In an earlier post, we took a look at the comparison between former Green Bay Packers general manager Ron Wolf and current general manager Ted Thompson. Since Thompson just concluded his ninth season with the team, it was interesting to see how the two men compared.
Now we look at Thompson’s head coach, Mike McCarthy and compare him with Wolf’s, Mike Holmgren. Holmgren coached the Packers for seven years while McCarthy is about to begin his ninth. To be fair, we will be looking at only McCarthy’s first seven seasons in Green Bay meaning 2013 will be excluded.
Regular season record:
It can’t get much closer than that. This might come as a surprise to some people since McCarthy went 8-8 in year one and had the 6-10 season in 2008 and Holmgren never was below .500, but “the numbers don’t lie.
Holmgren had a consistent defense in his time to go along with a proficient offense. McCarthy has had no such luck so far.
Holmgren went 2-2 in 1993 and 1994 before going 7-2 from 1995-1997. That includes the two Super Bowl runs including the victory in Super Bowl XXXI and the loss in Super Bowl XXXII. Holmgren also was “one and done” in his final game as Packers coach in the last-minute and still-controversial loss to the 49ers in January 1999.
McCarthy went 1-1 in his first playoff appearance in 2007, advancing to the NFC championship game in January 2008. His record includes the 4-0 playoff run the Packers had to win Super Bowl XLV. He has been “one and done” three times in the playoffs including the 2009 game against the Cardinals and 2011 against the Giants (this past season is not included),
McCarthy 3 (earned his fourth in 2013)
Both coaches are dead even here and both even has one title earned in borderline “miraculous” fashion. Many remember Yancy Thigpen’s infamous drop to give Green Bay the 1995 title and this past season saw a n incredible deep throw from Aaron Rodgers to Randall Cobb to give the Packers the 2013 crown.
Holmgren never finished at or below .500 despite having a team at the beginning that had been in the NFC cellar for the better part of two decades. That speaks to the job both he and Wolf did with the roster from the start in 1992.
McCarthy meanwhile went 8-8 in year one with a young roster that had an aging Brett Favre at the helm. His only losing record in 2008 was with Rodgers in his first year as the starter and after a very public and messy divorce with Favre.
The Packers are fortunate to have had both men as their leaders and that McCarthy continues to be around. The temptation of having total control over a roster drew Holmgren to the Seahawks in 1999 while Wolf retired two years later. Should Homgren have hung around? What would the team have looked like with him as coach and GM and not Mike Sherman? That’s another story for another day.
Looking at the present head coach, McCarthy has the same amount of rings as Holmgren and had a near identical record to him in his first seven years. Despite some head scratching decisions on gamedays, Packer fans should be proud to have a coach the caliber of McCarthy. He’s done just as good of a job as Holmgren did.——————
Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke