If the Seattle Seahawks were the classic computer game Oregon Trail, I would put the pace on “grueling,” the food rations on “bare bones,” and tell the players, “Shut the hell up and play, or you’re gonna get dysentery and die.”
Loaded with prima donnas from top to bottom, the 2009 edition of the Hawks were coddled by their head coach, Jim Mora, who lost his job as a result. Consider him Zeke, the kid who was always first to pass in your Trail caravan.
The problem with Mora isn’t that he simply lost too many games; much of it has to do with his reputation as a player’s coach.
The term “player’s coach” is code for, “I want to be your friend and, while you’ll want me to stick around so you don’t have to do much work, I will probably get fired without ever accomplishing much since, deep down, you don’t respect me.” That’s a long-ass code, but you get the idea.
Mora didn’t have the respect of his players and it showed.
The team quit on him down the stretch, as the Seahawks were pummeled in their final four games of the year. At the same time, disgruntled players vented their frustration with the coaching staff on the sideline and in the media, all but forcing their head coach to the unemployment line.
Though it makes sense to ax Mora, the timing of his departure is suspect.
The team has yet to hire a general manager, and is now in the process of filling two gaping voids for the 2010 season. One can only wonder whether any of the Hawks’ players had a direct impact on the abruptness of Mora’s termination, namely superstar divas Jon Ryan and Olindo Mare (tongue, meet cheek).
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding Mora’s ouster, the opportunity for the Seahawks to improve is now greater than ever before.
Starting with a clean slate, the team can bring in the type of coach who will force these players to shape up. No more whining in the press, no more dogging it on certain plays, no more being overpaid little wimps.
The Hawks need a coach who will carry on the legacy of Mike Holmgren, who, let’s face it, should still be the team’s head coach (thank you, Tim Ruskell, for destroying our franchise).
Under Holmgren, players were forced to submit to the gameplan, or risk serious consequences. At best, the team might release you. At worst, Holmgren himself might remove your limbs and beat you with your own arms and legs.
Players were scared of Mike Holmgren, and things worked better that way.
There was a level of predictability that came with each practice and each game. Everyone — coaches, players, personnel — knew what to expect when it came to the head coach.
There were no awkward post-game press conferences calling out kickers, or questioning the desire of the ballclub. Holmgren had control of his team, and everyone knew it.
Similarly, there was a certain level of accountability that came with the Holmgren regime. If you screwed up, you’d face consequences. If you stepped out of line, you’d be punished. Everyone knew their role, knew what they had to do to survive, and acted accordingly.
With a chance to make amends for the resulting faux pas that was the Tim Ruskell-Jim Mora era, the Seahawks need to rekindle the memory of Mike Holmgren and bring in a head coach who won’t be afraid to make his players hate him. And by hate, I mean respect.
Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden are two names that quickly come to mind, but assuredly there are more guys like that in the world of the NFL. However, bringing in either of those two ex-coaches, both of whom have won Superbowls and established a track record of excellence, would set a precedence on winning that was missing in 2009.
As a fan, I want nothing more than to see a true ass-kicker patrolling the Seahawks’ sideline.
I want the type of coach who will make his players quiver.
I want to see T.J. Houshmandzadeh weeping on the sideline.
I want Matt Hasselbeck to know that his next interception will be his last.
I want the underachievers to know that their reputation, their contract, or their name mean nothing. Nothing.
I want this team to succeed, and it starts with the coach.
Get a guy in here who will strip these players of their undeserved attitudes and start from scratch. This team needs a tyrant, a general, a force. Let’s go get one.