Sunday, July 22, 2012

Holmgren now part of Packers Hall of Fame

Last night in Green Bay, Packers alumni and fans turned out for the annual Packers Hall of Fame dinner and induction ceremony. This was the 42nd such event, as a matter of fact. And the person being inducted was none other than former Packers head coach, Mike Holmgren, now President of the Cleveland Browns. (Our sympathies to you, Mike.)

Many fans, including this one, weren't too happy when Holmgren left Green Bay for Seattle. We didn't begrudge him the chance to be both head coach and general manager. We just felt that perhaps that was a bit more on his mind than it should have been as he led his team to its second consecutive Super Bowl after the 1997 season, where the Packers were the prohibitive favorites. Some even felt, in some convoluted way, that might have helped contribute to the loss against the Denver Broncos. Whatever.

All is forgiven now. We have perspective.

Who better to help give us some of that perspective than the person who hired the relatively unknown Holmgren in 1992 to his first head coaching position, then-GM Ron Wolf. "I mean, for 24 years after Lombardi left," Wolf told reporters, "there were four winning seasons here. And one of those seasons shouldn't even count; it was the strike year. So just think about that, 24 years, they had three winning seasons. He comes here and never has a losing season." And as Wolf also pointed out in his interviews with media, a lot of the players on those teams weren't exactly blue chippers, so to speak. Great coaching can take a so-so team and make them a winner. That's what Holmgren did. Not just once, but every year he was the coach. Remarkable. He deserves his place in the Packers Hall of Fame. For what he did as coach, and the legacy he left which still resounds and is at work nearly 20 years later.

I could write more here about this occasion and Holmgren but Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has done an excellent job doing just that. Why reinvent the wheel? Read her story here. The Packers official website also has its take on things here, plus photos from the ceremony itself.

Say it with me: it's great to be a Packers fan!