Initial thoughts on Mora's firing
January, 8, 2010
By Mike Sando | ESPN.com
Following a legend can be rough.
Otto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesJim Mora is the first Seattle coach to last only one season.
Ray Rhodes found out when he tried to replace Mike Holmgren with the Packers. Rhodes lasted one season. The team managed to finish 8-8, but quarterback Brett Favre was floundering and Rhodes' leadership style came into question.
Jim Mora became the next Rhodes when the Seattle Seahawks, fresh off a 10-year run with Holmgren, fired him Friday after one season.
The organization is making a statement that the Seahawks need a complete makeover after putting together 4-12 and 5-11 seasons, the latter under Mora. A franchise that valued continuity in naming Mora to the job ahead of time has now decided a complete makeover is in order. There's no use in sticking with the wrong plan, the organization seems to be saying.
The Seahawks are a little tough to figure right now. That is understandable to a degree. Owner Paul Allen has been undergoing cancer treatments recently. He certainly has more important things on his mind. His top Seahawks executive, CEO Tod Leiweke, had advocated Mora's continued employment during the early December news conference to announce Tim Ruskell's resignation as general manager. What was Leiweke supposed to say in that situation? Exactly.
Ruskell was the one primarily responsible for landing Mora and installing him as coach-in-waiting. Ruskell's resignation foreshadowed potential trouble for Mora, although the general feeling was that every head coach should have more than one year to establish his program.
Allen, famous for co-founding Microsoft, is basically hitting control-alt-delete to trigger a forced system restart. The move makes Mora the first coach in Seahawks history to last only one season. Tom Flores lasted three. Dennis Erickson lasted four. Jack Patera lasted six and change. Chuck Knox led the team for nine seasons.
Did Mora deserve to be fired? We could make that case after a 5-11 season that saw the team getting worse in some areas. Was firing him fair? Not really. Most head coaches should get more than one season.
Those are not necessarily the most important questions here.
The key question is whether the Seahawks can hire someone demonstrably better, and whether the next coach can field a superior staff.
Finding the next GM should become easier now that it's clear the next GM will have input in hiring the head coach. The Seahawks can now move forward with their front office and coaching staff in chronological alignment for the first time in the better part of a decade. That is important as long as the Seahawks hire the right people.