Mike Holmgren enters his sixth season as Head Coach of the Seattle Seahawks. The expectations are the highest they have ever been as Holmgren keeps his players hungry to meet their goals.
The preseason has gone very well for the Seahawks. They ended with a 3-1 record, the best in franchise history. Mike Holmgren has efficiently and effectively executed his master plan for the preseason as close to perfection as it has ever been.
As I read interviews, watch TV interviews and talk to sports writers about the Seahawks, I realize there has been a huge shift in Mike Holmgren.
The change has come from his experiences in his personal life as well as his professional life, his wife beating cancer, the death of his good friend and defensive coordinator Fritz Shurmur and the frustrations of building a franchise from the bottom up.
Holmgren is humble. That is apparent because he let club president, Bob Whitsitt take his General Manager position and give it to Bob Ferduson. Mike believes in his vision, he believes in his team, he has never quit. Mike Holmgren is motivated to be at his best.
These factors have changed the way Holmgren thinks about life. Holmgren has endured six years of painful hard work that is just now reaping the rewards of success with the Seattle Seahawks.
Because of these factors, Holmgren deals with his coaches and players differently. He is more compassionate, he is dialed in psychologically and emotionally, as he organizes every detail to make his team successful. He is in a zone!
The change in Holmgren is apparent through the flawless management of the game verses Minnesota. The way he is patient, resting his starting players, displaying confidence that his players are ready for the season to begin, making those sound choices for the health of his team.
It is about the way Holmgren sets his players up for success. He gives them the opportunity to rise above the expectations that are set for them. He encourages his players to have the confidence, to expand the expectations that they set for themselves. He does this through patients, hard love and an understanding of what motivates people.
How many times do players perform as his young wide receivers did Thursday? They all stepped up. They played as if tomorrow was the last day on earth. He is the teacher.
One can see a special feeling on the team, with the way Holmgren encourages leadership with the veteran players. The way 11-year veteran quarterback Trent Dilfer was encouraging the young receivers verses Minnesota.
How the young receivers rose to the expectations put in front of them. Enter, first year receiver Antoine Burns, who was the leading receiver verses Minnesota. Burns had five receptions for 95 yards and took a bone-jarring hit, which ripped his helmet off and left him needing three stitches. but Burns managed to hold on to the ball and get the first down, as he popped right back up with a big smile knowing he did his job!.
The psychological effect that Holmgren has on his players is amazing. They will walk into hell for him because they respect him. He is brutally honest with them, he is fair with them, and he is forthright with his vision.
Most of all, he is honest with himself about making his expectations realistic. He formulates a recipe for success to include everything important in his life, living and appreciating what is happening now and not worrying about what is beyond his control.
Strap yourself into your chairs this season, because this is going to be a special year. The whole team is in a zone. There is an aura of success around this team, which breeds the determination to be the best.
The goal and the mission statement are to work hard enough to expand the team's achievement to perfection and achieve the ultimate goal as World Champions. This could be the year Holmgren leads his team to the Promised Land.
There is a lot of work left to be done, but the expectation is in reach and the promise of an exciting season ahead as the Hawks line up against New Orleans Sunday for the first game of the season.
It seems, every year, at the beginning of the season, there is a tremendous amount of optimism for a successful season. But this year is special. There are no spiced-up slogans such as, “It’s Now Time!”. Just focus, hard work and an intense drive to meet the common goals on this football team.
When chemistry, talent, and maturity are combined, good things happen. That is taking place in Seattle right now.
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We’d like to thank
Mike Zuercher for this impassioned fan’s perspective! You can reach Mike