Cleveland Browns Next Head Coach: Home Run or Solution

ead Coach Pat Shurmur and Mike Holmgren by Erik Daniel Drost, on Flickr Two questions: do you envision the return of Pat Shurmur to the Cleveland Browns next season and who is the next coach of the Cleveland Browns?

At this point in this season, many believe the Browns are just playing the season out and the general feeling is that Pat Shurmur will not return next season to coach the Browns.

Since this incarnation of the Cleveland Browns have never had to hire a new coach, we should talk about what the Browns should look for in their next coach.

In my real job I hire and fire people on daily basis, and the one question I ask myself before I make any move is “Who do we get and how much is it going to cost?” In any other situation I would apply the same logic to the next head coach of the Cleveland Browns, but in this situation that will not work at all.

The appropriate question is “Home run or solution?” On its face, you would think that would be an easy question, but history shows us that it is not.

What is the difference? Well that is an easy answer, home run hires are ones that excite the fan base and immediately make fans want to buy tickets, but do not necessarily achieve the goal of winning games.

On the other side of the coin are solution hires, or those that solve the problem that the home run hire creates. Solution hires often stay in their jobs for a lengthy amount of time and produce quantifiable results. In the Browns case, this would be consistent win totals and playoff appearances.

On More Than a Fan, I focus most of my efforts on college football, and currently there are about 13 Division I-A (FBS) job openings, none with a higher profile than the job at Tennessee. Tennessee faces the same question that Browns management will face in hiring its next coach: home run or solution.

For both Browns and Tennessee fans a common name is Jon Gruden. Gruden obviously has ties to Tennessee, where his wife was a cheerleader and he was a graduate assistant. Gruden's Cleveland ties are his birth in nearby Sandusky and attending college at Muskingum and Dayton. He also, allegedly, grew up as a Browns fan.

The question for both fanbases is do you think Jon Gruden is a home run hire or the solution to your coaching problems? Yes, Jon Gruden has a Super Bowl ring, but some consider it illegitimate because he was playing with Tony Dungy’s players. That argument is ridiculous.

Browns fans have been tortured on Sundays since 1999, and new owner Jimmy Haslam now has the chance to right the ship with a solution hire, but Browns fans may have to resign themselves to the fact that best coach may not always be the most exciting coach.

Set reasonable goals for the teams and maintain those goals throughout the season. Winning in week one does not mean you should look for Super Bowl tickets. If the coach is the solution you will know when to make those plans, but even if the Browns only make it to the playoffs for five or six years, is that such a bad thing?

I am guessing as a Browns fan you would be willing to trade places with Colts fans who made only made the playoffs eleven times since 1999 and only have one Super Bowl title to show for it?

As easy as it is to get excited about big name coaches coming to Cleveland, look at the picture above and tell me if the big name coach on the right worked out for the team or if he was a bust. Then ask yourself if you want your next coach to be a home run or a solution.

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