3. Marty Schottenheimer: 1984-1988
When Sam Rutigliano started out the 1984 season with a record of 1-7, he was let go and replaced by his defensive coordinator Marty Schottenheimer. Hired by Rutigliano in 1980, Schottenheimer was the defensive coach for four and a half seasons and took the Browns from one of the worst defenses in the NFL to the No. 2 ranked defense in terms of yards surrendered by 1984 — according to Pro Football Reference.
Schottenheimer’s first full season as the head coach started out well thanks to the team adding Bernie Kosar in the 1985 supplemental draft. Kosar’s talent and Schottenheimer’s ability to coach up the defense led to a lot of success during the mid-to-late-1980s which included four-consecutive trips to the playoffs — as well as three seasons in a row with at least 10 wins.
Overall, Schottenheimer had a great record for the Browns of 44-27 but his 62 percent winning record was overshadowed by his inability to get the job done in the playoffs. In the four trips, he won two games while losing four and had the team one-win shy of the Super Bowl three times.
After the team went 10-6 in 1988 and lost to the Houston Oilers 24-23 with a third-string quarterback starting in Mike Pagel, the Browns and their head coach mutually agreed to part ways. It wasn’t long after that when Schottenheimer was announced as the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.
After 10 seasons, and a lot of wins in Kansas City, Schottenheimer had stints with the Washington Redskins and San Diego Chargers. In all, he was a head coach for 21 years in the NFL and finished with a record of 200-126-1.