The extension, which reportedly averages about $3 million per season, rids Sherman of his lame-duck coaching status. He was relieved of his duties as general manager in January and it was uncertain if new GM Ted Thompson would retain Sherman beyond 2005 despite his impressive coaching record. As it turns out, Thompson said today that he and Sherman reached a comfort level between them over the last couple of months, and Thompson felt a two-year extension was appropriate.
Thompson said he never felt any kind of pressure to extend Sherman's contract before the season opener on Sept. 11 at Detroit.
"It may have appeared that way, but I wasn't trying to judge or rate Mike Sherman as a coach," Thompson said. "I wanted to make sure that everybody was comfortable with the structure and the communication lines were there and all the things that I feel are necessary for us to be successful. I wasn't ever pressured or felt pressured, or anything like that."
Sherman is 53-27 (.663) during regular season games over the last five seasons with the Packers. Sherman in 2005 could post a sixth consecutive winning season. Since the 1993 collective bargaining agreement, NFL teams have changed coaches 84 times and only Sherman's tenure has produced winning seasons in each of its first five years. Currently, Andy Reid (2000-04) is the only other coach with an active streak of five or more winning campaigns.
Sherman, 50, has led the Packers to the playoffs the last four seasons, but he is just 2-4 in post-season games. His post-season record and the fact that the Packers were 4-4 at home last season has raised concern among many fans, but not future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre.
"He was very deserving of it," Favre said about Sherman's extension. "We know that as players, at least the guys who have been here know that. I think anyone who knows anything about football and follows this team knows that he is deserving of it. Unless you win the Super Bowl everyone thinks there is someone better out there."
Over their first five regular seasons as an NFL coach, since 1970 only Chuck Knox, George Seifert, Joe Gibbs and Mike Ditka have produced better records than Sherman, Green Bay's 13th head coach.
A 27-year veteran of the profession, Sherman has coached at every level – high school, college and in the NFL – having launched his collegiate coaching career in 1981 at the University of Pittsburgh.