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Sunday, January 5, 2014
Week 17: Steelers 20 Browns FIRE COACH
In the midst of the second quarter of the worst-played game the Browns had this season, Twitter lit up with stories from national sources that they would be firing their Head Coach, Rob Chudzinski, after the game. Needless to say the game became the backstory which, considering how poorly they played, may have been a good thing. We lost. Score doesn’t matter. Season ended.
As for the firing, I won’t begin to tell you that I understand the reasons we were given by Jimmy Haslam III and Joe Banner. In fact, I don’t really believe them, let alone understand, how you decide after 16 games that, with the tools he was given, Chud wasn’t the right Head Coach for us. However, the reasons and my beliefs are irrelevant. If the men running this team want skeptical fans to believe in them, trust that they know what they are doing, then they better already have the next coach wrapped up and ready to go. You simply DON’T fire someone without a better alternative.
What bothers me the most about the firing is the way it was handled. Someone leaked the fact that Haslam, Banner, and GM Mike Lombardi were discussing Chud’s termination on Saturday. The tweets started coming on Sunday as we kicked off versus division rival Pittsburgh Steelers. While a 4-12 team versus a 5-11 team isn’t a big deal, this game MATTERED on a number of levels, and should have been the focus of the team and the fans. We had a chance to guarantee the Steelers were out of the playoffs. We had a chance to beat each of our division opponents once this season – which has never happened in the history of the AFC North (2002). And we had a chance to get rid of the bad taste losing leaves in the fans’ mouths, so that at least the offseason wouldn’t look so bleak.
Instead, national sports writers are tweeting about our coach getting fired and management completely blind-siding all of Cleveland, including our local media. This makes me wonder WHO leaked this story and WHY they would do such a thing. I understood the power of being the person to break a story 20 years ago when we all bought newspapers to get our daily sports news. Now? Who cares? In this age of instant information, if I hear something at 12:45 or 12:51, does it really matter?
WR Josh Gordon Photo by Cleveland Browns
Sadly, someone was CLASSLESS enough to think it would be nice to give a buddy the story in time for the last game and, in the process, embarrass the team, the fans, and even the local media who, day in and day out, spend time with the team and NO ONE had even a WHIFF that there was discontent with Chud. So, instead of going into the offseason with the hope of building for the future, learning from this season to sort through the players and plan for a deep draft in which we have 10 picks in the early rounds, we became, yet again, the joke of the NFL.
Bottom Line? Whoever leaked the story should be ASHAMED. Grownups don’t do things like this, trade favors at the cost of people’s feelings and dignity. Grownups are respectful of others. Spoiled children who are more interested in “ME” than “WE” are the ones who do this kind of thing. And as fans we have to deal with the fact that whoever this person is, s/he is involved in running my football team. And it’s that person’s judgment that I truly question. OY.
There were bright spots this season and, though we face yet another off-season of turmoil and uncertainty, we need to remember the things that give us hope for next year…