Can a Six-Win Team Have a Coach of the Year Candidate?

By Will Burge

I don’t get a vote. I definitely don’t deserve a vote. If I had a vote, there would be something very wrong with the system, but my vote would go to Eric Mangini.

Over the last 12 games, he is 7-5 with a team who, by their own admission, has less talent than 80% of the league. During that span, the leaner, faster, and less angry Mangini has defeated coaches with 5 combined Super Bowl rings.

Over that same span, the Browns have rushed for 153 yards per game and have only allowed 18.5 points per game. That number would be 9th in the NFL in scoring defense this season.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the phrase, “They need to get back to playing Cleveland Browns football!” from callers, friends and co-workers.

Here is the dirty little secret: They HAVE been playing Cleveland Browns football for 10 of the past 12 years. Cleveland Browns football has become synonymous with losing, and we all know they have been very good at that.

Something different has happened in the last 12 games, they are not playing Cleveland Browns football. They are playing Eric Mangini football.

The naysayers will quickly rebut my argument with the fact that the Coach of the Year award is for the current season only so let’s look deeper at 2010.

First and foremost, he isn’t fat anymore. That has to be worth some votes right there. The Browns have become as disciplined as his weight loss program.

The Browns have quickly become one of the toughest teams in the NFL to prepare for. They do not have a wide receiver who garners his own defensive scheme to shut down. They do not have a quarterback who can change a play at the line of scrimmage or the game with his arm. They don’t even have a running back that has ever eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark in a season. What they do have is a head coach who has loosened the reigns on his coordinators and developed a winning culture on a sub .500 team.

Probably the best reason for Mangini earning Coach of the Year votes is that no one else deserves it.

Raheem Morris? The Buccaneers are this year’s Denver Broncos. They are a fun story but will fold like a cheap chair in the second half of the season.

Mike Tomlin? The Steelers have overcome quite a bit of adversity this season but early reports of a weak offensive line and an old receiving core were vastly overstated.

Tom Cable? They have competed very well in a weak AFC West, but we all know how this story ends. The Raiders will be under .500 and San Diego will win the division once again.

Todd Haley? The Chiefs are a nice story but the fact remains that only one team from the West will make the playoffs. Plus, it is not like they don’t have talent. Jamaal Charles, Matt Cassell, and Thomas Jones are a nice 1-2-3 combination on offense.

Eric Mangini? If the Browns can get to six wins, he will have done more with less than any other coach. Not to mention, he will have played against one of the hardest schedules in the NFL.

He has as good of a case as anyone else. If his team can win three more games, they will have overachieved. If they win four or five more games, Eric Mangini will have done the best coaching this season, regardless of whether or not he receives the award.



  1. Bravo Will. Time for everyone to respect ‘The Process.’

  2. Matt Cassell is talent? Come on… That dude blows.

    The rest though, pretty good argument. I’d think that they would have to win more thab 6 and possibly against the Jets for anyone to consider this though.

  3. In a year and a half Mangini has turned around an entire culture, from the locker room to the discipline on the field. Look how many penalties the Jets have per game now that Mangini has left.
    There is no coach in the NFL who has done as good a job. Well said Will!!!

  4. great article… Our scheduel thus far is stil ranked as the hardest in the entire NFL… Rams and teams like that are beating horrible NFC and AFC West teams….

    Mangini is great and will get better

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Browse

  • Archives