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Tuesday, August 10, 2010
High road for Holmgren on referee Leavy

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

I've been re-reading James Walker's AFC North item quoting former Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, and trying to convince myself Holmgren really took the high road over an issue that has festered inside him for years.

The issue, of course, was the officiating in Super Bowl XL four years ago.

"Of course I was disappointed at the time, and because it was the Super Bowl, I still think about it on occasion," Holmgren said in response to referee Bill Leavy's admission that mistakes were made. "But like anything in this business, if you let it linger it's going to have an adverse effect on what you do moving forward. We didn't play our best football that day. Had we played better and coached better, those calls might not have made a difference. Everyone is human and everyone makes mistakes, and you can't hold one person accountable for the final outcome of that game."

That comment seemed softer than what I would have expected from Holmgren on this once-sensitive subject matter. But in looking back through past comments from him, this wasn't the first time he downplayed the matter.

Holmgren's latest reaction might also show how disarming it can be when a guilty party takes responsibility for shortcomings. Holmgren would have been piling on had he lashed out at Leavy following the referee's recent admission. But if Leavy had come out and denied making erroneous calls, a stronger response from Holmgren might have seemed warranted.

Update: The comment from Holmgren was issued through the team. That explains everything. Team officials often write statements on behalf of coaches. Coaches merely approve them. This comment from Holmgren reads like something the Cleveland Browns would like him to say. Not that it wasn't genuine. But it was also worded with care.