How could a team that thrived on chemistry to win the NFC Championship get so sulfuric so quickly? An uncredited article published by Pro Football Weekly, and reported by Sando on his blog, suggests it could have been a combination of front-office incompetence, and a potential, yet not fully flourished, tiff between Mike Holmgren and football op president Tim Ruskell.
It contains some good points. They're probably nothing new to you, but put together in this context, they're a little more revealing:
Said one NFL exec, "Mike went on vacation and then the next thing he knew, he (Hutchinson) was gone. Mike is not the type of guy to forgive and forget."
We hear Holmgren was further put off by the team's subsequent free-agent signing of Vikings WR Nate Burleson, which he considered an unnecessary payback attempt by Ruskell, who is extremely well-liked in league circles but is considered a relative novice when it comes to dealing with the salary cap and handling day-to-day inter-office matters...
"Ruskell assured Holmgren (departed special teams linebacker Isaiah Kacyvenski) would clear waivers, and he didn't," another NFL executive told PFW.
Some of this would appear to validate previous statements by folks like, say, Steve Hutchinson that implies the front office bungled at least a couple of judgement calls in the area of personnel.