Hunting for the ‘Rock Star’ Coach
~ by Amy Lignor
There are not only player issues going around, with courts, panels, investigative committees, etcetera – but there is also a position in the NFL news that rates very high in both fans and reporters’ eyes. That, is the head coach position, with a recent headline touting that one (all of a sudden) semi-retired coach, may want back in the game.
Mike Holmgren is a name people know. And they should, considering it seems he was head coach for many (too many) teams. He is given the pat on the back for molding QB’s like Steve Young and Brett Favre, as well as being the man ‘above’ Joe Montana when he won his two MVP awards in 1989 and 1990. Holmgren has a great resume when it comes to Green Bay, seeing as that the Packers consistently won the big games under his leadership, never once having a losing season. He was known as being one of the best coaches in the NFL (who said that is still a mystery), but he did lead the Pack to their 12th NFC Championship and Super Bowl XXXI win. (Although most would say this accolade belongs to Favre and his killer team).
Yes, Harbaugh of the 49ers is being talked up everywhere as well; but, gossip set aside, if Harbaugh and the 49ers yet again make it to or close to the ‘end game’, let’s face it, Harbaugh will receive his raise and he will stay on as coach and try to bring the dynasty back from invisibility. After all, he’s shown he’s got it – and if all you have to do is put up with his…ah…sometimes overly exuberant mouth and flailing arms to see a Lombardi trophy back in SanFran, than everyone will do it, no questions asked.
But for the Oakland Raiders, it was Holmgren who came back out of the shadows. You have to give them credit; the Raiders are definitely one team in the NFL who needs a real head coach who knows their way around the biz before their cloak of invisibility remains wrapped around them like a mummy, buried for all time in their NFL grave.
Holmgren did visit the team’s facility, although telling the news media that he would “probably” not be Oakland’s next head coach. Hmmm…that is hard to believe in a way. This is the man who Green Bay fans absolutely loved until he deserted that team (and, yes, that is the majority of feeling that comes from that area for Mr. Holmgren’s decision), and went straight to Seattle where – he brought them to a Super Bowl, yet they sunk back into obscurity anyway. Chances are, if Holmgren had stayed on in Seattle, the celebration of their Super Bowl win (finally!) would not have taken place.
Reggie McKenzie is the Raiders beat-up GM who is working overtime to bring the black-and-silver into the spotlight; he also happens to be a man who rose up through the ranks of the NFL serving under Holmgren back in Green Bay, so the link is most definitely there. But even with that link, the statement given on Sunday’s NFL GameDay Morning does not exactly match up with Holmgren. On the show, it was stated that Oakland was on the hunt for a “rock star” when it came to acquiring a head coach, so the belief that Jon Gruden is more to their liking makes sense.
Is former head coach Mike Holmgren a rock star? Not exactly in the minds of fans and TV watchers. Yes, he had his day; and, yes, he did visit with the Oakland Raiders, but when he was asked about actually taking a job with them the old Holmgren hemming and hawing began. Stories immediately came about that he was ‘hiding’ something, and perhaps he was deep in talks on this subject and just didn’t want to reveal anything too soon.
In the end, Gruden would be the ‘rock star’ that Oakland needs…then again, Harbaugh, with his flailing arms and deep passion for the sport is still registering number one in a great many minds…IF he exits the 49ers. Which, guys and gals, he’s not going to do.
Oakland is in pain, but Holmgren? Maybe Bruce Springsteen would be a better choice if Gruden says ‘forget about it!’ and Harbaugh stays the course.