Will Browns’ latest new coach work out? Are Hue serious?

From 1946 through 1995, the Cleveland Browns had 10 head coaches. Even more amazing: It was only eight head coaches if you don’t include Dick Modzelewski, who coached the last game of the 1977 season after Forrest Gregg was fired, and Jim Shofner, who did similar mop-up duty for the deposed Bud Carson in 1990. Just the same, by sticking with the figure of 10 head coaches over a 50-year period, you don’t have to be a math major to see that the average coaching stint was five years. That would indicate at least some degree of stability, wouldn’t you say?

From 1999 into 2016, the Cleveland Browns will have had at least nine head coaches. (I say “at least” because it would be presumptuous to assume the latest coach will make it through the entire 2016 season.) But, just for argument’s sake, let’s say that he does. Even with that lofty goal, it would mean that in the 18 seasons since the Browns “returned” (some argue that we’re still waiting) we have had nine coaches in those 18 glory-filled seasons.

Applying the same intense math formula we used above, it means Browns coaches average an anemic two seasons before being shown the door. Or look at it this way: The next coach (after Hue Jackson) the Browns hire – the 10th – will equal the same number of coaches it took the Browns to hire over the first fifty years.

The Brown’ latest hire, Hue Jackson, looks promising … on paper. Maybe the most intriguing thing about this man is his name. I mean, there are a plethora of headlines you can envision with this guy, like “Browns capable of playoffs? Coach says ‘Hue never know’.” Or when the Browns win their fifth game for Jackson (which, by the way, may not occur until, like, mid-2017), will someone call it, “The Jackson Five”? Ouch.  

I’m excited about Hue Jackson. (Or is it, “I’m excited about Hue, Jackson”?)

Problem is that I was excited about all the others, too. And just what did that excitement get me?

I was excited about Chris Palmer in 1999. Okay maybe I was more excited about the Browns returning than who their coach was, but nonetheless, Chris delivered a record of 5-27 over two years. Disappointing, but not unexpected. Looking back, it's amazing how some things never change, huh?

I admit to being one of the few who wasn’t excited about Butch Davis in 2001, even though he did seem to be on the right track with records of 7-9 and 9-7 (including a playoff game in 2002) in his first two years. Then the wheels came off, and Butch finished his stint in Cleveland with a 24-34 record, and the best winning percentage (.414) among all Browns coaches since their return. Talk about setting the bar high.

Since then, I’ve been excited about Romeo Crennel (a record of 24-40) and Eric Mangini (10-22), NOT excited about Pat Shurmur (9-23), excited about Rob Chudzinski (4-12) and Mike Pettine (10-22).

The point here is that, regardless of my excitement level regarding the new coach, the results have been pretty much the same: hideous.

On the other hand, if you have to change coaches on the average of every two years, maybe it’s not the coaching.

Jeff Bing

Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!

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Volume 8, Issue 2, Posted 9:54 AM, 01.19.2016