The Browns have a new head coach. The very first question is, Is Mike Pettine better than Rob Chudzinski? It’s not Pettine’s problem — it is on the front office.
You are going to have to wait at least 16 games to find out the answer.
Owner Jimmy Haslam and President Joe Banner are now on head coach number three: Pat Shumur (remember him?), Rob Chudzinski and now Mike Pettine. Three coaches less than one year. It’s a franchise that has only had 15 head coaches. Where will he land in Cleveland football history?
The odds are against Pettine if you look at recent history. But, that is yesterday. No reason not to have faith, or at least an open mind, with this head coach. He hasn’t done anything wrong.
The pressure is on Haslam and Banner. Waving the white flag on your own guy after one season is going to stick with the fans. It makes them not trust you. It makes them laugh when you say, “This isn’t the same old Browns.” It makes them not want to buy your product. They can be fans at home on Sunday afternoon too. You have work to do.
The pressure will also be on General Manager Mike Lombardi. Ten picks in the draft. It could mean the difference between winning and working for the NFL Network again.
The fans' trust level in the Browns and the front office is reaching new lows. Only two things could make this lower: a horrible outcome in the pending Pilot Flying J investigation and the Browns raising ticket prices.
Now, the Browns knew this going into the search that winning the fans back is not going to be easy. Nationally the team is a punch line for Jay Leno. Even CBS’s and SI.com’s Boomer Esiason, who had nothing for praise all season long for the owner and the franchise, called the team “incompetent” and ‘the laughing stock of the NFL.”
This low level of faith in the Browns front office started when Jimmy Haslam raised the bar in his very first press conference as the new owner. It is a trust and passion for Browns fans many have never witnessed in this city. If the bar is that high, anything short of winning just means you are going to fail.
Despite the tornado swirling on Lou Groza Boulevard for the last month, they have chance to get this right.
The only thing standing between Mike Pettine and turning things around is what the Browns haven’t done since 1999:
Win a playoff game and he will become a god in Northeast Ohio.
It’s that simple.
The page has turned again. Let's hope we get a different story.