Since their return to Cleveland in 1999, the Browns have had some of the worst luck ever witnessed in the realm of sports. Some question their evaluation of talent in the Draft. Some attribute it to poor coaching. Others say it stems from the team’s ownership.
But what if it’s all of those things?
All teams whiff on draft picks, it’s a part of the game. But the Browns have whiffed at a historical rate. High-profile college players have nightmares about being drafted by the Cleveland Browns. It’s where careers go to die. They’re the “Factory of Sadness” for a reason.
Since 2012, the Browns have used top selections on the likes of Brandon Weeden, Trent Richardson, Justin Gilbert, and Johnny Manziel. Nowadays, Brandon Weeden is a third-stringer for the Tennessee Titans.
Trent Richardson is toting the rock for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL. Justin Gilbert is a 26-year-old free agent after just three NFL seasons. And, well, we all know what happened to Johnny Manziel.
While the roster has been a revolving door, it’s been a coaching carousel in Cleveland too. Since 2009, the team has seen five head coaching changes.
Pat Shurmur, the “right man to lead”, washed out after two seasons. Rod Chudzinski, the “best person to lead”, only lasted a year. Mike Pettine, “the epitome of what we want the Browns to be”, was fired two seasons into his tenure.
The Cleveland front office has shown a sincere lack of patience. They’ve shown reluctance to commit to a process. Re-building a franchise from the ground up takes time. Giving head coaches only one or two years to construct a winner from scratch is just foolish.
It’d be in Cleveland’s best interest to look to other teams across professional sports. The Philadelphia 76ers committed to being bad for the sake of being good in the future. Now they are seeing the benefits of their patience.
The Houston Astros took their time building their young roster, enduring a stretch of six consecutive losing seasons. Now they are World Champions. A common trend– both teams stuck by their same head coach.
This season, things are so bad for the Browns that one fan is planning a parade. Not the good kind either. He’s been approved by the City of Cleveland to hold a “perfect season” parade if the team goes 0-16.
Despite this incredibly disappointing season, Cleveland should stick with their head coach. Hue Jackson, the prize of the 2016 coaching class, needs time to build the roster.