There comes a time in a head coach or general manager's career when he becomes grandfathered in to a permanent place in the NFL—when past success trumps recent results. Former Super Bowl winner Mike Holmgren has reached this point.
On the surface, the move seems very plausible. Holmgren has a relationship with Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie that stems from having worked together with the Green Bay Packers. He would also bring in the sort of winning pedigree that recently has escaped this franchise.
What Holmgren's role would be is speculation at this point, though it would appear to be on the personnel side. Still, being teamed with McKenzie could help expedite the Raiders climb from their current stretch of futility. Oakland hasn't reached the playoffs since 2002 and has only two seasons above the five-win mark in that span.
Holmgren's resume is impressive, having worked under Bill Walsh and George Seifert with the San Francisco 49ers. Notable coaches who have worked under him include Jon Gruden, Steve Mariucci and Andy Reid, among others.
In 20 seasons as a head coach, Holmgren has tallied 161 victories, a .592 winning percentage, three Super Bowl appearances (one title) and only three seasons with fewer than nine wins. His most recent stint landed him with the Cleveland Browns as team president, where conflicts with new ownership was at the root of his departure last season.
As McKenzie looks to cement his status as the front office leader of this team, Holmgren's presence could be more of a distraction than a speedy antidote to the Raiders ills.
At 64 years old and with his resume in his back pocket, it is likely that Holmgren is in search for a situation where he possesses a large chunk of team control. While Oakland might appear to be a place where that makes sense, McKenzie was brought in by Mark Davis to be the unequivocal leader of this franchise.
For this to work out, there would have to be clearly defined roles crafted from the start, or the front office could become as visibly dysfunctional as the product on the field.
Another issue that could arise rather quickly—should the Raiders, well, still be the Raiders—is the job security of head coach Dennis Allen, who was hand picked by McKenzie to captain this team.
Holmgren stated this offseason that he would be interested in coaching again in the NFL.
Couple that with the tension following a 4-12 season in Oakland and you could have Allen looking over his shoulder on the sidelines, which can't bode well for someone focusing on his job.
While the addition of Holmgren could have an immediate, positive impact on the Raiders—should they find the right role for everyone—it doesn't seem like a long-term fit for the organization.
Instead of bringing in retread football minds, Oakland would do well to rebuild its legacy with fresh faces. McKenzie was a great start and should be given the opportunity to get to Holmgren's grandfathered status without his help.
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