Scram a lot

O, BY THE WAY

On Nfl Coaches Quitting

January 17, 2008|By BILL ORDINE

And now comes Mike Holmgren opening the discussion about possible retirement (not the first time). Or maybe staying for a final year. Or even re-upping for the future.

There used to be a time when, if an NFL team made the playoffs, the last thing on the organization's agenda was looking for a new coach.

This year, though, the Washington Redskins' Joe Gibbs unexpectedly quit. Admirably, Gibbs is choosing family over profession.

That was followed by the annual Tony Dungy soul-searching in Indianapolis. His children have enrolled in school in Tampa, Fla., and we all know Dungy will go wherever a higher calling directs him.

And now another familiar Holmgren stay-or-leave vigil is on in Seattle.

So, we could have as many teams that made the playoffs (Redskins, Colts, Seahawks) needing new coaches as do teams that were also-rans (Ravens, Atlanta Falcons, Miami Dolphins).

The fact is, coaching an NFL team is an immensely wearing profession - even when you succeed. I recall Bill Parcells before the January 1991 Super Bowl at a news conference on what was nearly the eve of his team's win over the Buffalo Bills and talking not about the game but the offseason ahead.

Parcells wasn't discussing quitting (even though he did after the season, as it turned out, partly because of health issues), but he was moaning that being in the playoffs and the Super Bowl had drawbacks.

Huh?

Well, his team was already behind the rest of the NFL in preparing for the league's version of free agency, called Plan B, and working on the draft.

The NFL offseason wasn't nearly as complicated then as it is today (salary cap considerations alone can give a coach a migraine), but Parcells was dreading it so much, he couldn't even enjoy the fact that his team was in the Super Bowl.

After Seattle's Super Bowl loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers a couple of years ago, I read that Holmgren and his wife went to Las Vegas, where they saw the musical Mamma Mia! to help unwind. Now, they're headed to Phoenix to kick around what Holmgren should do.

Hey, it's a short flight to Vegas, and Spamalot is in town. That's the Monty Python musical take on the Middle Ages and those fun days of the Black Plague.

I'll bet Big Mike comes out of there humming, "Always look on the bright side of life."

bill.ordine@baltsun.com

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