The Pittsburgh Steelers usually don’t have to wait very long before witnessing a major turnover in Cleveland, and typically, they have had a hand in causing it. As you’ve certainly heard by now, the last six times the Cleveland Browns have fired a head coach, it has come after a loss to the Steelers.
The sixth was Hue Jackson, who along with offensive coordinator Todd Haley got the axe on Monday after their group lost to the Steelers by a score of 33-18 and very rarely looked very good in doing it, even while getting out to a 6-0 lead and driving into field goal range in the first quarter.
Meanwhile, the Steelers have a head coach who is in his 12th season with the team, and while their two coordinators are relatively new, both have also been with the organization for at least that long. Randy Fichtner was a Mike Tomlin hire on his original staff, while Keith Butler was already the linebackers coach of the defense that he inherited under Dick LeBeau.
So when the Steelers look around and see what is happening in Cleveland, it’s hard for them to even relate, not having been in an environment that has proven to be so chaotic. Since Tomlin has been the head coach in Pittsburgh, the Browns are now moving on to their seventh.
Romeo Crennel was their head coach from 2005 through the 2008 season, the last coach they have had that has lasted even three full years. He was succeeded by a pair of two-year stints for Eric Mangini and then Pat Shurmer. Rob Chudzinski was given just one season before Mike Pettine was hired, serving two years. Pettine was the only coach since Crennel who won more than five games in a season. And then it was Jackson, who got two and a half seasons before being canned mid-stream.
“In general I’m blessed to be here and I’ll always (feel) blessed to be here”, defensive end Stephon Tuitt said yesterday when told about the firings in Cleveland and reflecting on his own situation in Pittsburgh. including Gregg Williams as interim, the Browns are on coach number three since Tuitt was drafted in 2014.
“I just feel like when you stick with someone for a while, eventually things will turn around and great things will happen”, he added. “You can’t come in and get rid of 53 players and think you’re going to be successful. It takes time to build a great organization”.
The Browns believe that they have the building blocks for that now with the current talent on the roster and Jon Dorsey as the general manager, now needing the right head coach to manage it all. But this is the same thing they have thought every other time they have made a change, so history is not on their side.
Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, the ownership has allowed the men they have entrusted to run to team to weather certain storms and they have continued to come through.