Sports

Hand me no crying towels

A photo of a fan holding a sign in a recent issue of the Seattle Times said it all.

The caption read, “Game tickets $100, plane tickets Seattle to Phoenix $1,400, hotel room $300, seeing Holmgren coach his last game, priceless!”

You got that right.

Any fan who isn’t elated to see the Seahawks head coach leave town should immediately make an appointment with their friendly neighborhood psychiatrist.

Frankly, it didn’t take me long to grow weary listening to all the sob sisters and reading the endless columns bemoaning Mike Holmgren stepping down. So I figured I’d add a few opinions of my own and maybe stir the pot.

I’ve always been a fan of facts and figures, not hype, so let’s examine the statistics.

In his tenure at the helm, and for a period of time as general manager as well, did he ever bring a Super Bowl trophy back to the Emerald City?

For 10 years the Seahawks (sometimes referred to around newsrooms as the Squawks) did not qualify for the playoffs four times, lost in the wild-card game three times and lost divisional games twice.

Seattle reached the Super Bowl championship game in 2005 and was defeated by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Holmgren came to Seattle with a lot of promises, sort of like a political candidate, but he never delivered.

Quickly now, what was the Seahawks’ regular-season record during the Holmgren era?

If you answered 86-75, you win the prize. However, add a 4-6 post-season record and the winning advantage slips to 90-81.

People, please, that is only nine games over .500 playing in a pathetic division like the NFC West. Surely not a reason for fans to shed bitter tears when the head coach departs for greener pastures and turns the program over to somebody else.

I’ll tell you what, Holmgren wouldn’t have lasted 10 years coaching for Jerry Jones in Dallas and I’d have given him about three years at the helm in Oakland before Al Davis ran him out of town on a rail.

Less than a week after the end of the NFL season, the ax has already started to lop off heads.

Eric Mangini is gone as head coach of the Jets, Romeo Crennel is out the door at Cleveland and the latest to ride off into the sunset after 14 seasons is Mike Shanahan in Denver.

The Jets finished 9-7 and out of the playoff picture after dropping four of their last five games and Cleveland ended up 4-12. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t that the Squawks’ record in 2008?

The Browns are already off to a shaky 2009 season because Bill Cowher told Cleveland’s owner, Bill Lerner, he is not interested in coaching the rebuilding team.

Seattle’s 4-12 record this season “earns” the team the fourth pick in the draft and here is a bit of advice: Don’t pick a quarterback in the opening round.

There will be three good quarterbacks, all of them Heisman candidates and two of whom have already won the trophy, coming out in 2010, so hang on before you draft a new signal caller.

Seattle’s management should build from the inside out and use the first pick to draft the best college middle linebacker available.

The next pick should be a big offensive lineman, preferably a left tackle, like one of those pickup trucks with helmets that play for Wisconsin. The Badgers average 6-foot-5, 319 pounds per man on their starting interior line and all of them can move. Folks, those are some big dudes!

Next, sack the West Coast Offense as part of the game plan. It has served its purpose for two decades and it’s time for some new ideas.

Finally, in my mind, this is the saddest situation of all in Seattle.

I see a lot of kids and adults wearing Seahawks apparel, just like many people back in Michigan when I was growing up did with the Detroit Lions.

It was the kids who wised up first and realized there was no thrill in wearing the Honolulu blue and silver apparel, sort of like that red sweater with the white bear on the front that Aunt Mary gave you for Christmas.

The Lions weren’t any good back then and they haven’t gotten any better, as their 0-16 record in 2008 attests.

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