The League

Jeff Nelson

Jeff Nelson

Sports Correspondent and the Wes Welker/Dante Hall of flag football.

Holmgren Creates Greatness


If the most important position in the NFL is quarterback - a cliché we hear all the time, but a truism nonetheless - the most coveted retired coach should be Mike Holmgren.

Nobody out there has had as much success with quarterbacks as Holmgren, and with so many teams always trying to develop young quarterbacks (hmmm... a local team comes to mind) he could have the greatest impact.

Going way back to his days in San Francisco as a quarterbacks' coach and offensive coordinator, Holmgren worked with Joe Montana and tutored his backups, Steve Young and Steve DeBerg.

Once with the Green Bay Packers, Holmgren was the person most responsible for Brett Favre's greatness. And yes, despite all of the mediocre seasons and retirement decisions in recent years, there was, once upon a time, a period of true, transcendent greatness. Just look at Favre's numbers from 1994-97.

When Holmgren left, Favre was never the same. During this decade, No. 4 reverted back to the mistake-prone "gunslinger" that Holmgren had somehow managed to reign in, a deterioration that only reinforced Holmgren's greatness.

His Green Bay tenure also featured the development of some notable backups, including Mark Brunell, Ty Detmer and Matt Hasselbeck, all of whom went on to start in other places.

Hasselbeck, of course, was acquired by Seattle and flourished under Holmgren, reaching a Super Bowl that could have been won, if not for some questionable officiating.

Because he didn't win that Super Bowl, and because he had a less-than-stellar stint as the Seahawks' general manger, Holmgren's reputation has fallen a bit in recent years.

But when he's just a coach, and when he's got a young quarterback to mold, there are few men in NFL history as accomplished as Mike Holmgren. And that should make him the most sought-after coach when he decides to come out of retirement, be it this year or next.

By Jeff Nelson  |  May 13, 2009; 9:13 AM ET  | Category:  Coaching , San Francisco 49ers , Seattle Seahawks , Washington Redskins Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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