Tod Leiweke: We’re “right on schedule.” There were a bunch of names, eventually focused on 20 names, that become 10, then down to four, and now, four becomes one. He’s been part of teams that have won 8 division titles, has learned from some of the best guys in the business. John has a unique skill set — expertise in college scouting and pro personnel. One of the things that struck us is what he has most recently done, playing a huge role reshaping the Packers. We know them well, respect them and how they’ve done it. Today they’re the youngest team in the NFL.
John knows people in the organization, he knows Ruston Webster, Will Lewis, Idzik. Most compelling though is his energy combined with Pete Carroll’s. They connected, saw eye to eye, had a similar philosophy, and it was great to witness because thats what they are trying to create. A team approach, unified towards the same goals.
Pete Carroll: This is a very exciting opportunity, going through process was interesting, we met with incredible guys around the league. Something special happened between John and I; he has a wealth of experience, a creative, active approach, we hit it off from the beginning. As we take over control of this organization, to create championship ways, I couldn’t find a guy I felt more pumped up about than John. We think a lot alike, but we come from different backgrounds and different people we’ve grown up from. With great respect, I welcome John, congratulations.
John Schneider: First off, I want to thank Mr. Allen and Tod for this opportunity. I’m excited and blessed to be in this opportuity to work alongside Pete. We really hit it off, it’s one of those things, as a college scout you see the head coach, you don’t really get a chance to get to know the coaches well, but just the reputation and enthusiasm represents what I’m all about and what we’re going to be all about as an organization. Improvement, competition, striving to be the best and set a standard in the league. Throughout the interview process, they’ve seen dozens of ways to do things. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, but we’re going to try to improve it everyday.
There’s a number of people who have shaped our philosophy: first and foremost, I want to thank Ron Wolf. He took a chance on a guy that was a junior in college. Marty Schottenheimer, Ted Thompson, Mike McCarthy, Reggie McKenzie. We left here in 2000 and went to the Redskins. I always felt that, when you leave in the midst of a rebuild, you feel like there’s unfinished business. For me, and as a team, the “We” is going to be important. We need to finish this thing. [Holmgren is steaming right now.] I’m really excited about being here and redirect this franchise with consistency.
Why this job? Unfinished business, but also the people. Ther are a lot of familiar faces for me, it was attractive because there’s a comfort level there. I felt like if we can get together we can make a difference.
Danny: What’s the delineation of decision making?
Tod: Let me give some clarity. Cap Contract will not report to me, he will report to Mr. Schneider. When we think of what we’ve achieved here, or with the Blazers and Sounders, we look at collaboration. It’s not a new model, it’s a huge piece. If someday there is a coin toss, Pete wins the coin toss. We have a special coach and we will build the team around the coach’s philosophy. John thinks we have strengths in this organization, and that’s heartening to me. We won’t make change just for the sake of change.
Pete: I said the last thing I want to do is be the general manager. Knowing the magnitude of the job, I was hoping that would make sense. This is an enormous job that John has, and that’s not what I want to do. I want to work directly with John, not work as John.
John: On my part, I’ve been blessed to work in many structures, not once have I been in a situation where it was a personnel guy trying to cram a player down a coaches throat. A personnel guy trying to do that is killing himself, we’re trying to build a team structured around Coach Carroll and his philosophies. I have core beliefs, absolutely, but we’re going to work through those things. The reality is: we’re a team. It’s fun to talk about conflict, but we’re a team.
Clare: Was there a point where it clicked?
John: I’d say maybe an hour into the interview — I was all jacked up — we could’ve kept going, but it was Tod’s birthday so we had to wrap it up.
How far away is this team?
John: That’s a good question, fun to talk about. [Mic just died...]
Pete: We’re going right now, we’re going after our division right now.
Sometimes it’s a long process, but it sounds like you think you can get there sooner than later. We have to get it going right there.