On December 29, 2013 the Cleveland Browns fired Rob Chudzinski, the man they had hand-picked and hired 352 days earlier. The man who owner Jimmy Haslam called “the man” and touted as “the best person to lead the Cleveland Browns to the kind of winning format that we want to have here in Cleveland and that we all expect to have.” (transcript found here) Haslam was wrong.
Yesterday, January 24, 2014 the Browns introduced Mike Pettine as the 15th head coach in the team’s history and 7th since 1999 (not including interim coaches). Disturbingly, Pettine is the fourth coach to be hired in the AFC North since 2009, all of which have been hires made by the Browns.
As much as I love numbers, this post really isn’t about numbers or stats. In fact, it’s not even about Pettine’s coaching history or his qualifications.
Watching the press conference, I came away with three things:
- I like Pettine.
- Joe Banner and Haslam showed little respect for Pettine.
- These introductory press conferences are no longer exciting.
I like Pettine
To me, Pettine came off as a football guy, through-and-through. Butch Davis, who has the highest winning percentage of any Browns coach since 1999, was the last coach that came off this way to me. Pettine answered the tough questions intelligently and confidently. The response that impressed me was his response to the question of whether he’s confident he’ll have the time needed to turn around the team. His response was reasonable and showed his confidence in himself: “I don’t feel real qualified to speak on that because I wasn’t here; I didn’t know the circumstances. I only know the circumstances that were put in front of me… I’ll bet on myself. Again, I don’t want to get involved and back away from a job because of lack of perceived security.”
His comments about his daughter’s gaffe on Twitter made him come off as just a good guy… a good father.
All-in-all I really liked what I heard from Pettine. I wish him the best and I hope he has thick skin. The fans and a good portion of the local media have lost patience with this organization. If the losses start piling up… lookout!
Joe Banner and Haslam showed little respect for Pettine
Why do I say this? Haslam spent, what felt like, almost as much time talking about Mike Pettine’s father as he did about Mike Pettine himself. Haslam pointed out that Pettine’s father was 5-0 against his son coaching at the high school level. If I’m Pettine, I do not want to be introduced as someone “not quite as good as my father”. I just don’t get why Haslam would even bring that statistic up. Why tell everyone Pettine isn’t as good as his father? It baffled me.
The second sentence out of Joe Banner’s mouth was “since Mike Lombardi and I are Moe and Larry, we went and set out to find Curly and we succeeded.” Did I hear that right? There’s no way Banner just insulted Pettine right off the bat in his introductory press conference! I’m no PR guru, but I can’t imagine that introducing the public to the leader of your team as a “stooge” is a good move. Now, I know Banner was trying to make light of the “Three Stooges” question brought up in the previous press conference. And I also know that he was trying to take the “stooge” label off of Haslam. But, how can you think it’s a good idea to label your head coach a “stooge” before he even gets a chance to introduce himself?
It reaffirmed in my head that Haslam and Banner are quite aloof.
These introductory press conferences are no longer exciting
Since 1999, Browns fans have seen more introductory press conferences for a new head coach than most NFL fans have seen in their entire lifetime. It’s become monotonous. We hear the same things every couple of years. This time we heard clichés from Haslam like “Mike brings exactly what we think we need for our organization” and “I think he will be a perfect fit for our team and our fans.”
Really? I would have thought you would hire a guy that was just the complete opposite of what you want for your organization.
Half of Banner’s comments were cliché. He stated: “We’re very attracted by his intelligence, his aggressiveness, his toughness and the type of discipline I think he’s going to bring to the team… We think he’s an outstanding fit.”
My gag reflex literally kicks in when I hear these kind of phrases. We’ve been preached to for far too long and on far too many occasions. These kind of phrases are no longer palatable.
This article by Mark J Price of the Akron Beacon Journal is exactly what I’m talking about.
So, in summation, I like Pettine, but I’m not too fond of Haslam and Banner. And, based on the comments made by Haslam and Banner about their new coach, I’m not convinced that they even respect him. And finally, I don’t want to hear any more promises or positive “spin” about anything. Just shut up and win! Win early and win often… that is all that matters.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go slay some Colossi on my PS3.