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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.

October 17, 2012 at 6:00 AM

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Mike Holmgren, the Seattle Seahawks and unfair comparisons

End of an era? Mike Holmgren moving on from Cleveland
By Danny O'Neil | The Seattle Times

It is impossible to discuss Mike Holmgren's departure in Cleveland without contrasting it against where Seattle currently sits.

That's unfair. It's unfair for him, for the Seahawks' franchise and for the person trying to put the relationship in perspective.

Holmgren is the most successful coach in Seahawks history. He made the playoffs six times in 10 years, won four straight division titles and led the team to its only Super Bowl appearance. He won four playoff games for a franchise that had won a total of three in the 23 years before he arrived.

He was a great coach, and a better general manager than he was given credit for. That Super Bowl team in 2005? That was his offense, pieced together player by player and year by year. Matt Hasselbeck was his quarterback.

And when he was hired in Cleveland three years ago at the same point Seattle was at a crossroads as a franchise, it created a situation in which his tenure with the Browns would always be contrasted by the Seahawks' direction under Pete Carroll.

That wasn't fair, either. Carroll was hired as a coach, Holmgren's role more as a de facto owner. The parallel paths of Holmgren's return to the NFL and Seattle's fresh start under Carroll makes the comparisons inevitable. That just doesn't mean they're fair.

Holmgren was hired to rebuild Cleveland's franchise, and now he's being steered toward the exit only halfway through his deal. It's too bad. Really it is, and it is only made more difficult by the comparisons with Seattle.

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