Cleveland Browns: With Mike Holmgren at the Helm, They Could Succeed

Chris MarkochContributor IIJanuary 28, 2011

BEREA, OH - MAY 01:  Team president Mike Holmgren of the Cleveland Browns looks on during rookie mini camp at the Cleveland Browns Training and Administrative Complex on May 1, 2010 in Berea, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The debate about the West Coast Offense, Pat Shurmur and the 4-3 defense misses the larger point of what Mike Holmgren is beginning to accomplish with the Cleveland Browns.

To understand that, you had to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers systematically dismantle the New York Jets, then hold on to go to the Super Bowl, or how they went 3-1 to open the season without Big Ben.

What is it about this team that makes it so different from the Cleveland Browns, and why do I feel like the gap is not as wide as it was?

After all, the Steelers were a team that many predicted wouldn’t make the playoffs, yet here they are, competing for a seventh Super Bowl title.

You hear the word consistency thrown around a lot when discussing the Black and Gold.

But what does that mean?

It means that the Steelers run their organization to win.

In the Super Bowl Era, the Steelers have made 24 playoff appearances, played in 15 AFC Championship Games and are now trying for their seventh Super Bowl in eight appearances.

Year after year, they’re competing for the prize. That’s the kind of consistency we want in Cleveland.

However, even before Art Modell moved the team in 1995, the Browns frustrated their fans with inconsistency. They either tried to hit the home run, or they would take a scorched-earth rebuilding approach. Much of the blame lies with Modell then, and current owner Randy Lerner now.

But somewhere on the way to a 1-11 start last year, Lerner seemingly found religion.

He reached out and convinced Mike Holmgren to become the Browns' President.

Holmgren then reached out and hired Tom Heckert.

Combined, Holmgren and Heckert have 36 years of experience, 25 playoff appearances, nine Conference Championship Game appearances, four Super Bowl appearances and one championship.

Both men have been raised in a culture where winning was expected. They understand that to get to the Super Bowl you have to winconsistently.

So when Mike Holmgren announced the firing of Eric Mangini by saying, “we didn’t win enough games,” it was music to my ears.

One look at the Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs or even the Chicago Bears and you can say that there are times you can compete for the prize even when you’re not supposed to.

Mike Holmgren, like the Pittsburgh Steelers, understands that you have to be in it to win it.

Cleveland Browns fans can only hope that history will repeat itself.