It's football blight in Seattle

The uncanny synchronicity of the University of Washington Huskies and the Seahawks.
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The uncanny synchronicity of the University of Washington Huskies and the Seahawks.

The Huskies/Seahawks lost road games 92-20 Saturday/Sunday, Oct. 4/5 to the Arizona/New York Wildcat/Giants in games that did nothing for the reputations of head coaches Ty Willingham/Mike Holmgren. The outcome/outcome left the remaining six/half-dozen Seattle-area football fans wondering if the solution for local football woes might be somehow arranging to have the University of Washington/National Football League team/team taken over by coach Jim Mora/Jim Mora.

Unfortunately there's just one Jim Mora presently employed as a football coach. His name is Jim L. Mora, age 46. His father, NFL veteran mentor Jim E. Mora, also would be a capable successor to either Willingham of the Huskies or Holmgren of the Seahawks, but it isn't likely the elder will be coming out of retirement at age 73.

Jim the Younger is the appointed heir to the Hawks job, slated to be abandoned at the end of the season by Holmgren, whose team (a 44-6 loser) played against the Super Bowl champ Giants as though he already had given up on what is billed as his farewell NFL campaign. Mora is in Seattle largely because of an off-cuff comment he made to squawk-jocks at Seattle's KJR-AM (950) in December 2006, to wit:

Well, I really have a lot of respect for Ty, and I know he'll do a great job. But if he ever decides to move on, and get in the NFL or, you know, go back to Notre Dame or whatever, if that job's open you'll find me at the friggin' head of the line with my resume in my hand ready to take that job.

He'd been asked if he'd ever consider going after the job Willingham has had during an 11-30, four-season tenure as Husky mentor. As it happened, Mora's friggin' remark came on Dec. 14, 2006, when the Atlanta Falcons team he was coaching was still in the hunt for an NFL playoff spot. The Falcons wound up out of the postseason, losing their final three games before Mora lost his job. He then went to work as a Seahawks assistant. Last February, he was named to succeed Holmgren at the end of a Seahawks season that probably won't include a sixth-straight playoff appearance unless the team wins eight of the final dozen games. A peak at the schedule reveals that the 1-3 Hawks figure to win six more if they're lucky and finish 7-9.

In short, both local football teams will have new head coaches next season. Mora's five-year contract would seem to make it pretty — here's that adjective again — friggin' obvious that he won't be taking over for Willingham. But another qualified coach just might.

Put another way: What's not to like about the UW job? It offers nothing but upside. Under Willingham, the one-time pride of the Pac-10 has finished last in the league three times and ninth once, and promises to finish no better than ninth this year. It's become a little creepy seeing the condemned coach looming ghost-like on the sidelines through an 0-5 start. Only a ghoul could relish the prospect of watching Willingham having to endure an 0-7 finish to a season that doesn't even end until Dec. 6.

Some say protocol is such that you don't can a college coach midseason. Others suggest that it would be better to cut the Ty ties before schedule's end to enhance the prospects for post-season recruiting. One problem with the latter approach: where to find an available quality coach prior to the end of the season?

What is clear is that neither local football team has given any indication that fans have gotten returns on their significant investments in tickets and enthusiasm, the latter having waned from week to week. Some of us who buy Husky season tickets also are obliged to kick in significant vig for "Tyee" membership, meaning my share for the year's seven home games came to $767.50 — $109.64 per event. The face value is "only" $45, which barely would buy me a Qwest Field cheap seat for a Seahawks game.

Husky/Hawk personnel invariably say they share the pain with spectators but nothing much changes during games. The Huskies (losing 48-14) gave up 449 yards at Arizona, gaining just 244. Less than 20 hours later the Giants had 523 total yards to 187 for the Hawks. Week after week, Willingham and Holmgren bravely praise their opponents. It never seems to occur to either of them that there was a time not that long ago when theirs were the praiseworthy teams.

It probably would take several years under the best of circumstances for a committed coach to restore the Huskies to Pac-10 respectability. Mora may require less time to get the Seahawks back to Super Bowl-contender status.

On the other hand, a lot of what ails the Hawks this young season is a secondary that can't stop the pass or help plug up the run. So who's been coaching the d-backs? Oh, yeah, it's Jim Mora. Which Jim Mora? Jim Friggin' Mora.


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