From the looks of things, the Cleveland Browns may be looking for their ninth head coach (plus one interim) since re-entering the NFL in 1999.
Per Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal, the current coach, Mike Pettine, acknowledges that his job security is anything but certain and that a conversation with ownership may be forthcoming, saying that his own performance hasn’t been up to par.
“I feel very upset about the record…That’s on us. We own it. This is a bottom-line business and where we are isn’t good enough. … As the season winds down, [my future] could potentially come up between [Haslam and me]. I’m full speed ahead to getting it fixed here in Cleveland, and I know the results aren’t anywhere near where they need to be.”
By wins and losses, it’s easy to defend the potential firing of Pettine. But this is not something that successful organizations do. If you look at the best teams in the sport for the last decade — teams like the Patriots, Packers, Steelers, Giants, Seahawks, and Ravens — one thing you won’t see a lot of is coaching changes.
Now, an understandable retort would be that those teams have all won Super Bowls in the last ten years and been generally competitive, claims the Browns can not make. Of course that’s true, but it’s not as if the Browns have shown no life under Pettine.
They started the 2014 season at 7-4. While they’re current 2-9 — a record that obviously leaves a lot to be desired — the Browns have four losses by seven points or fewer, and that’s in a season riddled with injuries and off-field drama. In addition to the close losses, players like Gary Barnridge and Travis Benjamin have emerged as impact players in 2015, so you can’t exactly say that no progress has been made.
The Browns have had losing season after losing season since 1999. While it’s certainly possible that Mike Pettine is just not the coach that will lead them back to respectability, it’s just not smart to create more instability for that franchise.
Pettine has done well enough to remain as coach for at least one more year, but it remains to be seen if ownership feels the same way.