Mar 25, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine speaks to reporters at the NFL Annual Meetings. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports
The Cleveland Browns have suffered much since coming back to the NFL in 1999. It is no secret that they have not been consistent throughout the years. This young and talented team with the country’s most devoted fans have been through eight coaches in the past 14 years, and 20 starting quarterbacks. Their record, an embarrassing 77-163. Ouch. I can’t even believe they have lost that many games. Writing this, I still can’t. No coach since 1999 has a winning percentage of or over .500.
The Browns fans have become accustomed to their team disappointing them and losing big games, even losing games against teams that they should have beaten. Season after season, the team ends up at the bottom of the AFC North conference with no more than four or five or even six wins. “We’ll get em next year!” Next year never comes. It is clear that Cleveland has a losing mentality because that is all that they have been exposed to….losing, and it has become extremely humiliating.
This past season and the firing of Rob Chudzinski after going 4-12, the fans were angry, restless, and very confused. Their patience ran thin when “The Three Stooges” (Jimmy Haslam, Mike Lombardi and Joe Banner) seemed to have been taking their sweet time finding a coach and let’s not forget being turned down by a couple of candidates such as Denver Broncos offensive coordinator, Adam Gase or New England Patriots offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels. Then you had some candidates calling up Chud asking him what really went down in Northeast Ohio. The coaching search was a catastrophe. That was what it was in a nutshell. It seemed as though the fans had lost faith in the Browns brass. That was coming anyway based on how they became the laughing stock of the NFL not even a week after the regular season ended.
On February 6, 2014, Joe Banner and Jimmy Haslam introduced the new head coach of the Cleveland Browns after a very long extensive and stressful coaching search. He would be the former defensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills, Mike Pettine. Browns fans were anxious and nervous to hear about what the new coach had to say. Would he be another flop? Would he be gone after the first year like Chud? Would he be gone in two years? Would he be unemotional? What would this guy be like? Well, Pettine made it clear that he wanted to bring a winning culture back to Cleveland. He made it known that he would not be like Rex Ryan and that he was not like Rex Ryan. Most fans were impressed with how he talked about the team and where he wanted to take them…but in the city of Cleveland, talk is very cheap until it is proven on the hardwood floor, the turf or on the mound.
Dec 22, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam during the game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
During the off season, Pettine made major moves alongside former Cleveland Browns president, and new general manager, Ray Farmer who has done an excellent job. Signing new talent, keeping Alex Mack and setting a smokescreen to keep the fans guessing on who their first round draft pick would be. Some say that they are not going to choose a quarterback. Fans want Sammy Watkins, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr, etc. But Pettine has been tight-lipped about the draft along with Farmer and Haslam.
During the off season, we have learned that Mike Pettine is above and beyond what we expected. He is really attempting to bring a winning mentality to the city. We have learned that he is mature and reliable enough to lead this team into its first winning season in a long time. Maybe even a playoff run, eh? Pettine is diligent and resourceful. He has a mind of his own and will not back down. He will be hard on players and has actually mentioned grading them “hard” on their performance. His first press conference, he stated that the Browns had to bloody their nose a bit in the AFC North. He’s all about competition and work ethic in his players and he is not going to put up with lazy play or slothfulness from his players.
The city and the fans DESERVE a winning team and at least a playoff run.
I guess that’s why God created Mike Pettine.