Behind the smiles and optimism, one can’t help but imagine Kevin Stefanski’s thought bubbles during week one with the Cleveland Browns.
SETTING: Stefanski deplanes Air Haslam as he begins his new life with the Cleveland Browns.
THOUGHT BUBBLE: What did I get myself into? Why do I feel like Gilligan arriving on an uncharted desert isle? Maybe I should’ve been patient and waited for Coach Zimmer’s contract to run out in Minnesota.
SETTING: Stefanski arrives at Browns headquarters in Berea and is greeted by JW Johnson with a used car salesmanlike “What’s goin’ on my man?!”.
THOUGHT BUBBLE: That’s it?! That’s my welcome committee, the son-in-law? Where are Jimmy & Dee? Where’s Paul DePodesta? Hell, Hue Jackson got a hero’s welcome with a packed lobby. I get the guy acting like he’s about to sell me a 2014 Audi? Really?
SETTING: Stefanski meets the media at his introductory press conference.
THOUGHT BUBBLE: Oh, please, make it stop already with the analytics questions. I’m a football coach, not a math professor. Ask me about formations, tight ends, my thoughts on the no-huddle offense, anything! Please stop the analytics madness! I wanted the job, DePodesta is part of the package, it is what it is, but I’m a football coach. Let’s talk about football. Please!?
SETTING: Stefanski is theoretically sitting in his office poring over tape when someone walks in and tells him about OBJ’s exploits in New Orleans.
THOUGHT BUBBLE: He slapped a security guard’s butt? Is that all? We’re football players and coaches, that’s what we do. Coaches slap player butts, players slap player butts, we’re a butt-slapping fraternity. And he made it rain too? Who cares? His alma mater just won the National Championship and he got caught up in their celebration, there’s nothing wrong with that. Didn’t I just tell everyone that personality is welcome? Come on, this is all much ado about nothing.
SETTING: Stefanski joins the Browns search committee as it begins interviewing General Manager candidates.
THOUGHT BUBBLE: I like Andrew Berry, but wasn’t he an integral part of the group that built the Browns’ 1-31 juggernaut? And now they want him to potentially build our roster? I know fantasy football participants who are better talent evaluators. Does Air Haslam have return flights to Minneapolis?
Anyone basking in the glow of their first NFL head coaching job is going to naturally be on cloud nine, but it’s hard not to imagine that Kevin Stefanski’s innermost thoughts are at least tinged with some doubt, surprise and, even alarm. I suspect a return trip to Stefanski’s thought bubbles might be warranted sometime down the road. The fun is just beginning in Berea.