Whether fans look on that arrogance with a knowing positivity or true disdain depends on whether the arrogance is justified with success and trust. Bill Belichick is the perfect example as he has ridden the fence. He was an arrogant jerk when he was in Cleveland as head coach. Everyone said that. He was an arrogant jerk everywhere he went until he somehow became a genius.
Today, I am still bitter about Belichick’s tenure in Cleveland, but I do respect him for what he has done in New England. It seems like Browns fans are not yet totally sold on Mike Holmgren including Terry Pluto, who was critical of him following his press conference this week.
When Terry Pluto says something that I disagree with, I usually take a step back to think over my position again. After thinking about it though, I am still quite satisfied with the things Mike Holmgren said during his press conference even if some of the rest of you aren’t.
First of all, I think Mike Holmgren was as honest as he could be about not wanting to coach. I think in his mind all he really needs to guarantee anyone is that he isn’t going to coach this year and probably not in the future. At the same time, he let Eric Mangini know that he wouldn’t be replaced this year, which is valuable. I don’t think many of us thought otherwise, but it is important to say so that anyone who might have been plotting an in-season coaching change can stop.
Holmgren’s comments about the quarterbacks played right along that line too. Holmgren toed the company line that he has set that they will analyze the quarterback situation if and when they are all healthy. He said that he would defer to Mangini for his opinion first. He certainly didn’t say it would be the last opinion. But, what else was he going to say? Was he going to say “I have confidence in my coach, who will be evaluated at the end of the year, but I am also going to make all his decisions for him in-season?” That would be kind of silly.
I think the real takeaway from the press conference is that Mike Holmgren has a likable arrogance that he has developed with his success over time. I would say it is quite clear he is in charge, but that he will allow his coach to be the coach. Obviously, he is comfortable enough with the working relationship with Mangini that he doesn’t feel he has to dictate. Make no mistake though. Holmgren seems just confident and arrogant enough to me that I think if he had to he would force the issue just like he did in the draft room when McCoy was there in the third round.
To expect him to say that he is going to dictate to his coach when it seems like the coach is seeking his opinion regularly is counter-productive at best. I do believe Mike Holmgren is firmly in control of this organization. I think he shows a nice combination of confidence, patience, urgency, and frustration. Of course here in Cleveland even with those of us who are still believers, he is only about three or four moves from me just thinking he is an arrogant jerk.