Terrible Pettine hire shows Cleveland’s incompetence


I am a Cleveland Browns fan. I want nothing more than for them to succeed. I want them to perform well and win during the season. I also want them to make smart and effective moves during the offseason in order to facilitate success on the field. The past 20-25 years have disappointed me with the on-field product…and the poor performance is always preceded with fruitless off-seasons. The incompetence of the organization never ceases to amaze me.

A couple weeks ago, I predicted that when the Browns had finally hired a coach and announced his name, the city of Cleveland would collectively cry “Who?” I wanted so badly to be proven wrong. I hoped beyond hope that they would find a proven, veteran, no-nonsense coach that would help give the team an identity and give us all hope for 2014.

But what we got was all too predictable. The Browns hired Mike Pettine. Who? Well, he was the defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills in 2013. The Bills team whose defense was #10 in the NFL in yards given up per game. But look a little closer, and you’ll see that they were #20 in the NFL in points allowed per game (a much more important statistic). Are you kidding me? There are only 32 head coaching jobs in the entire world, and one of them is going to a middle-of-the-road (at best) defensive coordinator? Cleveland, that is pathetic.

The organization has attempted to convince us that Pettine is the guy they wanted all along. Owner Jimmy Haslem went so far as to say that “Mike is the epitome of what we want the Browns to be.” Are you kidding me? They want the Browns to be half as good as the 2013 Buffalo Bills? How high up on the Browns’ candidate list was Pettine anyway? I’d be surprised if he were even in the top-10. They only hired him after Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase made it clear that he was not interested in coming to Cleveland…along with several other of the Browns’ top candidates. But can you blame any who declined? What coach in his right mind would even think about coming to Cleveland? The Browns fired first-year head coach Rob Chudzinski after this talent-thin team stunk like they were expected to.

Who really thinks that Pettine is a better head coach than Chudzinski? NOBODY. The Cleveland organization is trying their best to make us (and themselves) believe that this coaching change is a step forward. It is not. Chudzinski was certainly nothing special, but neither is Pettine. He is a mediocre defensive coordinator on a team that already has one, and he will bring nothing of value. The really sad thing is that the Browns had no choice in the matter – Pettine was named head coach solely because he was willing to work for Haslem. The Browns’ front office, through its own faults and failures, has rendered itself unable to attract top-tier talent.

The brand of being a horrible organization can be reversed, but not easily. Until steps are taken to become a more responsible and committed franchise, the Browns will forever be stuck in the rut of irrelevancy. We’ll continue hiring and firing sub-par coaches because we will be unable to attract a quality NFL head coaching candidate.

Everything that is wrong with the Browns is illustrated in the Pettine hire: not only incompetence, but helplessness.


Kevin Gillikin posted some of the dumb tweets of the week. It’s mostly bad in Cleveland.

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  • Phil

    Naturally I would take this DA’s word over the 30 or so coaches, executives and media types that have ALL said it was a great hire. Do us all a favor and become a Bengals fan.

  • Sam Gold

    This “talent-thin team” which sent six players to the Pro Bowl. OK…

  • Joe

    Haha. The writer only refers to one of his many seasons as DC in order to make his point seem valid. Can’t wait to review this post at the end of next year ( if it’s still here). Pettine will change the culture that Chud couldn’t.

  • Eric Johnson

    So you have convinced yourselves that Pettine will be a difference maker. I’m legitimately happy for you. But that blind acceptance of “good enough” is exactly what is wrong the Cleveland fan base.

    The Browns fired Chud with the intention of getting McDaniels or Gase. When neither of them would come near, they settled for Pettine who is no better than Chud. All the coaches and executives that said it was a good hire? What were they going to say in this era where false praise is all that comes out of anybody’s mouth? Before Pettine’s single season with the Bills, he was “defensive coordinator” for the Jets…everyone knew that Rex Ryan was really the D-coordinator.

    I’d love to be excited about Pettine. I really would. But sadly, there’s nothing to be excited about.

    • Stiv Marley

      Eric, I think you hit the nail on the head. In order to get hired by the Browns, you must raise your right hand and swear to follow the “Three Stooges” directions no matter how strange they may sound. The two decades of losing has eroded away normal logic in our brains. We settle and pay for mediocrity. What should happen is that the NFL should come in and have the boys arrested for fraud. As a season ticket holder this is how I feel. My question to season ticket holders is “why do we renew our tickets every year?” I would ask that all current season ticket holders NOT RENEW 2014 tickets. Send a message ! The right message, no more B.S. ! Did you pay for a PSL when you got your tickets, I did. Did you know it is not worth a penny. Tell Mr. Haslam to send our PSL monies back instead of building new video boards. People ask why they didn’t interview people like Cowher,Gruden,Billak, it’s simple “your input is ok”, but Banner/Lombardi want the final decision. I own my own company and I’ve said for decades – “Just because your the boss doesn’t mean you’re right, it just means you have the final decision”. As long as Banner micro manages you will always get the same results. mediocre coaches, free agents that don’t want to come to Cleveland, and losing records. I’ll always, always be a Browns fan, however the insanity stops here. NO MORE SEASON TICKETS !

      • Eric Johnson


      • tigersbrowns2

        hi STIV … gotta disagree … haslam won’t stand for losing. banner & lombardi will both be gone if they don’t get it done. this is a HUGE year for the brass , with all the draft picks & the cap space that is available … they have an opportunity to make a big splash this off-season.

      • tigersbrowns2

        … you own your own company. i’m sure you have upper management that you lean on … i’m sure if they didn’t get the job done they’d be gone … i know it’s hard to tell people to “hang in there” after what we witnessed since 1999 … odds are somebody’s gonna get it right eventually.

        • Stiv Marley

          tigersbrown2 – thanks for the comment ! Are you a current Season Ticket holder? Haslam made the wrong decision to hire Banner then give him football personnel decisions . He was an operations (money) guy in Philly. Are you not tired of hearing the same line of crap? I am, sorry.

    • Jim Johnson

      (no relation) I agree Eric – even Chud had enough class to thank the Haslam family for the opportunity in Cleveland. I’m sure he’d rather have said somthing else.

  • Jose

    Eric at the time that we hired Pettine, what other options did the Browns have? It’s unfortunate that Denver is in the Super Bowl because we were not able to talk to Gase until after the season. McDaniels withdrew which I didn’t like as a head coach anyway. We (The Browns) had no options and it backfired on them and they HAD to make a decision on a coach. You say Rex Ryan was D Cor with the Jets and everyone new that. Well we all know that Peyton Manning is the Offensive Cor with Denver. Sometimes the “big names” don’t always work out either. I am not happy about the hiring but with that said we have no choice but to give the guy a chance. What is the worst that can happen that we lose more games? We are already used to that and most fans are expecting that this coming year. Perhaps we will be proven wrong just once.

  • Drew

    Seems to me, when the Browns hired “Bill Belichick” it was a “WHO” moment… Who is he now?

    • Jose

      Drew exactly!!! I was going to mention that. Everyone is a “WHO” until they become someone

  • Rigamortis

    The guy who wrote this needs to do us all a favor and go root for the Steelers……We don’t need garbage like you cheering for the Browns

  • Eric Johnson

    I understand your point, but what are the chances a “Who” becomes a Belichick? 1 in 20? 1 in 50? Why should we as devoted Browns fans accept that? The Chiefs hired a proven coach in Andy Reid, and got great results. The Browns couldn’t land a proven coach because their front office is a mess. That is what needs to be fixed. Until then, they’re stuck hoping that guys like Pettine will become great. And in Pettine’s case (like Chud before him), that will never happen.

    I’m personally not happy waiting 30 years before Cleveland happens upon a nobody who becomes great. We deserve better. And should demand better.

    • Chuck Noll

      to the complete moron who wrote this story and makes the true browns fans look incompetent. You whine about wanting them to hire a “proven winner, tough minded” coach. Your choices are McDaniels and Gase? McDaniels tripped over his extremely large ego and showed like you, what a complete douche and loser he was, and who is Adam Gase? Just who exactly hired a proven, tough minded football coach this year with Super Bowl rings on his fingers. There was no one. I realize you couldn’t count to one, but do Cleveland a favor and quit rooting for them. Go buy your own damn team and run it since you have all of the answers. Better yet, why don’t you be a man and tell this to Mike Pettine to his face. Thankfully he’d realize that you are just a loser that lives on your mothers couch, and he’d let you go, but he’d probably say the same thing. Go watch golf.

    • Chuck Noll

      I forgot to read your above post before I replied. Andy Reid is a proven winner? First you demand excellence, and settle for nothing but the best. So, you are happy with just making the playoffs? What a goal. Andy Reid has proven he can’t win a Super Bowl. His team started 9-0 against a soft schedule and then went 2-6, including blowing a 30 some point lead to choke in the playoffs. Banner and Lombardi look like absolute Einstein’s compared to your idiotic logic. Wahoo, give us a trophy, we made the playoffs. Real demanding of you there sizzlechest. Get off these posts and get ready for figure skating next week!

  • tigersbrowns2

    way too early to judge this hiring … can we at least wait & see what pettine brings to the table ??

    • Browns4ever

      im sick of waiting bro we need to win now!!!

  • DrMemory

    Perhaps I’m a glutton for punishment, but I’m willing to give Pettine some time to succeed before I pass judgement. I think it’s a better hire than Gase who is totally unproven and has only succeeded as a coordinator due to having the best quarterback of this generation leading the team on the field.

    I’d love to have a proven guy like Grudenor or Cowher but they’re not coming to Cleveland.

    Chudinszki had to go due to the horrible manner in which the team finished it’s last 10 games of this season. The team was obviously regressing.

  • Josky57

    I’m not the only one thanking the mighty heavens that we did not get McDaniels. Brady and Manning will make any coach look better than they are. They go to the line of scrimmage with 5 plays and then audible based on the defense. The best coaches make the halftime adjustments to hold onto a lead. Chud could not do it. Our QB’s were nothing to brag about, but look at the scores going into halftime, then look how we fell apart and found a way to lose. If a coach has confidence in his abilities he will be willing to go into a bad situation and prove himself. Not saying I’m a Pettine fan, he will have to earn that. Look around the NFL, how many great coaches do you really see. Now look at the ones who have a true franchise QB and take them out of the mix. Bottom line is you need a great QB to win in the NFL. Not sure why we did not look into Zimmer more.

    • tigersbrowns2

      good post JOSKY …

  • Josky57

    Maybe Pettine can get the TE Chandler (Bills) to aid in our vertical attack.

  • Kevin Gillikin

    Haha Chuck Noll has some anger issues. Awesome read as a post and into the comments. Clearly a controversial topic.

  • True Fan

    For the most part comments such as these are from young frustrated fans. Cool your heels and give it some space! I’ve been a fan longer than most of you negative fans have been alive! They got it right with Richardson after inheriting a poorly drafted roster. Why would anyone draft Richardson and Weeden in the first round of any draft? I didn’t believe Chud should have been fired but also understood the way management was thinking. McDaniels and Gass would not have been good for the Browns at this time. This is a talent laden draft for which the Browns have 10 picks! They have the money to make some moves and 6 All Pro players! Good things are coming to Cleveland very soon! Come back in a year when you want playoff tickets and can’t get them!

    • tigersbrowns2

      good post TRUE … i remember holmgren saying whoever traded richardson should be fired … he should’ve fired himself for taking both richardson & weeden in the 1st round.

  • Kevin Gillikin

    True Fan – Well said, 100% agree! I also don’t love the hire but I don’t hate it. Hard to judge either way until the guy can make some coaching decisions and actually coach an NFL game. That said, they did yet again hire the least sexy coach on the market. A “nobody”. Doesn’t mean he won’t have success or the team will get better or worse but the way the team and management handled the whole situation was completely embarrassing. Whether McDaniels or Gase would have been good hires (at least they’re offensive coaches) I think it’s almost certain that the team fired Chud with one of the two coaches in mind. It didn’t work and they were stuck with the 8th guy on their list. Life goes on and the Browns have a very good possibility to move ahead IF IF IF their management doesn’t screw it up yet again.

  • richardthrgreat

    something to think about since 1970 the browns have hired only one coach who had been a head coach at the pro level before mangini. other than brian sipe and salesman sam and Bernie and marty the browns have been terrible.my point is a proven coach does not want to come to Cleveland why would he ! this new ownership is clueless.jim hasalm wants to be the face of the franchrise just look at the cowboys and the redskins just as dysfunctional as the browns. hasalm still has issues with family bussines and this franchise could be moved within the next 5yrs remember LA will have a facility in the very near future.just think about it! mr. hasalm is a very successful bussines man as we been told operating the browns should not be as diffacult as supplying the nation trucking industry with fuel it does not add up!!!!!

    • tigersbrowns2

      hi RICHARD … LA could support football before … it would probably be the jaguars before the browns … they wouldn’t do that to us again , would they ?

      • tigersbrowns2

        … LA “couldn’t ” support football …

  • Kevin Gillikin

    San Diego and Miami can’t support football. Cleveland has GREAT fans! People in L.A and the like are all transplants from some other city and state, Cleveland fans are normally born, bred and raised in good old Ohio. This fan base doesn’t deserve the ownership they have and before long (if Haslam loses his money due to fraud) then they may get another chance. Sadly success and failure all roll downhill and right now it’s a slippery slope of suckage.

  • Al

    Doen’t matter who the Browns get I’ve watched them for almost 50 years ,even with god players and coaches they find a way to lose , there just snake bit ,most have excepted this by now , makes for good conversation each season is all , when you stop expecting them to win maybe they will , until then everyones riding a dead horse here !

  • Sean

    Eric, I think you might be pleasantly shocked. Pettine might be the very best we could hope for. Fans in Buffalo are pi$$ed that they lost him. They thought he was their next HC.

  • RNN

    I am not shocked at reading what some of you “Here we go Brownies Here we go…woof …woof” (a Steeler cheer OBTW) fans are saying. Are you that clueless? Are you that dumb? As a 6 seat season ticket holder since ’84 my family will not be renewing. This is a complete mess. The stadium is a joke, the team is a joke. It’s ove….r Done. PSL’s are meaningless, we have a coach who’s only claim to fame is his father was a good high school coach in Pennsylvania (your owners words upon announcing him, not mine) There is no hope! The future is bleak! You know it and I know it. The only reason to go down there is to get beat by rivals? Are you serious? This is the worst organization in all of sports!

    • Browns4ever

      finally someone talking some sense! I don think their the worst organization in sports but im sick of everyone rah rahing over another useless coach

    • Stiv Marley

      RNN – You’re right on ! I’ve been going to games since the mid seventies. I’ve seen a lot of Browns football, as far as the coach is concerned, sure give him a chance, however it does not change the fact that he will be hampered by the front office. As far as draft picks go, we had ten picks in 2010 too. So I agree no renewal for me either !

  • Kevin Gillikin

    It’s hard not to be a 100% pessimist as a Browns fan but I think there is some hope yet. See if you guys agree with this http://cover32.com/browns/2014/01/31/reasons-for-hope-browns-actually-have-many/

  • Zach Wilson

    The writer is getting a lot of shit for posting what is true. I don’t see how it’s so difficult for some to understand why the new franchise has been a total failure. We settle for mediocrity in the head coaching department, fans clamor for change at the end of the season creating more turnover in the front office, the players get screwed having to learn an entirely new system every one/two years, the new GM&coach get the guys they want for their system (regardless of higher talent players at other positions), and then we repeat this cycle. All the while attendance stays high bringing in more money than winning teams. Until fans truly start to show their disgust with the franchise by ceasing to renew season tickets we won’t start to see real change. This article is written by a true browns fan because those of us who have seen the old team know better than to settle for this mediocrity.