A Deeper Look At Mike Sherman

January 9th, 2012

For many Cheesehead-related matters, Joe will seek insight from longtime Packers analyst Bob Fox, also a frequent Tampa Bay sports radio caller who uses the stage name Green Bay Bob. Joe recently asked Fox for some thoughts on former Packers coach Mike Sherman, who appears to be the early favorite to replace Raheem Morris. Fox was kind enough to pen a take for JoeBucsFan.com readers.


Jason La Canfora of NFL Network seems to think Mike Sherman is the frontrunner to become the next head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In fact, he thinks a decision could happen soon.

So why Sherman?

Sherman most recently spent four years at Texas A&M as head coach before he was fired weeks ago after posting a 25-25 record. But I would like to concentrate on his tenure in Green Bay.

In 1999, the Packers and Ron Wolf hired Ray Rhodes as head coach after Mike Holmgren left for Seattle. But Rhodes was fired shortly after the 1999 season, as the Packers fell to an 8-8 record following four consecutive season winning 11 or more games. The biggest reason for Rhodes being fired was the way he allowed the “inmates to run the asylum,” as the saying goes. Players were late for meetings.  There was little or no team discipline. Wolf saw enough and pulled the plug on Rhodes after only one season.

Sherman was next in line.

Sherman had been the tight ends/assistant offensive line coach under Holmgren in Green Bay in 1997-98, plus was offensive coordinator under Holmgren in Seattle in 1999. One of the biggest reasons that Wolf hired Sherman was to restore discipline to the Packers. In many ways Sherman did just that, including notoriously installing digital clocks in meeting rooms to make sure players knew what the time exactly was.

In 2000, the Packers were 5-7 and looking at their first losing season since 1991, but Sherman lit enough of a fire underneath the team to see the team finish 9-7. Bucs fans might remember the last game of the 2000 season. The Bucs and Packers were tied at 14-14, when Martin Grammatica lined up to attempt a 40-yard field goal with just 14 seconds left in the game. Grammatica missed wide right and the Bucs lost 17-14 to the Packers in OT.

Before the 2001 season started (after the 2001 NFL draft), Ron Wolf decided to resign as GM. Packers President Bob Harlan decided to give the GM duties to Sherman, which he would later regret.

Sherman was a decent coach in his tenure in Green Bay, but his decisions as GM were largely awful. More on that later.

In 2001, Sherman and the Packers finished 12-4 and were a Wild Card team in the rough NFC North sandwiched between the playoff-bound Bucs and Bears. The Packers beat the San Francisco 49ers 25-15 at Lambeau Field in their first playoff game and then were shredded by the St. Louis Rams 45-17 a week later, as Favre threw six interceptions.

From 2002-2004 the Packers won three consecutive NFC North titles under Sherman.  However, the Packers did not fare well in the playoffs.

In 2002, the year the Bucs won it all, the Packers had a chance to be the No. 1 seed in the NFC. All the Packers had to do was win their last game of the season against the New York Jets in New Jersey. The Jets bombed the Packers 42-17 and the Packers ended up the No. 3 seed in the NFC, with the Philadelphia Eagles being the No. 1 seed and the Bucs at No. 2. Then the Packers lost their first playoff game ever in Green Bay as Michael Vick and the Atlanta Falcons beat the Packers 27-7 at Lambeau Field.

Questionable decisions

That was painful to Packer fans, but it got much worse in the postseason in 2003 and 2004. In 2003, the Packers won their first playoff game by beating Seahawks at Lambeau Field 33-27 in OT. If the Packers could beat the Eagles next in Philly, Sherman and the Pack would be playing in their first NFC Championship Game since 1997. The Packers should have beaten the Eagles. Green Bay lead 17-14 with less than two minutes to go in the game. The Packers had the ball and a 4th-and-inches at the Eagles 40 yard line and Philly had no timeouts.

The Packers had rushed for 210 yards that day, with Ahman Green getting 156 yards himself.  So…what does Sherman decide to do? Go for the throat and end the game right then and there behind an offensive line and running attack that had been gashing the Eagles?

No. Sherman punted, which led to the famous 4th-and-26 play when Donovan McNabb hit Freddie Mitchell. The Eagles won in overtime.Many have said, myself included, that was probably the day Sherman lost the team because of his decision-making.

In 2004, the Packers won the NFC North but lost once again at Lambeau Field in the playoffs. By then, President Bob Harlan had seen enough and he hired Ted Thompson to become GM of the team, while Sherman was kept on as coach only for the 2005 season, which would turn out to be his last in Green Bay.

Solid coach, poor GM

As GM of the Packers, Sherman made a lot of poor decisions. In the draft, he started out well enough in 2002, as he plucked WR Javon Walker, RB Najeh Davenport and DE Aaron Kampman in his first ever draft as GM.

That was his high water mark. In his 2003 and 2004 drafts, the only players of significance that played well with the Packers were LB Nick Barnett, DT Corey Williams and C Scott Wells. Otherwise, the drafts of those two years were absolutely horrible.

Sherman wasn’t much better in free agency, although he did sign former Buccaneer Hardy Nickerson to play MLB for the Packers in 2002. But even then, most folks knew that Hardy’s best days were behind him.

The biggest free agent bust in the history of the Packers had to be the signing of DE Joe Johnson, formally of the New Orleans Saints, also in 2002. Sherman signed Johnson a six-year, $33 million contract, but Johnson only played a total of 11 games in two injury-shortened seasons. At least Johnson contributed two sacks.


Then there is the way Sherman handled Brett Favre. For a disciplinarian, Sherman sure gave away the keys to the kingdom to the face of the franchise.

First, Favre was allowed to have his own shower/locker room away from the other players. Favre was also given his own office. Finally, Favre was allowed to park his vehicle underneath Lambeau Field, near the locker room, right next to Sherman’s vehicle. All the other players used the players lot in front of Lambeau Field. I’m sure this type of favoritism did not sit well in the locker room.

Anyway, in 2005, the Packers finished 4-12, had their first losing season since 1991 and Favre had his worst year ever in the NFL. Thompson fired Sherman and hired Mike McCarthy. Thompson also drafted a QB by the name of Aaron Rodgers in 2005. The rest, they say…is history.

Now I’m sure Sherman learned from his mistakes. If indeed Sherman is hired by the Bucs to be the next head coach, it wouldn’t be the worst decision that the Bucs would make. Sherman is well liked and has a good reputation among his peers.  Sherman was 57-39 as head coach of the Pack, but was also 2-4 in the postseason, including the first two postseason losses at Lambeau Field in team history.

Bottom line, there are a lot of qualified candidates that the Bucs should look at before they decide on their next head coach. It should NOT be a quick decision.

Sherman could indeed be the next coach of the Bucs. Signs seem to be pointing that way. However, don’t expect Warren Sapp to visit One Buc Place too often if that happens. However, Sapp might visit occasionally, but only if Sherman “gets a jersey on.”

32 Responses to “A Deeper Look At Mike Sherman”

  1. justin Says:

    25-25 record at texas a&m and got fired and his last season in the nfl he went 4-12 is this the best they can find

  2. Dave Says:

    I will say this, when the Packers had the ball at the 40 with 4th & inches, I thought they should go for it.
    When they punted instead, it was not a bad call.
    All things considered, the defense, not even the BUCS defense of 2011!!! should ever give up a 4th & 26 which is what the Packers gave up to McNabb & the Eagles during the ensuing drive.

    Regardless, I do not mind Sherman as a coach. If he could bring in a good OC and DC… fantastic.

    What I do not like is the idea of Wade Phillips as a HC. Been done over and over and it fails. If they could get him as a DC…. GO FOR IT!!!

    Mularkey – No thank you. With the weapons in ATL, I don’t see the “progression” in Matty Ice that everyone else sees.

    Childress – – PLEASE G*D, NO!! What exactly does he have to offer?

    Schottenheimer – I think the game is passing him by. He is defense and run, run, run. The Bucs don’t have the defense . . yet… and the game has changed. Look at NO, GB, NE … heck, look at the yard Tebow put up against Pitt! Plus he will be dead… I mean…. 70 soon.

    Jerry Grey – Seems like a strong candidate, not sure who he would align himslef with for OC though.

  3. Dave Says:


    Doe Sherman have a relationship with Templeton at GB? He pretty much developed Rogers. If he could bring him in as OC and let him develop Freeman, I would be ecstatic.

  4. raphael Says:

    I heard he got fired because he did not want to change conferences…I would be fine with sherman…hope he would get good coordinators.

  5. Buddhaboy Says:

    Are we being sold on this guy or what? Give us a guy that we dont have to be tricked into.

  6. Architek Says:

    Nothing to fret, we trust the Glazers will have an extensive search and look at ALL candidates. SMH…

  7. big007hed Says:

    Id like a head coach that brings in smart strong coordinators….

  8. knucknbuc Says:

    Hmm.. What does this story and Mike Shermans resume have in common?? They both get worse and worse as you look at it.

  9. NashVegas Ryan Says:

    Stop interviewing these bad to mediocre, retread coaches. It is like a bad movie sequel we have seen it already and it doesn’t turn out pretty.
    I am so glad the three stooges fired Gruden, nice job morons.

  10. Patrick Says:

    I think you guys are way too scared of Sherman. There’s worse coaches in this league.

    He won in Green Bay and was pretty successful. Forget about the A&M stint. Sherman actually coached a great offense last year….had it not been for his dreadful defense and close last second losses, their season easily could’ve been different.

  11. RustyRhino Says:

    He only played 10 years for the Bucs, Did you miss them years?

  12. Jdog Says:

    There you go he’s not a terrible head coach. It’s very difficult to be a head coach/ gm in the NFL. There have been only a few men to pull that off. But that doesn’t mean he’s a bad coach. Though belichick has been most successful at it even he has struggled at gm since pioli left. As for the famous Freddie mitchell play it was probably luckiest play in playoff history. You shouldn’t dog sherm for that. Also farve was god in gb back then and is notorious for always wanting king treatment. Only reason tt and mc didn’t take it was cause favre was towards end of career and they had Rodgers in waiting. And finally the a&m experience. Sherm actually had some success there but really how much succes can you have there being at the middle of the pack in big 12. Sherman wouldnt be my top choice but he isn’t a terrible choice like everyone makes him out to be.

  13. eric Says:

    Skipping over a&m doesn’t cover the fact that they paid 5.8 million to fire the guy.

    If u don’t think favre was the key to any success the guy had I give u brad childress who got to an NFC championship game with favre.

    How did these guys fare without a hall of fame qb?

    Now they want to team them up to develop freeman?

  14. TPCMatt Says:

    Sherman= Weaksauce!

  15. eric Says:

    So our new standard is “not terrible”?

    “Could do worse”


  16. Bobby Says:

    @Dave…who is Templeton?? Tom Clements developed Aaron Rogers.

  17. knucknbuc Says:

    Get used to that clueless stupid look as you can see in the picture at the top of the page Bucs fans. Because if we hire this guy you’ll be seeing it alot.

  18. Sensiblebuc Says:

    Im getting all lathered up at the thought of The Sherminator and The Dominator putting their heads together on personnel moves now! Just look at the intense focus he put in at the Combine: http://thewizardofodds.blogspot.com/2007/11/wake-up-coach-youre-aggie.html?m=1

    Watch out 8-8 here we come!!!

  19. Bobby Says:

    How does any coach fare without a good QB?? Look at the Colts without Manning. How do you think New Orleans would fare without Brees?? Blaming a coach for winning with a good QB is pretty hilarious! LOL! You guys slay me…..

  20. Patrick Says:

    Also you have to remember, it’s freaking Texas a&m. Their program has always sucked

  21. Dave Says:

    Those hating on the guy:


    ANY guy with previous HC exeperience is not going to blow your doors off, if he could, he would be coaching somewhere already.

    If they got a young, upcoming cooridinator, you people would be the first screaming that they just tried that with Raheem.

    So, seriously, what do you expect.

    The bottom line is the number one issue for this team was discipline:
    ON the field in execution & penalties which affected how they could call plays and had Freeman forcing things more.
    Off the field because guys like Talib still have a job

    So, naturally, they are going to go out and get a guy with experieince and someone known as a disciplinarian

  22. eric Says:

    Favre is hardly just a good qb. One of the best in history.

    Manning makes any coach look good too. Like clod.

    Be hard to go 4 dash 12 with favre. Oh wait, Sherman accomplished that feat.

  23. Vince Says:

    At this point, I’m not dogging one candidate over the other, I just have ZERO faith in our ownership and the “rockstar” to right the ship so to speak. I pray I’m wrong, I truly do but I’m not holding my breath.

  24. Sensiblebuc Says:

    @ Dave

    If I had my druthers:

    Mularkey, Billick, MAYBE Zimmer (he feels like hes a Wade Phillips; coordinator is his max), MAYBE Philbin (I’ll have to research him more), MAYBE Chud, MAYBE Perry Fewell…the pickings are slim man!

    No to Sherman, Grimm (Position Coach), Clements (Position Coach), Marty Ball (too old/he’d probably want to bring in his son), Wade (laughable) Chilly (laughable x 2), Mike McCoy (too young) , Todd Bowles (too young), Mel Tucker (too young)…

  25. Dave Says:

    BOBBY – Tom Clements , not sure where I got “templeton” my bad.


    Billick is a retread – who won with someone else’s defense…. although I would not be against an interview with him, the fact that no team has interviewed him the past several years should say something

    Zimmer – I don’t know enough about

    Mularkey – I know all I need to know and I say NO! I saw him fail once. I also see him as a mediocre OC who has NOT progressed matty Ice like everyone says he has. With Jones, White, Gonzalez, Turner…. I think Matt Ryan should be further along at this point.

    Philbin – I got the impression that he was a fuigurehead and the offense was ALL McCarthy and Clements, I may be wrong.

    Bottom line is, the more we all look at it, there is no one out there that everyone is going to stand up and cheer and say they did great. Only results over 2-3 years will show that

  26. mark2001 Says:

    Bobby…wasn’t Templeton the rat in Charlotte’s Web?

    Not terrible….I never said there weren’t worse coaches in the league than Sherman. I wouldn’t want the HC in Minnesota.

    Sherman is a poor coach and after all the misery this last year and many years due to cheap payroll, I think we deserve a good coach and not a poor one or even average one.

    Frankly, I’d rather try a excellent coordinator promoted to our HC and roll the dice than pick a guy that will be the “weakest link” in our division and much of the NFL.

    But another strategy would be to hire the best GM we can get and let him help make the new coaching decision.

  27. NashVegas Ryan Says:

    I am waiting to see a blurb saying the Bucs are set to interview Dave Campo or Rich Kotite. The Glazers have turned this into Ringling Brothers.

  28. Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    Get used to it, neither Fisher, Cowher, or Billick are coming to Tampa anytime soon. It could be a lot worse then Mike Sherman.

  29. White Tiger Says:

    Marty Chokenheimer is MUCH superior to Meek Sherman…

    Just ask Warren Sapp…

  30. Wisconsin Bucs fan Says:

    Marty is a hundred times better coach than Sherman will ever be! Any idiot that thinks Sherman is a good coach will be awful loney at the stadium with that loser as coach.

  31. k1ngAdroc Says:

    Stop pushing this coach on us. Package deal with chilly makes me puke in my mouth.

    Let’s hear from Marty, Zimmer, Chud, Clements

  32. A REAL Bucs Fan Says:

    So, he makes questionable coaching decisions and can’t evaluate talent? Yet we’re supposed to think its a good thing???

    I still say it won’t happen (praying it doesn’t actually).