Sifting the Truth from the Noise

By Aaron Goldhammer

Here at the Really Big Show, we have done our best to be fair to Eric Mangini this season.

Did Rizz, Fedor, and I all think that Mangini should have been fired at the end of the 2009 season? Yes. Were we surprised when Mike Holmgren decided to stick with the current coaching regime? Yes. But once the decision was made to keep Mangini and his staff, I think all three of us have been patient and given this group ample opportunity to change our minds.

However, over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve noticed a growing divide amongst both Browns fans and members of the Cleveland sports media. The debate is unfair on both sides. The noise and conflicting agendas are defining. I’m sick of it. No names please.

On one side of the Great Wall of Berea sits fans and media types that are convinced that Mangini must go at the end of the season. This group of people seemed to somehow take pride and glee in the Browns putrid performance in the last two games. As far as they are concerned, the Bills and Bengals debacles are the only games on Mangini’s resume that truly matter.

Do you really hate the current head coach so much that you are going to root against the home team in order to get him fired? In the words of Amy Poehler and Seth Myers on Saturday Night Live: “Really?!?”

On the other side, we have Mangini’s most ardent supporters. You’ll know them when you see them because they constantly quote their fearless leader by invoking phrases like “progress” and “learning to win consistently.” They are rife with excuses, always quick to blame the roster, injuries, and past regimes.

The Browns can’t stop the run? They lost Fujita. The team can’t convert on third down? We have horrible wide receivers. Too many mistakes? It’s Phil Savage’s fault.

In order to fairly assess the 2010 Cleveland Browns, I’m going to look at the whole body of work. I’m not going to get too fired up over fluke wins over the Patriots and Saints and I’m not going to judge the coach solely on the basis of the last two games.

I still believe that the 2010 Cleveland Browns are better than last year’s model, but I can’t deny the fact that the team has regressed in November and December. They got a little better and now they are playing a little worse. Earlier in the year, Mangini seemed to handle the in game decisions quite well. Recently, his stubbornness and conservative nature have cost him. Run Hillis into the line on 3rd and 1? Settle for a field goal when you are 5-8? Come on man…

While the two sides of the debate are going to yell and scream on radio talk shows, blogs, and twitter for the next few weeks, Mangini’s true judge is waiting for the last two games to render a verdict. Contrary to popular belief, I doubt Mike Holmgren has reached a decision on what to do with Mangini.

The Browns are facing more adversity right now than they have at any point this season. The way they react to this tough week will tell the team president how the organization needs to proceed.

Right now, the name on the door still says Mangini. If he wants to keep it that way, they better start winning. Otherwise, not even Mangini’s own fan club can protect him from the inevitable.


1 Comment

  1. Great write Hammer…. Love your support for Mangini and what makes sense…. If he loses next year then I would be the first to say goodbye… but 2 years is not enough

    Bring back Mangini

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