Ron Wolf: Holmgren “pig-headed” in 1998 Super Bowl



Just like the EODs in college (chicks who were good looking seemingly Every Other Day), McGinn keeps up with his EOAs (has one great article, then one highly questionable one and then another great article etc). Considering his season summary overall was poor, McGinn redeems himself with this one. A fascinating article this morning at re what some Packer insiders (apparently some assistant coaches and some players) really thought of the 1998 Super Bowl game against Denver. I gathered that Holmgren and Wolf may have seen their relationship sour when Holmgren left for Seattle, but judging from this article, seems likely to me there was significant tension well before Holmgren left.

Wow – I continue reading this article and I’m kind of blown away. I had no idea. Wolf laying the blame squarely on Holmgren, Holmgren blaming it on Favre and Chmura and Butler both blaming Holmgren too. Some Lovat guy I’m not sure I even knew was a coach for the Packers defending Holmgren. Like a mini Packers soap opera!

And, we learn again why we love Leroy Butler so much: “At halftime, we made no adjustments. We just sat there and drank Kool-Aid, and they bitched at us for a while”.

And while I’m not a huge Chmura fan anymore, this is money: “The last call of the game was maybe the dumbest ever” referring to the 4th and 6 play call.

And of course the memorable Wolf quote: “We’re a one-year wonder, just a fart in the wind.”

Really, take a minute to read this article – well done McGinn.

9 Responses to “Ron Wolf: Holmgren “pig-headed” in 1998 Super Bowl”

  1. Aaron Says:

    How can you not remember Tom Lovat?

    Disagree with you about McGinn’s season recap. It was spot on. But I agree wholeheartedly about today’s bombshell. Had no idea things were so bad between Wolf and Holmgren…

  2. awhayes Says:

    beer is likely reason I can’t remember Lovat.

    What part of McGinn’s season recap do you agree with? That Favre ought to go? That Grant was so-so? That Sanders may not be good?

    Yeah – isn’t this article amazing? I just had no idea. It sounds like their respective egos may have just made the situation in GB unworkable or something.

  3. Aaron Says:

    McGinn never said ‘Favre has to go’ – he did say that for the first time there were those in the organization that thought it was time to move on – big difference, and it’s an amazing scoop, if true, as I wrote over on my blog.

    Also, Grant has only started half a season. He’s shown great vision on the cut back run, which has allowed him to bust some monster runs. But he has shown poor ability in moving the pile or grinding out tough yards when the cut back is not there, as was in evidence against the Giants. You could plainly see why the Giants chose to keep Bradshaw over Grant in that game.

    As for Sanders, yes, I agree one thousand percent that the Packers will never win a championship with him. McCarthy needs another coordinator and another scheme, or the more talented teams will take them apart in the playoffs every year.

  4. awhayes Says:

    Interesting take Aaron. I got the strong sense that McGinn was aligning with those in the organization who may think the Packers need to move on. He was talking about Rodgers and the upside there etc. I just felt like he was trying to stir the pot and get people thinking about why perhaps Favre should go. And he’s just wrong for going there right now considering the season Favre had. I don’t deny that it was good scoop – I just think it was implicit in his writing that it was scoop he supports.

    Bradshaw is an impressive runner, but Grant proved time and again that he’s legit. You’re right, there were times when the runs didn’t work out over the season, but many more times it did. And, when there were breakdowns, they often appeared to me to be attributable to the O-Line. Even Barry Sanders couldn’t escape from a hoard of defenders plugging gaps. He is a very solid prospect and both you and McGinn are being way too worried about an area that has righted itself this year. Yes, he has room to improve, but he was almost spectacular in the half season he did start.

    I’m willing to give Sanders more credit. Coaches develop over time too. Now, I can see why you’re reluctant to buy into his scheme and coaching abilities 100% as he has had some bad games and last year, he was questionable at best. But one of the main reasons the Packers defense has struggled so much over the last 6-7 years is that they keep getting new coordinators every year. I think the system takes some adjustment and the players have expressed growing confidence in their understanding of the scheme. To change it now would be disruptive and set the team back big time for next year. But most importantly, the defense was not horrible this past year – they were pretty decent. They kept us in a few games by making plays and holding opposing offenses at key times.

  5. Bill Walsh Says:

    Hey, didn’t I mention hearing Harry Sydney (or Johnnie Gray? and maybe Gilbert Brown?) ripping Holmgren’s play-calling a few posts back? : )

  6. Trav Says:

    The article is confusing about Wolf because, if my memory serves, there was SB XXXI in New Orleans that the Packers won, then the next Super Bowl that I recall was XXXIII and the infamous Eugene Robinson/Man of the Year/Arrest. At least that is the way that I remember the late 90’s.

    (And no, that article didn’t force me to re-live a painful evening of football. Now where’s that bottle of Jack?!?!)

  7. Aaron Says:

    Eugene Robinson’s episode was when he was with Atlanta. And yes, it was directly after being named NFL Man of the Year. Brilliant.

  8. Trav Says:

    Sorry, it was a poor attempt at a joke. In my eyes, the SB XXXII never happened and any time they replay it on ESPN or NFL Network, I make sure to not watch one second of it. Too painful to relive, especially the final play of the game, which I agree, was a terrible call.

  9. Phil Says:

    I’ll not be a Holmgren apologist and since it was a loss certainly things should have been done differently to win. But, as the article says, the BIGGEST problem was Terrell Davis running all over the field with a splitting headache in only three quarters. And as Wolf says, it was the day the D-line went away. And THAT is on Wolf not Holmgren. I suppose it is on Favre as well since, in my book, the reason the success as so short lived is because it took Favre so long to “get it” that by the time he did all the free agents got old fast, all at once.

    And so Holmgren called a lot of pass plays with minimal protection – then it’s about timing and tempo. The Packers just won a Super Bowl in 2010 behind Aaron Rodgers behind a shaky offensive line and no running game – just laser passes. Granted Jackson made a couple of good blitz pickups along the way, but the plan was spread’em and deal with the rush. So Holmgren ACTUALLY put the game in the ol’ Gunslinger’s hands, didn’t he? Wouldn’t a pass attack first approach be Favre’s dream?

    As for the last call, it is one of those things that would go one of two ways, whether it worked or failed. If it had worked and gone for a TD everyone would be saying it was a brilliant call since the Packers hadn’t run it all year and therefore wouldn’t be on tape and schemed against. BRILLIANT! If it failed, then it’s “well we never ran that play much so we ain’t good at it”. DUMB PLAY! Favre gets all this credit in the world for being aggressive and “makin’ playuz” and he’s rarely criticized at large for his mistakes, or at least they aren’t held against him long by Favre Lovers. But Holmgren makes a gutsy call and he’s “pig headed”.

    The long and the short of it is if the right side of the Packers defensive line hadn’t played so poorly the Packers would have won, pure and simple. Elway had a passer rating in the 50’s. It was Terrell Davis ripping up the defense that lost the game. It was due to poor depth and an aging, free agent constructed line put together by WOLF.

    Sadly, the Packers fans were left with the legacy of a team that led the league in point differential and winning percentage under Favre (during the Wolf, Sherman, and the early Thompson GM eras) and the Packers had ONE Super Bowl to show for it. The Favre led Packers were a good to very good regular season team and won a championship with the second best team in franchise history (behind only 1962) and didn’t do much else. Wolf was a very good GM for his part, though not perfect, and that coupled with Favre’s beer and pill sotted early years the window of excellence was small.

    Gratefully Wolf hired Ted Thompson way back in 1992 the same year he traded for Favre, with Thompson receiving two promotions over the span of ’92-’99, after which he went to Seattle and assisted building a Super Bowl appearing team for them (with the Packers’ old coach and back up QB, so they were the “Packers West” as I call them). And Thompson came back and got the mess of the Sherman GM era cleaned up, but had to irritate Favre too much in getting it done. Unfortunately Favre wanted another one of those “one hit wonder, fart in the wind” type teams to secure him another championship instead of building a long term contender. Favre was given the option to play for the latter and just might have gotten another championship that way. I highly doubt he would have gotten one with a team filled with his buddies, in the locker room and on the sidelines, and Randy Moss. He’d have crashed that team into the wall like he ended up doing for the Vikings.

    Anyway, the lack of sustained excellence has more to do with Wolf and Favre than it does with Holmgren. The last I checked Holmgren made it back to another while neither Favre nor Wolf ever did. The Packers West had more success than the continuing Packers central under Wolf and Favre.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: