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Is Mangini the Answer? Coaching Consistency is Key

It is trite but worth reinforcing the importance of consistency at the head coach position of any professional sports franchise. If you trace the history of our beloved Cleveland Browns, that fact reveals itself in spades. Paul Brown coached 17 years for the Browns, by far and away the longest tenure of any head coach in the Team's history. That in and of itself is not surprising since coaching tenures in all professional sports used to be longer in the "old days", generally speaking. He is also, however, by far the most winning coach in Browns history. His winning percentage is .759. He won 158 regular season games and 9 playoff games. He is the one of the most winning coaches in NFL history. Brown won 4 AAFC championships and 3 NFL titles. He won coach of the year three times. He is enshrined at Canton, Ohio in the Hall of Fame. If you look at the coaches that came after Brown, you will see a trend. The statistics support what we know to be true; turnover at the head coach position brings negative results. Several examples will suffice. Between 1978 and 1988, we had two head coaches in a 10-year period, Sam Rutigliano from 1978 to 1984 followed by Marty Schottenheimer from 1984 to 1988. That was decent consistency in the head coach position over that decade. It is not a coincidence that the Team played above 500 during that decade, winning 91 regular season games and losing 77. Over the next 10-11 years, we had double the number of head coaches - 4. Less consistency; shorter tenures; more turnover. Between 1989 and 2000, not a single head coach of the four (Bud Carson, Jim Shofner, Bill Belichick and Chris Palmer) had a winning percentage above 500. In the last eight years between 2001 and 2008, we had another three head coaches - Butch Davis, Terry Robiskie and Romeo Crennel. Again, not a single head coach of those three had a winning percentage above 500. Then if you look even closer at the numbers, you see that turnover at the head coach position is not easy to overcome. Again, some examples from our history. After the 10 years with Rutigliano and Schottenheimer described above, the winning percentage of the next head coach (Carson) dipped below that of both of his predecessors. When Carson left after two seasons, the winning percentage of the next head coach (Schofner) was worse than that of Carson. When Schofner left after one season, the winning percentage of the next head coach (Belichick) went up to .450. Why? Because Belichick was there for 5 years and was able over that tenure to bring some consistency back to the head coach position. After Belichick left, nobody since has reached a .450 winning percentage.
Consistency is critical to success at the head coach position. The greater the turnover, the more miserable the results. There will always be some exceptions to that, however, the history of the Browns has been loyal to that concept. Let us hope that Eric Mangini has started a long tenure as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

Go Browns!

Devo's Cleveland Browns


  1. That Paul Brown book is fantastic. I thought I knew most everything about the Browns, including the rich history of the Paul Brown days.
    I agree that consistency is key. But that is not the case with every team. Obviously recent history shows that, Cardinals, Falcons, Ravens etc.

    However, we all know the Browns are not every other team. Mangini will need time. I have always felt that a professional football coach should have five years after he gets his players in the mix.

    With that said, I still think we should have waited one more year with Romeo/Savage. Parcells will most likely be available next season and we know he can get a coach that is worth a flip in there.

  2. Jerry: I think that Phil and Romeo might have been sparred, notwithstanding the record, if it were not for the absolutely pathetic ending to the season. I remember being at that last home game against the Bungles. In the bitter wind, having a few fans of Cincy sitting nearby laughing at our Team's effort. Lerner didn't have much choice after that. The knives were out. Then to top it all off the performance the following week against the Steelers. Pointless, no pun intended!

  3. I can't say that I don't agree. But look at all the injuries and guys playing hurt. I know they had to follow up the 2007 season, but I think one more year would have been ideal. Now we are back at square one.