Future Of Franchise At Risk

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There hasn’t been much worthy of writing about lately in regards to our Hawks. In fact, my last post has held true all the way up through last night when the Seahawks effectively sabotaged bringing Holmgren back to the front office by offering him a position he didn’t want. Here was the exact passage from that post:

Holmgren is also harder to predict than some may think. He will be genuinely interested in the Browns job, and maybe the Bills job. He likes to build from the ground up where there are little-to-no expectations of winning early. Total control and low expectations is a nice way to work. His ego is also a proven part of the equation. Any attempts to confine his power that appear artificial, or indicate less than total confidence in his ability will drive him away. That may be Leiweke’s best chance to sabotage the process. If he lets Mike in the door, but insults him with constraints, Holmgren will bolt.

Unless you are of the opinion that Holmgren was lying all this time about his interest in the Hawks, the only logical conclusion is that the Seahawks (and we can’t be sure exactly who) restricted his power. Some may say that was a prudent move. After all, the team has not had a chance to do a thorough review of other possible candidates. I believe it is far more likely that we will look back at this move with regret than appreciation. The team has now tied its future hopes to the idea that they will find someone better than Mike Holmgren to lead the franchise. How many “better than Mike Holmgren” guys are just sitting out there waiting to be discovered? How many great franchise-building GMs are their in the NFL?

People love to throw out Jack Z as proof that getting a talented unknown can be a huge success. Football is not baseball, folks. There is a new wunder-GM every season or so in baseball. There is no salary cap. There is a minor league system to work with, mine and upgrade. There are international markets to pull from. Trades are commonplace. None of that is true in the NFL. Change is hard. Sure, a team can go from worst-to-first, but building a championship team is another thing entirely. There are select few people in this league that know how to win a Super Bowl. Holmgren is one of those. This rumors I hear about some guy from the Arizona front-office that is a great talent evaluator makes me want to puke. Arizona? That’s a model franchise for talent evaluation? Really? Talk about buying the hype. Ken Whisenhunt has had far more to do with that team’s recent success than great talent evaluation. And even if a guy is a great scout, who is simple enough to believe a great franchise builder is so tied to talent evaluation?

We need someone who is a great evaluator of people, including coaches and agents. We need someone who will not blink when their star player decides to hold-out. I seem to remember one GM we had who let his best player hold out for eight weeks before the player finally relented and joined the team. Oh, and then he traded him to Dallas for TWO first-round draft picks.

People greatly underestimate what it takes to build a champion in the great NW. Holmgren came into a franchise that was in a similar state to the Detroit Lions and created a winning atmosphere and a Super Bowl contending foundation. If you need any more proof of how hard it will be to do better than him, just look at his replacement who won executive of the year in his first season, and will likely be hired again. How sure are we this “non-Holmgren” pick will be any better than Ruskell?

There is really no angle to this where I think the Seahawks can be commended for making the right choice here. I certainly hope with all my soul that we find the next great franchise builder out there, but history has proven it’s far more likely we’ll get someone who will tell the front office what they want to hear and lead us to oblivion while Holmgren turns the Browns into contenders within five years.

All this takes on even more meaning when you realize it’s doubtful that Jim Mora Jr. can succeed as our coach. The guy talks and talks and talks, but rarely says anything. If *I* feel that way, what does his team think? His motivational ploys have to wear thin pretty quickly. I had coaches like that growing up that knew what to say, but there was no credibility or substance to their words. Players tune that out. With a Holmgren hire, we would have had a Hall of Fame coach built-in, waiting to step in. Now, we’ll have to potentially get the GM role right AND get the coaching decision right when we could have gotten both right with one decision. Knowing that Mora will probably be here for another season essentially equals another wasted season from my perspective.

I sit here now, surveying the current landscape and potential directions of the franchise to come, and see very few paths that lead to glory. As I’ve said before, nobody would be happier than me if I am wrong. My hopes are now pinned to the slim possibility that we are not going to hire some no-name GM that could prove himself. We need to hire a proven champion that has built franchises in the past. The more you hear comparisons to Jack Z, the less any of us should be confident in the future. Gambling is a game for losers. The Seahawks are rolling the dice.