Mike Holmgren - Head Coach Of Green Bay
Head Coach of Green Bay
When Holmgren was offered the position of head coach of the Green Bay Packers in 1992, he took it. The Packers, who had done poorly through the 1970s and 1980s, were still shadowed by the memory of their past great coach, Vince Lombardi, and it seemed that no one would ever bring them back to the level of greatness they had enjoyed under his guidance during the 1960s. Five coaches had come and gone since Lombardi; Holmgren was the sixth. When he arrived in Green Bay, he told the players that he would expect a lot from them, but if they worked as he told them, they would win. They had an 8-2 record during his first season and made the playoff in his second for the first time since 1982.
Under Holmgren, the Packers added some stellar players: outstanding quarterback Brett Favre and defensive end Reggie White. White, like Holmgren, was very religious, and said he was waiting for a sign from God to join the Packers; when Holmgren heard this, according to Attner, he left a message on White's answering machine, saying "Reggie, this is God. Go to Green Bay." White went.
In The Sporting News, Attner wrote that under Holmgren, "for the first time since the 1960s the Packers have a coach who has nudged aside, albeit just slightly, Vince Lombardi's still-intense aura and carved out some turf of his own." Lombardi was noted for his tough, bullying manner; Holmgren treated his players with more respect. As Attner noted, "Holmgren disliked being called too nice to coach an NFL team, but he at least directs his cooperation using reasonable tough love."
Holmgren rose to the top of his profession in 1997, leading the Packers to a 35-21 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI. Green Bay returned to the big game the next year, but lost to the Denver Broncos.
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