When it comes to football head coaching greats here in the state of Washington people will typically say Don James, the DogFather, first. When it comes to who is the Seattle Seahawks greatest coach? …that will depend on if you ask someone above or below the age of 40. 

                If you ask this to a group above the age of 40 most would say Chuck Knox. When asking a group below the age of 40 most would say Mike Holmgren. Yes there are some that will say the other coaches but for the most part these two have established themselves as Seahawk coaching legends. What makes them legendary? Its easy to just look at wins/losses, playoff appearances and Super Bowls but what about the guys they drafted? What about their impact on the community? How did the rest of the NFL view our team?

                Lets start out with the numbers. Chuck Knox won 80 games(2nd all time), coached in 7 playoff games (winning 3), had 1 AFC Championship appearance and compiled  7 winning seasons in 9 years. 7 wins was the lowest win total a Seahawk team had under Knox. Under Holmgren the Seahawks won 86 games making the playoffs 6 times. Holmgrens’ teams won only 4 out of 10 playoff games but captured a NFC Championship title along with the franchises only Super Bowl appearance. Holmgren had 7 winning seasons in 10 years. The Seahawks won their division 6 times under these coaches but Knox only achieved this once. 

                When it comes to community work these men have done and will continue to do great things for the city of  Seattle, the Seahawks, NFL and local communities. Its hard to judge which charity or program is better then the rest so lets go right into drafted players. The draft has changed over the decades but the results are still the same. Did you draft well? Knox had more picks in his tenure,106, while Holmgren only had  83. Chuck is responsible for drafting Hall of Famer Cortez Kennedy but also Dan McGwire. Curt Warner, Derrick Fenner, Chris Warren,  and John L Williams helped establish Ground Chuck for a decade. Jeff Bryant, Fredd Young, Dave Wyman, Robert Blackmon and Terry Wooden provided Hard Knox. Then you have Shaun Alexander, Steve Hutchinson, Darrel Jackson, Marcus Trufant, Lofa Tatupu, Leroy Hill and can’t discount Matt Hassleback who led the Seahawks to a Super Bowl. When looking over the list of drafted players I give the nod to Knox. He had twice as many mainstays  with only a couple top draft busts. Holmgren drafted Lawerence Jackson, Josh Wilson(2nd round first overall pick), Kelly Jennings,  Chris Spencer, Marcus Tubbs, Lamar King and Jeremy Stevens all with first round picks. 

                In the 80’s every team feared Ground Chuck and in the 90’s they read “Hard Knox” with respect. The Seahawks were not a power house that fiercely competed for championships but they were respected and played the game hard. Under Holmgren teams knew the Seahawks would be well prepared and could win any game if you took them lightly. Teams didn’t fear us until we said goodbye to the Kingdome and hello to Seahawk Stadium(currently Century Link) where we grabbed 4 division crowns. So to me the fear of coming to play in Seattle was from the fans and not the teams style. Both coaches were stubborn in their offensive styles but only one punished the opponent all game long. Chuck Knox and Mike Holmgren have left in their wakes a bevel of great coaches; John Gruden, Jim Mora, Steve Mariuci, Ray Rhodes, Mike Sherrman, Jim Zorn and Mike Martz to name a few. Their long term impact is still being felt today.           

                For myself I would say that Chuck Knox was a better Seattle Seahawk coach then Mike Holmgren on the issues of the Draft, consistency of play, and how others viewed us. Holmgren, on paper, has him on wins, titles, Super Bowls and coaching tree. Both are legends in the eyes of the 12th Fan but only one coach can be the greatest coach in Seattle Seahawk history. My final judgement…..I think we are currently watching him.  


COACH                 GAMES                  WINS                      LOSS                      WIN %

Holmgren               160                          86                            74                            53.8

Knox                       143                          80                            63                            55.9

Patera                     94                            35                            59                            37.2

Erickson                 64                            31                            33                            48.4

Next Weeks Article: Pete Carrol, Greatest Seahawk Coach?  Or This years Seahawks best of all time?

Steve Fenton


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