Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Holmgren, Shanahan back on top--

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Holmgren, Shanahan back on top--

    Holmgren, Shanahan back on topBy Greg Garber
    ESPN.com


    Bill Walsh is 74 years old, but he seems to have accelerated since leaving the San Francisco 49ers with three Super Bowl rings.

    He's currently the acting athletic director at Stanford University, where he coached the football team in two tours of duty, before and after his 10 seasons as the 49ers' head coach from 1979 to '88. On Tuesday, his schedule was jammed with appointments, but he managed to find time to talk about two of the 49ers' most illustrious coaching graduates, stellar students of his West Coast offensive philosophy who have taken a great deal of heat in recent years: Mike Holmgren and Mike Shanahan.

    "They really are extremely competent," Walsh said from his Stanford, Calif., office, "and because of that, they've been able to stand up to the criticism that's started to develop. They had a plan, a methodology, a way to go about things, and they didn't change. They stayed within the system they were teaching and didn't vary from it. They had excellent teaching in our [49ers] system -- they both knew it frontward and backward.

    "You're talking about two of the great coaches in football. There are not enough positive things you can say about them, because they're the ultimate."



    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
    Mike Holmgren has never won a playoff game with the Seahawks.Indeed, the similarities between Shanahan and Holmgren go far beyond a shared first name.

    They both played quarterback in college, Holmgren at USC and Shanahan at Eastern Illinois. Holmgren was the San Francisco's offensive coordinator during 1989-91 when the 49ers won back-to-back Super Bowls. Shanahan followed Holmgren in that role, also for three years. Holmgren's Green Bay Packers, led by quarterback Brett Favre, won Super Bowl XXXI to conclude the 1996 season. Shanahan's Denver Broncos, led by quarterback John Elway, won the next two Super Bowls, including XXXII -- against Holmgren and the Packers.

    For three seasons, Holmgren and Shanahan reigned as the masters of their coaching craft. And then, practically overnight, they were seen as stupid.

    In the wake of Elway's retirement, Shanahan's Broncos went 6-10 in 1999. They failed to win the AFC West for six consecutive seasons and went 0-3 in playoff games. Holmgren, taking up residence in Seattle, went a middling 50-46 in his first six seasons and is 0-3 in the playoffs with the Seahawks.

    In their absence, the NFL produced new men endowed with coaching genius: Mike Martz in St. Louis, Jon Gruden in Tampa Bay, Bill Belichick in New England.

    Today, Martz finds himself out of the picture in St. Louis. Gruden's Buccaneers were first-round playoff victims of the Washington Redskins. This week's divisional playoff games feature two delicious coaching matchups that restore order to the coaching hierarchy. On Saturday afternoon, Holmgren's Seahawks meet the Redskins, who are guided by Joe Gibbs, already a Pro Football Hall of Famer with three Super Bowl rings. Shanahan's assignment in Saturday's late game: Belichick and the Patriots, who are looking for their unprecedented third consecutive Super Bowl victory and fourth in five seasons.


    Both Holmgren, 57, and Shanahan, 53, stayed the course. Both men, showing infinite patience with their sometimes scattershot quarterbacks, led their teams to 13-3 records and secured home-field advantage for their divisional playoff games. "If it's possible, I think I'm more into it now," Shanahan told reporters last week. "Because sometimes, you've got to go through some down times to appreciate the good times."

    This isn't a rationalization. It's the life of a head coach in today's NFL.

    When the results of the Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year were announced last week, Holmgren and Shanahan received a total of exactly one of the 50 votes cast. One. With all due respect to Chicago's Lovie Smith, the winner with 24.5 votes, and the Colts' Tony Dungy (20.5), where's the love for old, successful warhorses?


    Survive and advance
    Head coaches in the NFL have never enjoyed significant job security, but these days, in the age of billion-dollar television contracts, the job holds more pressure than ever before. No fewer than nine of the NFL's 32 teams -- Detroit, Kansas City, the New York Jets, Minnesota, Oakland, Green Bay, New Orleans, St. Louis and Houston -- will change coaches.

    "It's typical," Walsh said. "People are crying out for new coaches all the time, but it's impossible to sustain success unless you have continuity. When you continually change head coaches and assistants, you have to start over.

    "You hear it every time -- 'What did they teach these guys?' Well, they're teaching different things; you can't expect everyone to teach the same way. The key is staying constant."

    Even Holmgren and Shanahan, with their transcendent track records, have not been immune from criticism.

    "It's easier to fire coaches than players," Shanahan observed. "You're only as good as your last game. That's what keeps me balanced.

    "It's not what you've done in the past, it's what you're doing now. If you look at it that way, then you have a chance to survive. If not, it's just a matter of time before you're gone."


    Cherishing the opportunity
    The Denver Broncos put together 10-6 seasons in 2003 and 2004, but after they got scalded by the Colts in back-to-back wild-card losses, some folks wondered whether Shanahan had lost his grip on the game. After all, only two NFL head coaches, Pittsburgh's Bill Cowher and Jeff Fisher of Tennessee, had more tenure.



    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
    Mike Shanahan has led the Broncos to the playoffs in seven of 11 seasons in Denver.When Shanahan used a third-round draft choice on Maurice Clarett, the dubious running back from Ohio State, the critics had more evidence; he never made it out of training camp. When the Broncos lost their 2005 season opener, in gruesome fashion at Miami, 34-10, it seemed to be confirmed.

    But a funny thing happened on the way to a seeming 6-10 disaster. Shanahan took a team with low expectations and matched Holmgren with the league's second-best record. There was a distinct pattern to the Broncos' season. That first loss was followed by five straight wins. After a 24-23 loss at the New York Giants, they responded by winning four more. The last loss, at Kansas City, set the scene for four straight wins at the end the regular season that clinched a home playoff game, one that didn't involve the Colts.

    As he grows older and the grind becomes tougher, does Shanahan cherish these postseason opportunities more?

    "There's no question about it," Shanahan said last week. "When you're around a team where all the faces change, that's something I've never been through before. And when you're dealing with the cap and so many different scenarios, it makes for a great challenge."

    Like Holmgren, Shanahan has managed to get there with a quarterback who was not universally embraced. Even with that pair of 10-6 seasons since his arrival from Arizona, Plummer's career starting record was an unsteady 49-60. This year, Shanahan has finally convinced him to let his teammates do the heavy lifting. While Mike Anderson and Tatum Bell combined for 412 rushes for 1,935 yards and 20 touchdowns and wide receiver Rod Smith caught his typical 85 balls for 1,105 yards, Plummer had his most successful, balanced season ever. His paltry seven interceptions -- Plummer's 1.5 interception percentage (seven INTs on 456 passes) was the league's second-best -- are a tribute to Shanahan's skill as a teacher.

    When the Chargers' Drew Brees and the Bengals' Carson Palmer suffered injuries, Jake Plummer found out he was going to his first Pro Bowl in nine seasons. Who would have believed it possible?

    Growing up, Shanahan was a terrific athlete. But in a spring football game during his junior season of college, he suffered a split kidney and his heart stopped for 30 seconds. A priest read last rites, but Shanahan survived. He completed bachelor's and master's degrees at Eastern Illinois in physical education -- with the emphasis on education.

    "These opportunities don't come along very often, so you've got to take advantage of them," Shanahan said. "I've been on both sides of it. I've won the Super Bowl as a head coach, and lost it as an assistant. The main thing I tell our guys: If you win one or two [playoff games], it doesn't matter. You've got to win all three."

    Through uncommon commitment and perseverance, Holmgren and Shanahan have arrived at very nearly the same place in football history.

    After 13 seasons, Shanahan's record, including playoffs, stands at 129-78 (.623).

    In 14 seasons, Holmgren's record is 147-94 (.610).



    Above all else, Walsh has always considered himself a teacher. That's one reason he's so fond of Holmgren and Shanahan and their impact on the NFL.

    "The key is that they both have excellent eyes for personnel and then the ability to develop the individual skills of the athletes themselves," Walsh said.

    "They are both doing what they want. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the season plays out."

    A rematch of Super Bowl XXXII isn't out of the realm of possibility.

    Greg Garber is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

  • #2
    very nice.
    11/6/11 - The day the Oakland Raiders got raptured!

    Comment


    • #3
      Holmgren, Shanahan back on top--

      This was on the ESPN.com main page, but for those of you who didn't stumble across it.... Here's a good article about both coaches, has alot of good stuff on Shanny and is well written. They also mention that they could have garnered more votes for coach of the year. I'd paste the whole article, but it's pretty long. Enjoy

      http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/playof...ory?id=2288062

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks Mods

        I should have looked more carefully before starting my own thread... Thanks for the merge

        Comment


        • #5
          CardinalDonkey,

          Please keep smack in the appropriate forum. We designed a place specifically for smack, and it is to be posted there, and only there.

          You have numerous posts that are nothing but smack talk in areas other than the smack forum.

          If you have any question, please reference our Code Of Conduct, or ask myself or the other mods.s

          Everybody's gotta elevate from the norm...

          The greatest list of music I don't own on CD :sad:
          You should check these guys out

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Jared
            CardinalDonkey,

            Please keep smack in the appropriate forum. We designed a place specifically for smack, and it is to be posted there, and only there.

            You have numerous posts that are nothing but smack talk in areas other than the smack forum.

            If you have any question, please reference our Code Of Conduct, or ask myself or the other mods.s
            I dont talk smack, I speak in thruth alone only.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by CardinalDonkey
              I dont talk smack, I speak in thruth alone only.

              I see. So you are basically refusing to follow a polite request asked of a guest by the hosts??

              Everybody's gotta elevate from the norm...

              The greatest list of music I don't own on CD :sad:
              You should check these guys out

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Jared
                I see. So you are basically refusing to follow a polite request asked of a guest by the hosts??
                I havent acted in any out of order fashion at all. My posts are simple and to the point. You dont see me yelling, name calling or anything in the way of disrespect. Just becuase my own opinion is from a different perspective don't mean its disrespectful or "smack talk" as you put it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by CardinalDonkey
                  I havent acted in any out of order fashion at all. My posts are simple and to the point. You dont see me yelling, name calling or anything in the way of disrespect. Just becuase my own opinion is from a different perspective don't mean its disrespectful or "smack talk" as you put it.

                  By posting negative or non constructive posts simply designed to annoy our residents, you are smack talking.


                  Which is fine, when kept where it belongs.


                  Your opinion of what constitutes smack is not in line with what is common practice here. So, when in Rome..........

                  Everybody's gotta elevate from the norm...

                  The greatest list of music I don't own on CD :sad:
                  You should check these guys out

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jared
                    By posting negative or non constructive posts simply designed to annoy our residents, you are smack talking.


                    Which is fine, when kept where it belongs.


                    Your opinion of what constitutes smack is not in line with what is common practice here. So, when in Rome..........
                    You have a bunch of transformers lining your desk don't you?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by CardinalDonkey
                      You have a bunch of transformers lining your desk don't you?

                      I am really trying to be very polite. But since you haven't answered yes or no, I now know what I need to do.

                      Everybody's gotta elevate from the norm...

                      The greatest list of music I don't own on CD :sad:
                      You should check these guys out

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jared
                        I am really trying to be very polite. But since you haven't answered yes or no, I now know what I need to do.
                        And I was asking you a very serious question. You have a bunch of transformers lining your desk don't you?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by CardinalDonkey2
                          And I was asking you a very serious question. You have a bunch of transformers lining your desk don't you?
                          Not bright enough to leave it alone are you?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Krugan
                            Not bright enough to leave it alone are you?
                            Think I care? Its good to have an anonymous proxy server. Banning usernames or IP's becomes a useless practice. I'll say what I want to here. Its not my fault he was offended for having dolls on his desk.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by CardinalDonkey
                              I dont talk smack, I speak in thruth alone only.
                              and your English skills are amazing.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X