Sydney Speaks! Holmgren deserves respect

Former Packers fullback and assistant coach Harry Sydney explains why Packers fans should be thankful for Mike Holmgren and not bitter toward the former coach and his decision to leave Green Bay:

With the Super Bowl right around the corner, so many Packer fans are reminded of a different time. As the Pittsburgh Steelers face the Seattle Seahawks in the big game Feb. 5, so many are thinking about the "WHAT IF?" and are still angry at Mike Holmgren for leaving the Packers. As I have listened to the radio shows this week I can't believe the pain that many callers have harbored for all these years. I'm trying to understand it, but I can't. Some are even mad at Ron Wolf as well, and here's why I believe so:

First, let's understand that business is business, and Mike Holmgren made a business decision that I believe the Green Bay Packers fans took way too personal. Some of the callers seemed to have trouble believing that Mike Holmgren would want to ever live the place that they have called home. They don't understand how anyone would want to leave The Frozen Tundra, like it's the only place that has some form of tradition or legacy.

A lot of callers believe that Holmgren sold out because he was talking about taking the job in Seattle while the Packers were preparing for their second Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos. But I think that everyone has to strike while the iron is hot. At this time he was the golden boy and he wanted an opportunity to be general manager and control of a football organization, so he seized the moment.

Others are mad at Ron Wolf because they feel he should have explained his plans to Holmgren so that Mike would have waited and had everything he wanted here in Green Bay, which was complete control. Wolf always considered himself a man with the vision for the future and in this case some felt he dropped the ball. And because of this error in judgment or lack of foresight many can't stand to see the Seahawks in the Super Bowl, or at least Mike Holmgren guiding them. I really don't have any problem with it and I'm not just a fan, I understand what happened and I wasn't just an innocent bystander. There's an old saying "don't hate the player, hate the game" and Holmgren was the player because of the rules of the NFL at the time. Teams cannot talk to potential head coaching candidates because of the tampering laws. The only way a head coach can go to another team is to get fired, or his contract runs out, or he becomes GM.

Holmgren through others and his agent must have made it known what his wishes were and they got it done. Holmgren and his staff brought the Packers from the depths of the football graveyard to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances, winning one. Yet some fans are angry that he left. Give me a break! What I believe many fans are angry about is that his departure signaled the fall of the empire because since then all fans have been waiting to have a coach that knows how to win the big one. Love him or hate him, Holmgren is a very good coach and now he has the opportunity to be the first head coach to lead two different teams to wins in the Super Bowl. Talk about setting yourself apart. There are many Packer fans that will be wanting Seattle to lose because of their dislike for Holmgren. Some feel that because of his success his ego grew to the point where he thought it was all about him and not the players or the assistant coaches that helped him be successful. But remember he was humbled when he got stripped of his GM duties, yet that didn't stop him from getting back to the big dance. What I mean by big dance is the Super Bowl where dreams will come true for some.

When we watch Holmgren prowling the sideline against the Steelers let's not think about what could have been, let's think about what was and how great it was to experience what we all got to be part of, which was Super Bowls XXXI and XXXII. Those were great moments in time. All the Packer fans cherish them because we don't know when that will ever happen again. Wolf and Holmgren were two individuals with different styles, one with the knowledge of X's and O's and the other with the knowledge of people, and together they created a formula for success. Let's not tarnish any memories. Let's be thankful, so for any of you fans that still feel the pain, do me and yourself a favor and just LET IT GO!!!!!!!

Harry Sydney

Editor's note: Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. If you have a question for Harry, e-mail it to managing editor Todd Korth at, and he will forward it to him.

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