Mike Holmgren inducted into Packers Hall of Fame
GREEN BAY — We’ll never know how much more the Green Bay Packers tandem of Ron Wolf and Mike Holmgren would have accomplished had they stayed together in Green Bay for more than seven seasons. The fact that they’re both in the Packers Hall of Fame is an indication those seven seasons were special.
Packers general manager Wolf hired Holmgren — architect of San Francisco’s four-time Super Bowl champions — to be the team’s 11th head coach on January 11th, 1992. Thus began one of the most successful coaching stints in NFL history — a 75-37 regular season record, a 9-5 postseason mark and two Super Bowl appearances, including a 35-21 victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI.
“I just think how good they are now! What’s happened since 1992. It’s unbelievable how things have changed. I had a little part in that, and I’ll feel good about that,” Holmgren said.
“For 24 years after Lombardi left, there were four winning seasons here, and one of those seasons shouldn’t even count. It was a strike year, so that’s cheating. If you just think about that, that’s four years, and they had three winning seasons. That’s incredible. He comes here and never has a losing season,” Wolf said.
For his role in turning around one of pro-sports finest franchises, Holmgren was inducted to the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame on July 21st.
Fitting that Holmgren — who rose from being a former coach and history teacher at his high school Alma Mater chose Wolf to introduce him into the Hall of Fame, because the two were connected at the hip from day one.
“It was my first job. How am I gonna argue about anything?” Holmgren said.
The dynamic duo didn’t get off to a very good start in 1992, following losses to the Vikings and Buccaneers. The Packers rookie head coach found his team trailing the Bengals in the late going.
“We were down 14-nothing and I thought to myself, ‘I’m never going to win a game in this league. I’m going to be the shortest tenured head coach ever. This is too big for me. It’s not working.’ And then we won this crazy game, at the end, and I know the plays I am calling. I know what is supposed to happen out there. And it’s the damndest thing you’ve ever seen! I go, ‘well where did that come from?’ We’re at the playground!” Holmgren said.
Holmgren left Green Bay following the 1998 season to become coach and general manager in Seattle. Had he waited a couple more seasons, Holmgren could have sailed his own ship in Green Bay because Wolf retired.
“The fans were, to this organization and this team and this city was everything,” Holmgren said.
“His legacy — when you think about the great Packers coaches of all time, you’ve got the two L’s, and then you’ve got Holmgren,” Wolf said.
Holmgren was stripped of his GM title after the 2002 season, but in ’05 he led the Seahawks to their first ever Super Bowl.
Now, he’s president of the Cleveland Browns. However, Holmgren’s job may be in jeopardy because the team has new ownership. His contract calls for him to be paid $8 million through 2014.