After the Cleveland Browns officially announced that Kevin Stefanski would be the team’s next head coach, a report surfaced that alleged the former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator would have agreed to a number of specific stipulations pertaining to his answering directly to both the owner, Jimmy Haslam, and the team’s analytics department.
With Stefanski being officially introduced to the media yesterday, he, Haslam, and CSO Paul DePodesta each shot down the key part of that report, which was the claim that he was required to agree to submit his gameplan to both Haslam and to the analytics department on a weekly basis on Fridays.
“It’s not true”, Stefanski said flat out when asked about it, but allowed, “I like that report. That was a good one. It’s silly season for that type of stuff. I understand that. But, to me, analytics, it’s a tool, it’s a tool that helps”.
Haslam’s rebuke in relation to that report was much stronger. “Rumors out there about presenting the game plan and those kind are just totally inaccurate and I really think they’re irresponsible”, he told reporters yesterday.
Of course, it can’t actually be verified one way or another who is telling the truth, or more to the point, who has the accurate information. Is it possible that there is some sort of stipulation in his contract pertaining to analytics and gameplanning? It wouldn’t be shocking. There could be something, and the report was misinterpreted.
While that was by far the most outlandish claim, other items in the report were more or less confirmed, though tempered. It was also reported that he would be expected to meet with Haslam on the day after games. This is fairly common practice, however.
“If you owned a pro football team, would you meet with the head coach the Monday after the game?”, Haslam asked reporters. “Of course you would. Of course we would”. He went on to say that meetings typically only last a half an hour to an hour and don’t differ greatly from the coach’s press conferences with reporters in the sorts of questions he’s expected to field.
Another item in the reported noted that there would be an analytics personnel with a headset on gameday. This was confirmed as well. But, again, this is not out of the ordinary. The Pittsburgh Steelers had this last season with the addition of Teryl Austin.
So the one eyebrow-raising item in the report was shot down by all involved in the Browns organization, while the mundane items were verified. Provided that they are telling the truth, it was all much ado about nothing. Much like their 2019 season.