Shurmur, 9-22 over two seasons, will coach his last game with the Browns today versus Haslam’s old team the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Pittsburgh versus Cleveland rivalry was one of the fiercest in the NFL for many years.
The Steelers have won eight AFC Conference Championships and six Super Bowl titles. They are normally in the playoff hunt.
Pittsburgh has had three head coaches over the past 42 years.
In 1996 Art Modell pulled one of the most successful NFL franchises ever out of Cleveland for the more lucrative Baltimore area. Since moving, the Ravens have made the playoffs nine times and have a Super Bowl win.
The Browns returned to the NFL in 1999. They have zero division titles, one playoff appearance and zero Super Bowls.
They will be welcoming their sixth head coach in 13 years.
Even the hiring of football guru Mike Holmgren as president of the team in 2009 couldn’t change the fortunes of the Browns. He was let go by Haslam in November.
The Browns will enter the last game of 2012 at Heinz Field with a 5-10 record. They will also be without rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden and star rookie running back Trent Richardson.
The facts are that Shurmur was inexperienced as a head coach when Holmgren brought him to Cleveland and he inherited a very poor team. He tried to muddle through the 2011 season after the lockout prevented his coaching staff from working with the players. He started the 2012 season with a rookie quarterback and a very young defense.
The Browns started the season 0-5 but were competitive in those games. They have been able to go 5-5 over their last ten games. The improvement was not enough to save Shurmur’s job.
Another Browns head coach that did not have a very good record in Cleveland and was the coach during the final Art Modell season in 1995 was Bill Belichick. Since he fell into the right situation he has been relatively successful in New England.
Can Shurmur be a repeat of Belichick? Time will tell. The Browns under Shurmur have definitely improved over the last ten games.
New owner Jimmy Haslam feels he needs to put his stamp on the Cleveland Browns. He may be right.
In the NFL players get the credit when a team wins and head coaches get take the heat when teams lose.
Truth is, the owners make up a big part of how a team performs. Just look at the successful teams in the NFL and how their ownership and coaches react.
Can Jimmy Haslam bring a winning attitude to the Cleveland Browns?