Sizing Up the Next Failed Head Coach in Cleveland

Cleveland Browns head coach Eric Mangini was fired today after going 5-11 for the second straight year, though he swears this 5-11 was way more impressive than the last 5-11 season. It was the 5-11 you can really build on, you know? The kind that can lead you to a really mind-blowing 5-11 season the third time out.

If there’s any consolation to Cleveland fans as they cycle through yet another failed coaching hire, it’s that they can at least take comfort in the fact that they KNEW Mangini was going to be a failure. There were no delusions of actual winning, the way there were when Butch Davis and Romeo Crennel were hired. Oh, man. To think, people once had high expectations of Butch Davis and Romeo Crennel. It gives you shivers.

Mangini is now the fifth head coach to run the Browns since their resurrection in 1999, and his era represents yet another sad chapter of this franchise trying to get back to its glory days, which weren’t that glorious to begin with. Isn’t there someone in the universe who can help the Browns not be consistently putrid? They’ve tried practically everyone at this point, and now ESPN has a short list of prospective candidates that’s about as appetizing as chipped beef tray at the Golden Corral after a power outage. Among the names:

Mike Holmgren: Well, duh. But after flaming out in Seattle, I don’t think anyone in Cleveland is harboring high hopes that Holmgren will come down from the box and put on a headset. With the likes of Sean Payton and Mike Tomlin winning Super Bowls, Holmgren feels very much like the product of a bygone era at this point.

John Fox: Oh, you mean the guy who just mailed in an entire season in Carolina? That guy? AWESOME. If the Browns are good at anything, it’s finding the most uninspiring, freshly fired coach to grab and hand over $5 million to.

Marty Mornhinweg: No, really. They weren’t even being ironic when they tossed his name in there. Now Marty has done some good ever since his reign of terror in Detroit. He’s responsible for Mike Vick’s recent transformation, after all. Still. It’s Marty Mornhinweg. If he brings his motorcycle with him, fans may burn down the stadium.

Jon Gruden: At this point, Jon Gruden has been mentioned for so many jobs that it feels like he’s being passed around like a snack no one wants. Gruden is supposedly being selective about his job prospects, but I wonder if that’s a lie. I wonder if anyone really wants him at this point.

Jerry Jones, of all people, made the salient point a week ago that no NFL head coach has ever won Super Bowls with two different teams. You’re always better off trying to find the NEXT Mike Holmgren instead of the actual Mike Holmgren. So let’s hope the Browns get a little bit more creative in their coaching search. Otherwise, it’s another wasted three or so years for a franchise that seems doomed to keep repeating its mistakes.

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