For his first few years in Seattle, Mike Holmgren would often talk about how great it was to be the Seahawks' coach, general manager and executive vice president.
He wanted everyone to know one man was in charge -- him. Unlike other situations, Holmgren didn't have to worry about "getting phone calls in the middle of the night" from ownership or anyone else. This was his show to run and no one could tell him how to do it.
The tune changed once the Seahawks forced Holmgren to resign as GM following the 2002 season. We eventually learned to view then-president Bob Whitsitt as a meddler who had stood in the way as Holmgren tried to do what was best for the team.
Holmgren's failures as GM weren't necessarily Holmgren's fault, in other words. Whitsitt was to blame (update for those who might have misunderstood: that was the spin and true to an extent, but obviously Holmgren deserves criticism too).
Tim Ruskell's hiring as president in 2005 signaled a commitment to unity in the front office, we were told. The team enjoyed immediate success, advancing to the Super Bowl, and everyone said nice things about one another.
Now that Holmgren is gone, Ruskell has resigned and the team has replaced Jim Mora with Pete Carroll, the team finds the dysfunction card useful once again.
"To be quite honest," CEO Tod Leiweke told reporters Monday, "there was not a harmonious relationship between Tim and Mike Holmgren. It's probably neither guy's fault, but we learned a lot there."
The fact that Leiweke either did not know this or could not fix this reflects poorly on him and owner Paul Allen.
Mora subsequently rolled on Ruskell by sharing with his friend, KJR radio host Hugh Millen, a savagely bitter text message Ruskell allegedly sent to Mora after Mora backed Holmgren's potential return to Seattle in a front-office role.
The pattern is clear. People at nearly every level of Seahawks management will tell you whatever suits them at the time. The team's efforts to cast itself as a model franchise appear fraudulent.
This organization has very little credibility.
The word "dysfunction" seems inadequate.