packers franchise in 1992. Equipped with recent acquisition Brett Favre, he led that previous dormant team to playoff appearances in each of his last six seasons, including two trips to the Super Bowl and one championship.
Holmgren’s tenure with the Packers was their most successful since Vince Lombardi was strolling the sidelines at Lambeau Field in the 1960’s. His departure from Green Bay, though a tad messy, came at a good time for both the franchise and the head coach.
Following his final season with the Packers in 1998, Holmgren moved on to the Seattle Seahawks and would take over their player development department and front office. After a few mediocre seasons with former Packer’ pupil Matt Hasselbeck from 1999-2004, Holmgren and the Seahawks finally got over that final hurdle in the NFC, going to the Super Bowl in 2005.
While Seattle would eventually lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers in a controversial heartbreaker, it seemed that the Seahawks were on the right trajectory. After all, that was the first time in franchise history that they made it to the playoffs in three consecutive seasons.
Unfortunately for fans in the Pacific Northwest and Holmgren himself, this success would not be duplicated in his final three seasons with the club. Taking a dramatic step back due to some horrendous draft choices, the Seahawks would ultimately flame out at 4-12 in 2008 before bringing Jim Mora Jr. in (remember him?) for one season.
Holmgren’s success seemed limited to the field. In the four seasons that he did run the Seahawks ship from 1999-2002, they struggled a great deal in the annual draft.
|1999||1 (22)||Lamar King||Defensive End||12 Career Sacks|
|1999||3 (77)||Brock Huard||Quarterback||Four Starts|
|2000||1 (22)||Chris McIntosh||Offensive Tackle||24 Career Starts|
|2000||2 (52)||Ike Charlton||Cornerback||Two Career Starts|
|2001||1 (9)||Koren Robinson||Wide Receiver||234 Rec, 3,567 Yds, 14 TD|
|2002||1 (28)||Jerramy Stevens||Tight End||202 Rec, 3,317 Yds, 22 TD|
Not without some success, Seattle did select Shaun Alexander and Steve Hutchinson, two of the better players in franchise history, during his tenure as its general manager. Unfortunately, the misses were a lot more frequent than the hits.
Despite this lack of front office success, the Cleveland Browns thought it a good idea to name Holmgren as their president in December of 2009. Pretty much looking over all details of the coaching hires and personnel department, Holmgren struggled big time during his tenure in Cleveland.
It wasn’t necessarily the quantity of bad picks that did Holmgren in with the Browns. His front office was able to add the likes of Joe Haden, T.J. Ward, Jordan Cameron and Mitchell Schwartz to the mix.
It was that one FINAL draft in 2012 that really put Holmgren in a no-win situation. The Browns selected Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden in the first round that April. Fast forward just two years and neither is still on the roster. Luckily for fans in Cleveland, it was able to acquire a first-round pick from the Indianapolis Colts for Richardson last season.
Those are the drafts that doom front office executives.
In addition to this, Cleveland went through two head coaches in Holmgren’s three years as its president, winning a total of 14 games during that span.
Despite all this, the veteran NFL mind believes he should have been roaming the sideline in Cleveland (via Monday Morning Quarterback).
I really just should have coached the team, but he [owner Randy Lerner] didn’t want me to.
In Holmgren’s defense, he has always been a better coach than a front-office executive. But what makes this guy, who apparently has an ego the size of Texas, believe that he could have done anything with the players HE drafted? It didn’t work in Seattle when he picked scrubs more often than not, and it wasn’t going to work with the likes of Brandon Weeden throwing passes.
Just think about this for a second, guys/gals.
|Year||Pick||Player||Available 1||Available 2||Available 3|
|2010||2 (59)||Montario Hardesty||Golden Tate||Jared Veldheer||Donald Butler|
|2010||3 (85)||Colt McCoy||Eric Decker||NaVorro Bowman||Jimmy Graham|
|2011||2 (59)||Greg Little||Randall Cobb||DeMarco Murray||Stevan Ridley|
|2012||1 (3)||Trent Richardson||Matt Kalil||Luke Kuechly||Ryan Tannehill|
|2012||1 (22)||Brandon Weeden||Harrison Smith||Doug Martin||Russell Wilson|
If hindsight is 20/20, Holmgren is about as blind as a bat.
Let just hope that he decides to call it quits for good before ruining his legacy any more. A legacy that started under the great Bill Walsh, continued with Brett Favre in Green Bay and reached a pinnacle as he led the Seahawks to their first-ever Super Bowl appearance.
Photo: David Richard, USA Today