Since coming back to the NFL in 1999, the Cleveland Browns have had 10 full-time head coaches and two interims. Gregg Williams was able to go 5-3 down the stretch in 2018 but outside of that, the rest all have losing records — except for Kevin Stefanski.
Hired in 2020, he led the Browns to the playoffs and won the NFL Coach of the Year Award in the process. At the time, he was beloved by fans and who felt the future was bright. But then an 8-9 campaign in 2021 followed by a 7-10 run in 2022 soured some fans.
Those who were anti-Stefanski didn't care about injuries at quarterback or defensive meltdowns. They just knew they weren't back in the playoffs so they went back to what they know — demand the coach's head. When they didn't get their wish, they started to unleash some awful takes, even making fun of his play sheet which is the same size as every other play-caller's sheet.
Even this year, those haters don't want to give the head coach any credit. Despite an 11-5 record currently, they believe the coach is being carried by defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. That belief is flawed — especially since those same people said Stefanski was to blame for Joe Woods but won't give him credit for Schwartz. It also holds no water after this historical stat from Stefanski.
Despite being forced to start four different quarterbacks this year, Stefanski led his team to 11 wins and has them in the playoffs. No team has ever accomplished this. Throw in the fact that they've lost their star running back, both starting left tackles, starting safety, and two vital pieces of their defensive line rotation, and Stefanski's much closer to winning his second Coach of the Year award than he is to being unemployed.
Browns likely to extend Kevin Stefanski, Andrew Berry
The only real question surrounding Kevin Stefanski, and even general manager Andrew Berry, is when we hear the news of an extension. Each is responsible for the success they've had (37-29 in four years) and should be around for many more years.
Cleveland is currently the No. 5 seed in the AFC and they're able to sit back and watch the games this weekend. They're hopeful to get a few of their players back healthy but even if they don't, they've proven they can get the job done and can never be counted out. That falls on the head coach, even if some don't want that to be the case.