Is this really so important?

By: Aaron Goldhammer

Since Browns’ coach Eric Mangini was fired last week, I’ve seen most ESPN Cleveland staffers refreshing their Twitter pages every five seconds eager for any news regarding Mike Holmgren’s interview progress. Have they contacted Gruden? How about Fox? Who the *bleep is Pat Shurmur?

Rams Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur Worked with Rookie Quarterback Sam Bradford Last Season

While checking my timeline last week, I came across an interesting note courtesy of Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio. It seems that every season half of the league’s 12 playoff qualifiers change. Teams like the Patriots, Colts, and Eagles are in virtually every year. Meanwhile, at least six of the spots are available for up-and-coming teams…ala the Browns in 2011?

Even casual NFL fans know that most perennial playoff teams are led by the top 10 percent of the coaches in the league. It’s not a coincidence that Mike Tomlin, Andy Reid, and Bill Belichick are playing in January almost every year.

However, after the top five or six coaches of our generation, the majority of teams in the league are have mediocrity on the sidelines. Do you really think there is a huge difference in coaching ability between say, Mike McCarthy and Tony Sparano? Aren’t Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews more integral to Green Bay’s success than McCarthy?

Sure, it’s fun to speculate about Gruden or Fox coming to Cleveland. Yes, it would be a disaster if the Browns chose one of the five or six worst coaches in the league. Want to know how a coach can totally derail a season? Just ask 49ers fans.

In reality, the Browns are likely to select someone who fits into the 20 or so mediocre coaches. At that point, the coach doesn’t matter nearly as much as the players. I believe the importance of this coaching hire is a bit overrated.

Your move, Mr. Heckert…

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1 Comment

  1. There is a lot of truth to what you say. However, you can have all the right players but if they are in the wrong system the team will still be bad. Installing an offense and defense that fits the talent on the team seems to make more sense than “this is what we’ll run because it is what I am used to doing.” We definitely need more talent though.


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