Video Vault: Cleveland Browns hire Bill Belichick in 1991

CLEVELAND - The Cleveland Browns hired Bill Belichick to be their head coach just after midnight Feb. 5, 1991.

Art Modell introduced Belichick, the former New York Giants defensive coordinator, to the Cleveland media at a press conference in Berea.

Today, we know Belichick as the highly-regarded head coach of the playoff-perennial New England Patriots, but in 1991, he was embarking on his first stint as an NFL head coach.

Modell tells the assembled media he was foregoing the usual three-year contract for Belichick, giving him a longer deal and therefore a big vote of confidence.

We hear from both men in Berea, then we hear from Cleveland Browns players Brian Brennen, Van Waiters and Rob Burnett.

WEWS cameras then turn to the fans to hear what they had to say. The sound bites from the fans could be used today without missing a beat.

Also interviewed on announcement day was Debby Clarke, then Mrs. Belichick. The two were married in 1977 and divorced in 2006.

Finally, former Browns kicker Matt Bahr chimes in on the hiring. Bahr spent most of the 80s as the Browns kicker but was kicking for the Giants at the time of the interview.

Belichick's run in Cleveland was rocky. He and the media seemed to be at odds constantly.

He had a 36–44 record but Modell promised to stick by his head coach, even after the move to Baltimore was announced. However, the Belichick era ended on February 15, 1996.  

Belichick got back into football as a coach for Bill Parcell's New England team in 1996 then moved with the Big Tuna to the Jets from 1997 to 1999 before returning to the Patriots as their head coach in 2000.

And all he's done in New England — besides becoming the NFL's current longest-tenured head coach — is win 163 games with three Super Bowl victories in five appearances.

Meanwhile, the Browns have gone through seven head coaches — and counting.

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