Thursday, July 29, 2010

SEAHAWKS COLUMN: A look at the tenure of Tod Leiweke

Written by Nathan Parsons

As you may already know, Tod Leiweke has stepped down as the CEO of the Seahawks to go join the Tampa Bay Lightning of the NHL. Many of you will think,"Who cares! All I care about is if I get my season tickets back! He must just be another lame business executive that we can replace."

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But Leiweke was different.

Remember when Paul Allen just saved the Seahawks from moving to L.A.? The entire Pacific Northwest area had sort of a grudge against the team because of the potential move and poor public relations. So basically the team was a mess with somewhat of a future with a new stadium being built.

Enter Tod Leiweke.

Tod came to Seattle to essentially make the Seahawks more fan-friendly and help bring stability to a franchise that had just experienced turmoil. He did just that. He's the one that helped install the 12th man, kept the problems between Mike Holmgren and Tim Ruskell under control for 5 years, and the one who went out and "recruited" Pete Carroll.

But the thing that made Tod special was that he made Seattle fans feel as though THEY owned the team and had a special connection, as displayed by the sell outs and the noise level at Qwest Field.

Leiweke essentially was Paul Allen's hands and feet, going out and doing what he was told and doing it well. He has been hailed as one of the top sports executives in the NFL and has become loved in the Seattle area. But there is one thing he did that will ultimately decide his legacy: The Jim Mora firing/Pete Carroll fiasco.

After a failure of a season in 2009, Tod felt the pressure to fire Jim Mora and hire and new head coach. Even before he fired Jim, he was doing some undercover work and was meeting with people and deciding targets for a new coach, right under Mora's nose. When it was time to pull the trigger on Mora, he did it abruptly and without even telling him what had happened. So in a whirlwind of events, he eventually got Carroll and left Jim Mora in the dust.

So basically if Carroll works out, Tod will be a hero. If not, he will be accused of ditching the Hawks for a better situation. Time will only tell.

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