Watching the Super Bowl from home with his family, you know Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes was experiencing some mixed emotions. Up until last year when he took the job in Detroit, Holmes had spent the previous 18 years within the Los Angeles Rams organization, slowly working his way up from a scouting assistant to the director of college scouting by the time he left. Throughout those 18 years, he saw a lot of bad football, including a 13-year playoff drought.
The first year he decided to leave, the Rams, who had been trending up for the past five years, would end the season lifting the Lombardi Trophy.
But the first word to come to Holmes’ mind when Good Morning Football’s Peter Schrager asked him about his feelings in the moment was inspiring.
“It was inspiring,” Holmes said Tuesday morning from the NFL Combine. “It was inspiring to see, because knowing all those guys, knowing the leadership. I have so much respect and admiration for Les Snead and Sean McVay and Kevin (Demoff) and Tony (Pastoors). They have great leadership in place and their success is not a surprise.”
There’s a certain amount of ownership Holmes should feel, too. As the director of college scouting for the previous eight years, he oversaw the drafting of several players who were instrumental to Los Angeles’ Super Bowl run: Aaron Donald, Tyler Higbee, Cooper Kupp, David Edwards, and Jordan Fuller, to name a few.
So when Holmes congratulated some of his former co-workers, he was touched to have them respond that he deserves some of the credit, too.
“Sending a bunch of congratulatory texts to all the guys back there saying, ‘I’m so happy for you guys,’ and to get the responses of saying, ‘Hey look, man, you’re a part of this. You’re a part of this,’” Holmes said. “They didn’t have to say that, but that was really cool for them to say. It makes you feel good.”
Now it’s on Holmes to bring that team-building acumen to Detroit, where they haven’t built a championship team in 65 years and haven’t even won a playoff game in 30 years. But Holmes will be using this year’s Super Bowl as motivation.
“It was inspiring because being a part of that build, being a part of that process inspires us to go out and do it ourselves.”