The Cleveland Browns are on their tenth head coach since they came back in 1999. Who was the best of the bunch?
Kevin Stefanski becomes the tenth full-time head coach for the Cleveland Browns since the expansion team came back in 1999. During that time, our Cleveland Browns have compiled the leagues worst record. With the exception of a few seasons, these past twenty seasons have been very forgettable.
The expansion team came back under horribly rushed circumstances and that led to a head coaching hire that was not Carmen Policy’s first, second, or third choice. A common occurrence for Cleveland Browns coaching hires throughout the years. While Chris Palmer was a good NFL quarterbacks coach, he was in over his head when it came to starting a franchise from scratch.
Coaches such as Pat Shurmur, Rob Chudzinski, Freddie Kitchens, Eric Mangini, and Hue Jackson are not even worth mentioning, which is probably why the Browns are in their current state of futility.
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That leaves us with Butch Davis, Romeo Crennel and Mike Pettine. Pettine deserves consideration because he was coaching with one hand tied behind his back his entire tenure with the Browns. A general manager texting the sidelines, being forced to play Johnny Manziel and having the best offensive mind who worked in Berea these past 20 years, Kyle Shanahan, give a 32 point paper on why he wanted out after one season was just too much for any coach, let alone Pettine to overcome.
Romeo Crennel had the longest tenure of any of these coaches. Teamed up with general manager Phil Savage, Crennel was given a chance to build a team in his vision. And after stumbling into a one-year wonder at quarterback for the 2007 season in Derek Anderson, Crennel had his team on the verge of making the playoffs. But a lackluster 2008 season was enough for Randy Lerner to pull the plug and move onto a different regime.
That leaves Butch Davis as the team’s best head coach since 1999. Davis embraced the role of being a CEO type figure in the head coaches office. He was able to delegate to his assistants and seemed to have the respect of his players.
Quickly taking a 3-13 second-year team to a 9-7 playoff team within two seasons had the city of Cleveland jumping. His teams played tough and were in every game they played in those first two seasons under his guidance. They took the form of the Kardiac Kids 2.0 as most games went down to the wire. They seemed to win or lose in dramatic fashion each and every week.
Things didn’t end well for Butch of course. After blowing a fourth quarter lead to Pittsburgh in the 2002 playoffs, a quarterback controversy, and an owner who wanted to shed payroll, Davis was never able to recover and resigned during the 2004 season.
But Cleveland Browns football was fun for two seasons under his watch. And its sad to say that was the best football we have seen in these past twenty years. Hopefully Kevin Stefanski can take the reins soon and Browns fans can see playoff football once again.