What was Mike Holmgren’s True Motive?

By Will Burge

The hiring of Pat Shurmur as the Cleveland Brown’s head coach has been the worst kept secret in the NFL.

With another new regime on the doorstep, I wonder what Mike Holmgren’s true motive was behind this hiring. Is he bringing in Shurmur because he feels that he best fits the system which will win a Super Bowl or is this something else?

On one hand, Shurmur worked with Donovan McNabb and has been given partial credit for his development as a top flight NFL quarterback. He also turned Sam Bradford from the kid with a huge arm into the kid who threw for the most yards as a rookie in NFL history and a Rookie of the Year finalist.

Shurmur understands the offense that Holmgren wants to install and how to use the players that Heckert wants to draft.

His offensive numbers with the Rams this year were not jaw dropping by any stretch of the imagination. The Rams were 17th in the NFL in yards per game, 21st in points per game, and 27th in the league in touchdowns.

So why Shurmur?

Isn’t there a better candidate who runs the west coast offense? Isn’t there a candidate who has more than two years’ experience as an offensive coordinator?

The answer is yes. There are plenty of candidates. Unfortunately, none of them were even given the courtesy of an interview.

The elephant in the room is that Shurmur, Heckert, and Holmgren all share the same agent, Bob LaMonte.

Why did Mike Mularkey’s interview not go very well? Was it because he was preoccupied with preparing for a playoff game or because he never had a chance?

He is not a LaMonte client.

Before the process began Mike Holmgren said that there would be an “extensive search” for the next Cleveland Browns head coach. So far I have seen a lame duck interview, a token Rooney Rule interview, and one of LaMonte’s clients.

If that is the definition of extensive then the Browns got an “extensive” look at Montario Hardesty before he went down for the season. If that is the definition of extensive then Eric Mangini’s reign over the elite teams in the NFL was “extensive.”

Mike Holmgren plays press conferences like a true puppet master. He stands at the podium in front of media and comes off like a great guy who is shooting it straight. He cracks a few jokes and answers without hesitation.

He truly has that Bill Clinton public speaking quality.

Holmgren should beware of treating fans and media as if they are dim-witted though. Do not tell me that everything is on the up and up when we can clearly see that there are other reasons besides football that Shurmur was hired.

Maybe Holmgren does feel that he is the best man for the job. Then why not put more candidates up against him?

Where was Jon Gruden’s interview? Jon Gruden’s interview did not happen because he is the key to another LaMonte power pocket in the NFL. Gruden will wait until he has Holmgren-like control over a franchise.

At least try to fool me.

Interview some other candidates who are not LaMonte clients. Perform a charade so I don’t know exactly what you are doing. Pull those puppet strings but make sure I cannot see your hands working the controls.

Treat me like I am blind, but not like I am stupid.



  1. …absolute travesty…completely agree with your comments about being misled. Do not tell the fans that you are going to bring a championship and that you will hold extensive and exhaustive searches for our next coach. It just didn’t happen. Holmgren did absolutely NO better than Lerner did when he immediately hired Eric Mangini. Where was the exhaustive/extensive search? When did they meet with Gruden, Cowher, Bellick, Fox…so on and so on? A guy w no HC experience and with very little OC experience. I think the NFL should investigate what kind of side money they all got from Lamonte. I smell a rat Cleveland!

  2. Nice writing, I enjoyed reading this article.. I respect your opinoin of LaMonte, but do not feel this was the main reason or even one of the top reasons Shurmur was hired. Although, in the end, money has something to do with everything. I think Shurmur was hired for the reasons you stated, developes young QB’s, runs west coast, etc. I also think that Holmgren did not bring in the parade of canidates because he started this process long before the season was over.. Gruden most likely told MH 3 mothes ago that he was staying in the booth.. Jon Fox and Cowher would want the control of roster… Holmgren did not want to parade coaches into Berea knowing they would not be the guy and embarass Cleveland because national perspective may of been these coaches did not want to come here, they interviewed out of respect for Holmgren.. He knew who he was hiring after the Browns failed to win against Buffalo. Now the Browns are really starting to form structure from top to bottom Holmgren, Heckert and Shurmur are all on the same page.. Now lets hope Shurmur can help develope McCoy the way he did McNabb and Bradford.

  3. I’m just wondering, how does hiring a LaMonte client benefit Holmgren? Are you suggesting he stands to gain financially from this hire? I’m not aware of too many NFL coaches who are not represented by LaMonte. It is my understanding that he represents just about everyone including John Fox and John Gruden.

  4. There are plenty of cantidates who are not LaMonte clients. None of which recieved interviews. I think that Shurmur is actually a pretty good hire, it allows Holmgren more control which will only help this team.

    The way it went down just makes me raise my eyebrow that’s all.

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