It was surprising news yesterday when the Seahwks announced that Tod Leiweke will be moving on from Vulcan Sports and, of course, the Seahawks. I thought it might be worth tossing some ideas down here about how this could/will affect the franchise.
- It leaves a hole. There's no way around this: Tod Leiweke had become the face of the business that is the Seattle Seahawks. When he was hired in 2003, the team was struggling, the fanbase was diminishing, and the Seahawks were in some degree of turmoil. Leiweke came in, changed the direction of the team and turned it into the most fan friendly football franchise in the country. He came to symbolize Paul Allen's willingness to win at any cost. In recent months, he took the post-Holmgren turmoil on full steam ahead and owned it, spoke with the fans, and assured us it would be worked out. And now, he's leaving.
- But not yet! The good news is that Leiweke will be a huge part of finding his replacement. There are a few names floating around, but we really don't have a clue who it could be. Whoever it is, expect him or her to be a Pete Carroll fan in a major way, probably meaning they are already working with Seattle or have a strong connection the hiring process -- Tim Leiweke or Lance Lopes are two names being tossed about. Leiweke knows what the team needs, and has proven he is very committed to doing right by this fanbase. This part gives me hope.
- The groundwork is laid. No one needs to come in and save this franchise like Leiweke did, the franchise (from a business side) is doing just fine. Someone needs to come in and fix the team, and we are going to have to hope and pray that Pete Carroll and John Schneider are up to the task. Leiweke leaving will leave a hole, but its not a black hole and it's not a hole that can't be filled with someone 70% as bright and talented as T.L.
- The dude is not the end-all, be-all of sports leadership. I love him, yes, but he did what he came to do which is turn around a franchise. Ours. Then he turned around the Jailblazers. Then he helped launch the Sounders. When Paul Allen buys a hockey team, maybe we get Tod back (probably only if the NHL team Allen buys is the Tampa Bay Lightning, but whatever). The point is this: Leiweke's job was largely complete here, so it's not a bad time for him to move on.
- Paul Allen should own the Mariners, and Tod Leiweke should come back and save that franchise.