Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Mike Holmgren Pinot Noir: Vintage 2006

Mike Holmgren by most accounts is considered a coach with class. This was not evident yesterday. As Seattle fans welcomed the NFC Champions home from the Super Bowl, the Seahawks head coach took the opportunity to whine. "We knew it was going to be tough going up against the Pittsburgh Steelers. I didn't know we were going to have to play the guys in the striped shirts as well."

Whether a poor attempt to rile the crowd at Quest Field or just a chance to vent frustrations, it was out of line and out of character for the head coach. For fans or even media members to complain about the referees is bad enough, for an NFL coach to take shots is poor. Sure Holmgren is competitive and no doubt feels his team was shortchanged, but he deserves his impending NFL fine.

No positive gain comes from whining and appealing about botched calls. After the game, the Seahawks players, while frustrated by the calls, did not blame the loss on the officiating. This showed class and maturity. Holmgren tarnished this grace with public belly-aching.

The fact is the Seahawks had plenty of opportunities to beat the Steelers. Pittsburgh didn’t have a first down until the middle of the second quarter, while Seattle moved the ball with relative ease. Seattle missed two field goals and twice stumbled through the 2-minute drill. Questionable penalties probably cost the Seahawks two touchdowns, but they had just as many squandered chances due to their own mistakes.

The Steelers beat Seattle because they made better second-half adjustments and took advantage of opportunities. As the teams left the field at halftime Holmgren appeared more preoccupied with the officiating than the play of his team. He didn’t look like a coach that was focused on preparing his team for the second half of a Championship game.

Some have drawn comparisons between the Steelers-Colts game with controversy regarding Troy Polamalu’s interception. The difference between the two situations is that the Steelers won the game. They took care of business and beat the Colts despite the bad call. Joey Porter was wrong to complain in that instance too.

It is a shame that officials have such an influence on the game, but to say they beat the Seahawks is not right and irresponsible. Mike please take some accountability for your team’s loss.