Eric Mangini Out in Cleveland, Browns’ Problems Extend Beyond Head Coach
The Cleveland Browns have fired head coach Eric Mangini after two-straight 5-11 seasons. Mangini was hired by the Browns in 2009 after being fired by the New York Jets. Mangini was 23-25 during his time in New York. He may not be a great coach, but when are the people in Cleveland going to realize there might be a bigger problem than the coach. Mangini has had his issues in Cleveland and certainly was not the most likelable guy, but he’s not the first coach to struggle there.
Since they were re-established in Cleveland in 1999, the Browns have had five coaches, including interim coaches. They’ve had more than four times as many seasons of at least 10 losses (9) than they have had winning seasons (2). In that time they’ve made the playoffs once. In that same span, only seven teams have employed more coaches than the Browns; the Falcons (6), Bills (6), Lions (7), Dolphins (6), Raiders (6), Rams (6) and Redskins (7). Every team on that list, aside from maybe the Falcons, has been generally horrible since ’99.
Those two winning seasons ties the Browns with the Cardinals, Bills and Bengals, and puts them just ahead of the Lions (1). That one playoff appearance ties them with the Bills and Lions for the least in that span. Are you noticing the common names on these lists? He’s another one. Cleveland’s nine seasons with at least 10 losses is matched only by the Lions.
Since 1999 the Browns have perennially been in the top 10 in the draft, securing the No.1 overall pick twice. They’ve drafted horribly, and that’s not Mangini’s fault. It wasn’t his predecessor Romeo Crennel’s fault or the guy before him, Butch Davis’ fault. It’s an organizational thing. It’s the same reason Detroit is always bad, though things are actually looking up there. There’s no end in sight for Browns fans.
Mangini is Bill Belichick disciple and Belichick is widely considered an all-time great coach, but I’m not sure he could win consistently in Cleveland. In fact I know he couldn’t — Belichick coached the Browns from 1991-1995 — managing just one winning season. His input into roster decisions now would certainly help, but I don’t know that it would be enough to win regularly. The Browns have a lot of problems, but Mangini was probably the least of them.