As the 2013 NFL regular season ended, head coaches rapidly joined unemployment lines.
No one who has ever followed the Cleveland Browns could have been even mildly surprised that
Browns coach Rob Chudzinski was one of the victims of the falling ax, after just one season at the helm.
As I listened to local media comment on the decision, I wondered if Chud’s firing makes any difference to ardent fans or indifferent viewers (I’m more of the latter, I suppose).
Since their 1999 return to the NFL from a three-year absence, the Cleveland Browns have had only two winning seasons and one playoff appearance. Their won-loss record in the last 15 years is an appalling 77-163 for a horrid winning percentage of .320.
During that 15-year period, the Browns have had seven head coaches. By comparison, in the last 45 years, the Browns’ most hated rival, Pittsburgh, has had just three head coaches. Those great leaders led the Steelers to eight Super Bowl appearances and six victories.
Although I used to be a sportswriter, I never covered the NFL or the Browns, so I may not be the foremost expert on the sport. It does stand to reason, though, that some semblance of stability at head coach equates to winning. At least it does for Pittsburgh, and it has for New England, another perennial playoff team, who has been coached by Bill Belichick since 2000 and has won three Super Bowls.
Cleveland ownership never seems to pay much attention to coaching tenure though. So, a new coach will be hired — the eighth, since 1999. He will be wise to leave his bags packed, because head coaches don’t last long on the shores of Lake Erie.
Meanwhile, the Browns and their fans will live to lose another day.
Is there any reason for me to care?
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