Unproven Coordinator Dude

By Aaron Goldhammer

Unproven. Coordinator. Dude. Those are the three words no Browns’ fan wants to hear as Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert began the interview process for Cleveland’s next head coach.

In a poll conducted on ESPNCleveland.com on Monday, just over 62 percent of fans want the Browns to hire Jon Gruden. Another 20 percent are hoping for Mike Holmgren or John Fox. Cleveland has made their voice clear. They want a established commodity to lead the Browns into the next decade. Unproven coordinator dude is not going to go over well in the Dawg Pound.

However, after careful examination of the evidence, I’ve decided that Holmgren needs to pay no attention whatsoever to what the fan base thinks they want in their next leader. Sure, Gruden, Holmgren, and Fox are sexy. They might even be able to keep the Browns on the path to the Super Bowl. But recent history tells us that unproven coordinator dude, as along as it’s the right unproven coordinator dude, might be the best bet.

Of the 12 teams that qualified for the playoffs this season, only two boasted “top men” with head coaching experience prior to their current job: Bill Belichick in New England and Pete Carroll in Seattle. Can you even count the 7-9 Seahawks as a playoff team?

Last year, only three of the 12 playoff squads had coaches with previous head coaching experience: Belichick, Wade Phillips in Dallas, and Norv Turner in San Diego.

John Harbuagh, Mike Tomlin, and Sean Peyton were all unproven coordinator when they were hired. They turned out ok, no?

Call me crazy? Would unproven coordinator dude really be so bad after all?



  1. Any smart front office won’t listen to the fans (who many can’t even pronounce Holmgren’s name right…hey Browns Fan, it’s NOT “Holgrem!”) and will hire the most qualified candidate out there.

    I’m tired of the front office “making a splash.” It’s time for real substance.

    • You say youre tired of the front office making a splash? Wow, if you consider Romeo Crennel and Eric Mangini a “splash” maybe you should reevaluate your football knowledge as well. Noone even knew Crennel wanted to be a head coach and noone in the NFL even wanted to contact Mangini in regards to being a head coach and Lerner hired him immediately. I think it is time for a “splash”

      • what’s your definition of “splash?” because for me a “splash” sounds like all sizzle and no steak. i think that’s what @Ammo is saying. I think we all want “The Right Man for the Job”, we’re just not sure how to get there.
        Ask Redskin fans how things go when you hire a “proven commodity.” Now I’m not saying Shanahan is a failure in Washington… he might not be. The jury’s still out on him. I’m just saying that if we hire a proven guy, chances are he might not turn out either, and then once again all us Browns fans will be calling for his head.
        That’s why I trust that Holmgren (a guy who knows football, and knows how the system works) will pick The Right Man for the Job, and he won’t listen to the fans, he’ll hire the guy who gives us the best chance to win, regardless of the amount of HC experience he has.

  2. “However, after careful examination of the evidence, I’ve decided that Holmgren needs to pay no attention whatsoever to what the fan base thinks they want in their next leader.”

    This quote is the exact reason no one wants Aaron Goldhammer on our airwaves discussing Cleveland sports. Time to go away Mr. Goldhammer.

  3. Hammer, you forgot the best example of unproven coordinator dude out there: Mike Smith in Atlanta. No one knew who he was when he got the job.

  4. For once i am with Hammer on this one, and i will give you credit for being almost exactly right here Aaron. I as a Browns fan dont want just another Unproven Cooridinator Dude or even some one with some experience just because they have some possitive experience. I want the carosel ride to end and i want the Right Dude for the job. It doesnt matter if its Holmgrem himself, Grueden or Fox, or Rich Rods OC as long as he is the right guy for our team and i will trust Mike to do this. For two reasons 1 he knows what it takes to win in the NFL in a headcoach. He knows what a guy has to have to be the guy to lead a team. and Two he wants to win as much as we do, Mike is a winner hes a competitor and he doesnt settle for close losses.

    If Mike is in fact the guy he better appoint another person to be President of Football that knows a thing or two about football to take his palce and be his successor when hes done on the field for good. we need to have a team that wins and does well for more than 1 season at a time.

  5. the problem with the front office(s) in the past is that they have cared too much about appeasing the fans. back then, it too often came down to money (meaning, if we give the fans what they want now, they will buy more season tickets). this method is tried and untrue.

    NEWS FLASH: we fans are stupid (relatively speaking). making us happy in the short-term has led to long-term failure. my faith in holmgren is based on the fact that he will find the right man for the job, regardless of what we fans want at the moment.

  6. all we need to look at for the unproven part is Hammer himself….he has been here in Cleveland 3 yrs or so and still hasn’t proved himself to be listenable.Had to stop listening to the really big show because of him….then i tried it again but then Fedor is just as bad so i just stopped altogether…..Now normally i wouldnt mind taking a chance on someone unproven but i think this actually is a really important hire so i think we need someone proven whether its been a actual head coach or a OC/DC for a few yrs or more

  7. I cant believe I’m agreeing with you Hammer! You’ve hit the nail directly on the head – this is exactly what the Browns need. The “no name” works out 8/10 times. So why not go with somebody that most of the fans havent heard of. Especially when – NO ONE WANTS TO COME HERE! Gruden clearly stated he wasnt coming out of the booth – and Cowher made the death deal with Rooney that he would never coach the Browns, John Fox??? I dont think so. So let the new circus begin – stroll out the lions, tigers and bears oh my!

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