Today the Cleveland Browns lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s a dog bites man story, a result that follows the chalk. The Browns ended the year 3-13, which is their worst record in a while, and I didn’t watch a game after about week six. I doubt that I’m alone.
So now we’ll go through what has become an almost annual Browns rite. Where other teams focus on the playoffs, the Browns undoubtedly will be cleaning house, canning their head coach and probably their GM, too. I’m sorry Mike Pettine was a bust, but I have to laugh when I remember owner Jimmy Haslam saying how the Browns were “thrilled” to have Pettine when they hired him only two years ago.
No doubt the Browns were “thrilled” to hire anyone, because no rational person who wants a future in the NFL would want to be head coach of the Browns. It’s a death wish writ large, because the Browns have had almost as many head coaches as they have had starting quarterbacks. Does anybody remember Pat Shurmur?
So the Browns probably will once again hire a nobody, and they’ll get a new GM who will want to remake the team in his own image, and they’ll squander another high draft pick. We’ll have a wholesale turnover of players, and the new guy will promise that we’ll be “exciting” or “tough” or play nails defense. It never happens. The franchise is cursed — cursed with stupidity. A revolving door of coaches and front-office personnel, an owner who doesn’t know what he is doing and won’t hire somebody who does, and a list of failed first-round draft picks that were complete busts are a recipe for failure for any franchise. The Browns have made that recipe into an art form.
This year there will be a bunch of really good Ohio State players in the draft. Joey Bosa. Ezekiel Elliott. Normally I’d want them to play for my team — but now when my team is the Browns, because that inevitably means they will be injured or put into a scheme that fails to take advantage of their talents or otherwise converted into marginal players.
What should the Browns do? I say clean house, top to bottom, and hire Jim Tressel to run the organization. Why not? We know he’s competent, he can recognize talent, he’s won at every level he’s tried, and his offensive scheme is pretty close to what the NFL does, anyway. He knows the Browns tradition of success — unfortunately, only older guys know that anymore — and he resurrected the Buckeye program after the Cooper era. Browns fans would give him a nice long honeymoon, which means he might actually last longer than the last few Browns coaches, who’ve been there for no more than a cup of coffee. Maybe he’s not the answer — but does anybody trust this Browns organization to actually find somebody who is?
I say hire Jim Tressel.
Edited to add: The Browns have, in fact, fired head coach Mike Pettine and GM Ray Farmer. According to ESPN, they are interviewing former Buffalo coach Doug Marrone and Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase. Romeo Crennel, anyone?