The National Football League is a results based business. If you don’t perform, your organization will find someone who will. That’s something I love about the NFL. It was never more evident than on Monday when numerous coaches and GM’s lost their jobs for not meeting the expectations that their positions held.
Some firings were overdue while others may have been premature. Results on the field are not always 100% the reason for dismissal. Without an ownership change in Cleveland, I fully believe that Pat Shurmur is still the Browns head coach. While I was not the biggest Shurmr fan in the world, there is no way Jimmy Haslam was going to spend over a billion dollars on a team and not have his own personally hand-picked staff.
Heckert 100% lost his job because of the ownership change. I felt like he did a pretty solid job and has set the Browns up with a strong core of young talent, which should lead to success for the next several seasons. If in fact he does end up in Arizona, I expect him to do an excellent job there as well.
Several situations were not like the Browns, coaches lost their jobs because they didn’t get it done on the field. I respect the NFL for that. Either win or we will find someone who can. The rapid turnarounds and success of the 49ers, Seahawks, Redskins and Colts in the past couple seasons raises the pressure on everyone else. Whether you walk into a talent rich situation or not, patience for a rebuild is not something owners have.
The pressure is on the moment you take the job. The winning franchises have found the right guys, while the others who have trouble competing seem to have a never ending carousel of coaches. The problem in Cleveland is that the coaching changes and front office changes have not always come hand in hand. The hiring of Holmgren while Mangini was still under contract was a terrible move and the Browns lost an entire year because of it. A similar situation happened this year. With a change in the front office at the start of the season, it was almost certain that Shurmur would not return. Hopefully, the Browns are able to pair a great front office with the right head coach and this revolving door approach can come to a halt.
The goal of every team is to win championships, while some franchises make that their only goal. Others have milestones along the way that provide stability to the coaching staff and front office. For example, the Patriots single goal is to win Super Bowls. Then you have a franchise like the Browns who would be satisfied with simply making the playoffs. A playoff appearance with no Super Bowl is a failure in New England; the same cannot be said about Cleveland.
The best job security in the NFL is winning consistently. Unfortunately, coaches who are mainstays in some franchises continue to face pressure when a couple of lackluster seasons are intermixed (see Reid in Philly, Coughlin in NY, or Lovie in Chicago). While over the course of their tenure success has been had, if they seem to be trending down it’s time to make a move. In my mind, that’s how a business should be run. If you can’t get me the results I desire, I will find someone who can. Patience is a requirement, but at some point there has to be improvement.
I trust that the Browns will bring in the right guy. While I am not nearly as high on Chip Kelly as many Browns fans are, I do believe he is a guy that can bring stability to Cleveland. I am looking for a guy who has been successful as a head coach, whether be it college or pro. I am not looking for the next big thing from the coordinator ranks. I want someone who is winning and winning now, which is why I would be happy with Saban or Kelly.
Let’s just please not go out and over think this and hire someone who isn’t even remotely qualified for the job.