Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I'll Believe It When I See It

Holmgren, huh? Sorry to be cynical about this, but I'm not buying that this is anything beyond a negotiating ploy to get the Seahawks to move more quickly.

Mike Holmgren is exactly the kind of guy that the Browns need as their football czar. He's experienced, he's a winner, and his unsuccessful effort to wear two hats in Seattle probably has given him an appreciation for just how much is involved in a general manager's role. His draft record is a mixed bag, but it does include Shaun Alexander and Steve Hutchinson, both of whom are better than anyone who's worn a Browns uniform in a generation.

Perhaps best of all, Holmgren's got zero ties to Belichick and his coaching progeny, and has a reputation for not suffering fools. Based on Eric Mangini's statements in this morning's paper, the prospect of Holmgren showing up in Cleveland is already making the Mangenius extremely uncomfortable. In fact, I think it's fair to say that when you read his quotes, you can almost see the beads of sweat on his upper lip.

If the Browns do sign Holmgren, then I really think a celebration is in order. I just can't convince myself that this is actually going to happen. Here's why: if I'm Mike Holmgren, why do I want any part of this mess? Aside from the fact that the team has 11 picks in next year's draft, there's nothing to recommend this job. The organization is a laughingstock with a deeply ingrained culture of losing. The owner has proven to be eccentric, impulsive, and erratic, and seems to be much more interested in his Premier League soccer team than his NFL franchise. Besides all of that, the idea of relocating to Northeast Ohio just isn't likely to hold much attraction to a West Coast guy like Holmgren.

If you've got no better alternatives, then maybe you sign up for this trainwreck, since Randy Lerner does have that billionaire thing going for him and his checks will definitely clear. But it's unlikely that Cleveland will end up being Holmgren's only alternative. In addition to the Seahawks and the perennially open positions in Washington and Oakland (which are every bit as unattractive as the Browns' spot), several other teams, including perhaps Tampa Bay and Chicago, may be in the czar market this offseason. That means Mike Holmgren is likely to have plenty of alternatives in the near future, and if so, why on earth does his take this one?

I guess the answer to that question is that if Holmgren figures out a way to turn around a franchise as far gone as Cleveland, then he goes from borderline Hall of Famer to an absolute lock. I really hope Holmgren decides to take the job. In fact, it's all I want for Christmas, but I'm afraid that I'm much more likely to wake up to find the usual lump of coal in my stocking.

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