What if Mike Holmgren hadn’t stepped down as Seattle’s head coach in 2008 and was still in charge of the Seahawks? Or what if, after only one season as Holmgren’s successor, Jim Mora hadn’t been unceremoniously dumped so the Seahawks could hire Pete Carroll?
Those are questions that can’t really be answered, but are fun to ponder anyway from time to time. The what ifs, the second guessing, that’s part of what make sports so much fun.
In an alternate reality, would Holmgren’s 4-12 final season been just a bump in the road? Would he have the Seahawks back on top?
Would Mora, given time, have been able to successfully rebuild an aging roster with the help of a new general manager, who may well not have been John Schneider (remember, Carroll was part of the G.M. hiring process)? Or was a clean slate after 2009 the right answer?
The truth is, we’ll never know for certain, but if ever there was a time to play the “what if” game, it is today.
After all, thanks to a scheduling coincidence, Mora, who works as an analyst for Fox, will be on the call for today’s Seahawks vs. Browns game, which means Holmgren (now the Browns’ president), his successor (Mora) and Mora’s successor (Carroll), will all be in the same stadium. Someone more cynical than myself might say it’s no coincidence at all. That cynic might contend that Fox thought a Mora-Carroll-Holmgren reunion might be provide a ratings boost for a battle of two 2-3 teams that don’t have much in a way of a national following. Not that I’m suggesting a TV network would ever use controversy to improve ratings.
For those who do like a bit of soap opera mixed in with their football, it’s good to know that the person who has the most reason to be upset, Mora, also happens to be the person who will be in front of a microphone today. It’s completely fair to debate whether Mora was the right coach for the Seahawks following the 2009 season, but what isn’t up for debate is the fact that his firing was not handled well by the Seahawks.
Days after the season ended, Mora was sent out to hold the usual end-of-season press conference. As he was talking about his plans for the Seahawks’ future, Mora was not aware that then team CEO Tod Leiweke was interviewing Carroll in Los Angeles. Shortly thereafter, Mora was fired. And while Mora did go 5-11, it is worth pointing out that he went 5-11 with a roster built by Tim Ruskell, the general manager the team had decided months earlier wasn’t good enough at building a football team to keep as general manger.
Unfortunately for those of you hoping for a broadcast full of awkward moments, Mora said he has no problems with the Seahawks or Carroll, and that this game will be just like any of the others he has called over the past two seasons.
“I’m pretty objective when I do a game,” Mora said in a phone interview. “I just try to comment on what I’m seeing, whether it’s negative or something I would question, just try to give the viewer a good listen. … I don’t think it’ll be different.”
But come on, Jim, you’ve got still be a little bitter about the way things went down, right?
“No,” he said. “That’s way, way in the past.”
Besides, as Mora points out, this game doesn’t have much to do with him. Sure, he happened to have coached the Seahawks after Holmgren and before Carroll, but whatever feelings he has towards the Seahawks won’t change the way the game goes down.
“Pete has something to do with the game. Mike has something to do with the game because he’s the president. I have nothing to do with the game,” Mora said. “I just comment on the game. I’m the one guy that doesn’t matter.”
Part of Mora’s job this weekend was a Saturday production meeting with Carroll. It wasn’t the first time they’ve interacted since Mora’s firing. A week after Carroll was hired, the two coincidentally were on the same flight from L.A. to Seattle. And following the Seahawks’ playoff exit last season, Mora said he gave Carroll a call. So as strange as this weekend seems, Mora says it won’t be awkward.
“No, not at all,” Mora said. “… I talked to him at the end of last season and congratulated him on a good year. I’ve known Pete for 25 years, it’s not like we don’t know each other. It won’t be awkward at all.”
Seahawks roster moves
Seattle activated tight end Cameron Morrah from the physical unable to perform list for today’s game at Cleveland. Morrah was recovering from surgery on a toe injury from last year’s NFC playoffs. The Seahawks also released linebacker Stephen Franklin and defensive tackle Jason Shirley, and signed defensive back Chris Maragos from the practice squad to the active roster.
Herald Writer John Boyle: email@example.com. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog