Saturday, January 25, 2014

What Can The Browns Do To You?

The Cleveland Browns finally have a coach.

He is not Jon Gruden. He is not Josh McDaniels. He is not, in fact anyone you've ever heard of.

He was not their first choice. He was not their second choice. Near as anyone can tell, and no matter what Browns owner and accused fuel rebate hustler Jimmy Haslam says, he wasn't even top 15. The guys ahead of him in line, though, well, they didn't want the gig. They looked around and saw a meddling owner with some slippery character issues. They saw a GM who fell in love with a no-name quarterback based on a teensy sample size, and who ran his first year coach out of town for not sharing that love. They saw a roster largely devoid of talent on the offensive side of the ball, and they saw a series of 4-12 seasons before they could even think about getting respectable.

Oh, and they talked to the last guy who had the job, Rob Chudzinski, who was more than happy to dish on the clown car glove compartment that is the Cleveland Browns front office.


There are only 32 NFL head coaching jobs in the NFL. Which means that no matter how bad it is, no matter how bare the cupboard might be and how hands on the owner gets, it's a chance to do something almost no one else on the planet will ever get to do. Rich Kotite might be a punchline in two cities, but he's still "former Eagles and Jets coach Rich Kotite", and he always will be. 

And who knows. Maybe there will be a miracle. Maybe Mike Pettine is a Belichick-level genius and he'll be able to turn around the Browns. Maybe he's a Belichick-level genius who, like Belichick, will fail in Cleveland but show enough that someone else will give him a shot. Or maybe, probably, he'll fail, because Cleveland seems to be uniquely, spectacularly set up to be a home of failure in a way that makes the Miami Marlins look stable, and all the observers and analysts will say "Well, nobody could win there, so it's not his fault."

So when it all ends and the wolves descend and the team mournfully announces that it has "decided to go in another direction", he'll still be "former NFL coach Mike Pettine". And no one will ever be able to take that away from him.
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