Lombardi: Two More Years

Now that Mike Sherman has signed a two-year extension, he and the Packers will have each other for a few more years. I will admit I am surprised that this is happening. I am not disappointed, just surprised.

I like Mike Sherman. I think he is a good coach. I just figured that Ted Thompson would at least wait a few games before he would draft an extension. Maybe he had seen enough and felt comfortable enough to make the decision now. Maybe he wants to remove any and all distractions from this team. Maybe he wanted football to be the only thing that this team and coaches needs to focus on. Maybe Coach Sherman said that if he did not have an extension before the season started, he would wait until the end of the year. Maybe the Packers did not want to take the chance that the team plays well and Sherman is a hot prospect at the end of the year. That might cost them. I doubt Sherman would leave for a different job, but he might command a higher salary or a longer contract if other teams are bidding for his services.

The extension is really meaningless from a job security perspective. If Thompson wants to fire Sherman in the future, he will. The team can absorb his salary and not really worry about it too long. I mean, they have been absorbing Cletidius Hunt's salary for a few years now and getting very little payback on that. What this extension does do is remove the lame-duck tag from around of the Head Coach's neck. It takes all the speculation and conjecture about Sherman's future and puts it to rest. That is until they lose a game. I also assume there is a buyout clause in the extension that would reduce the amount the Packers would have to eat in the event that Coach Sherman is let go. We are talking about millions, but that is funny money in today's NFL.

Still, it is nice to see the Head Coach getting his due. His record is exemplary. He has conducted himself with class and a professionalism that belies his competitiveness. People can criticize his performance as the General Manager and he has blown a call here or there as a coach, but who hasn't. He has proven himself capable of coaching this team into the playoffs and his record is among the best in the league. Now he needs to take the next step and take the players that Thompson provides and coach them up.

Great coaches are many things, but most importantly, they are leaders. Sherman did a great job once he started calling the plays last year and he should continue to do so. Head Coaches must be humble enough to hire quality assistants and Sherman went out and did that. Jim Bates will make the defense better. He can give input into player personnel decisions, but his most important duty is people oriented.

A great coach must set the tone and lead his players each and every day. He must be goal oriented and confident and he must be a master psychologist. The season is long and arduous and most players play with pain. A great coach is the one who contributes to victory with every thing they say and with every gesture and action they take.

The great coaches are not always the best tacticians, although they need to be competent with the X's and O's. They do not need to be the best talent evaluators. They can leave that to others. They need to be leaders of men and Mike Sherman has the opportunity to lead his team to victory. Once he signs this new extension, the only thing he has to worry about is coaching football. The new extension sends a message to everyone that Coach Sherman is the here to stay. Ted Thompson has given this team a boost when it needs it.

Mike Sherman has earned this shot at football immortality. He has a chance to prove to everyone that he deserves to be considered one of the best. To do that, he will have to win the big game. I am sure that being demoted still stings, but this extension sends a message to all who doubted Sherman.

John Lombardi

Editor's note: John Lombardi is the grandson of legendary coach Vince Lombardi. John resides with his family in Green Bay . His football experience includes stints with two teams in the World League (now NFL Europe); in the scouting departments of the Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans; and graduate assistant coach and director of football operations at Vanderbilt. He will be contributing columns for PackerReport.com.

Packer Report Top Stories