Sherman didn't deserve new deal

First, a disclaimer. The following opinion has nothing to do with Friday night's exhibition (of futility) game at Lambeau Field. If the Packers have a shred of decency, they will offer the fans their money back. The New England debacle aside, Packers coach Mike Sherman did not deserve a contract extension.

To be sure, Sherman cares deeply about this team. This is not just a job for Sherman. If you pricked one of Sherman's veins, he would bleed green. If you pricked one of his arteries, he would bleed gold. Outside of perhaps the man who hired him, Ron Wolf, and team president Bob Harlan, nobody affiliated with the team has such an affinity about the past and present of the Packers as Sherman.

Sherman's resume, undoubtedly, makes him look like a Rhodes Scholar among a class full of mere honor students.

With a career record of 53-27, Sherman's .663 winning percentage trails only Vince Lombardi (50-15-1, .765) in team history among coaches with at least five years on the sideline — ahead of Mike Holmgren (51-29, .638) and founding father Curly Lambeau (29-16-5, .630).

It took Sherman just 78 games to reach 50 wins. Only Lombardi, in 66 games, reached the 50-win plateau faster.

If the Packers somehow win the NFC North championship again — don't choke on your coffee, if you are reading this on the morning after Friday's massacre — Sherman will be the only coach in team history to lead the club to four consecutive division crowns.

OK, so you note the Packers have a long history of losing — heck, Sherman is one of just four coaches in team annals to have a winning record — so comparing Sherman to some of his predecessors is a lot like comparing Leinie's to Pabst.

So chew on these two tidbits:

— Among current NFL coaches, Sherman's winning percentage trails only Atlanta's Jim Mora Jr., Washington's Joe Gibbs and Philadelphia's Andy Reid.

— Finally, since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger, Sherman's winning percentage is tied with Bill Cowher for the fifth-best by an NFL coach in his first five seasons, trailing such icons as Chuck Knox, George Seifert, Gibbs and Mike Ditka.

With all of that said and all of those numbers in his favor, try to look back at Sherman's tenure with an eye on history. Assuming Brett Favre winds up retiring without returning to the Super Bowl, won't Sherman's tenure be a colossal disappointment?

Sure, some of the personnel decisions by Sherman the general manager made delivering the Packers to the promised land nearly impossible for Sherman the coach.

But look at the talent Sherman was handed. Favre at quarterback. Ahman Green and William Henderson at running back. An offensive line with five Pro Bowl-caliber blockers. An above-average tight end in Bubba Franks. An above-average group of receivers.

The knocks on Sherman are obvious.

— His playoff record is 2-4. Two of those losses came at home — the first and second Lambeau Field playoff losses in team history.

— Then there was the Philadelphia game, when Sherman's conservative approach arguably cost the Packers the game.

— The Packers used to be unbeatable when it's cold. They've proven eminently beatable, however, in playoff losses to Atlanta and Minnesota and last year's regular-season game against Jacksonville.

The Lambeau mystique? Gone. The fabled Frozen Tundra exists in Packers lore, but to the Packers' opponents, it's been like a day at the beach.

Could another coach have matched Sherman's highlights but avoided his lowlights? Who knows. But unless Sherman can turn around this team in the next week and defy the odds and logic by guiding this outfit to the Super Bowl, the stern eyes of history will not look kindly at what Sherman accomplished during the closing years of Favre's superlative career.

Lawrence is a regular contributor to Send comments to

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