Hue Jackson was once a respected assistant coach and coordinator in the NFL. He became a laughingstock during and subsequent to his tenure as the head coach to the Cleveland Browns. Since being fired after two and a half seasons in which he won a total of 3.5 games, he has failed to take much—perhaps any—responsibility for the team’s failings, a team that has gotten dramatically better since he was shown the door.
Now two and a half years following his unceremonious exit, he is doing the media rounds again to promote a book that he has written, whose title he declines to reveal, which will be released later this week. And as you might guess, he continues to absolve himself of blame, throwing the organization—which admittedly has plenty of faults—under the bus.
“There’s no doubt I was lied to by ownership and leadership of the team”, he said during a radio interview with ESPN 850’s The Really Big Show. “They were going to be football plus analytics, but it was football vs. analytics”.
The Browns pretty consistently talked about being focused on analytics under CEO Paul DePodesta, best known for being the ‘Moneyball’ guy in baseball, who was hired a little over ra week before the team hired Jackson to be the head coach in 2016.
It took three head coaches, but Cleveland has finally found its head coach who embraces the organizational ideology in Kevin Stefanski, paired with general manager Andrew Berry, both of whom just completed their successful first seasons with the team in 2020, taking them to the playoffs and winning a game.
“I think I became the fall guy because that was the narrative”, Jackson said of the team’s failures under his watch, adding that “the truth needs to come out…for other minority coaches. They need to know the pitfalls out there. My story has affected some of their futures”.
I suppose we’ll have to wait until the book comes out, but this is the first time to my knowledge that Jackson has ever intimated at any level that there was a matter of race at play in what he sees as unfair treatment. Needless to say, I imagine I am among many who are approaching his claims with more than a bit of skepticism.
This man literally presided over the worst stretch of football in NFL history, posting a 1-31 record over a two-year stretch. Even the Detroit Lions won at least two games in the seasons bookmarking their own 0-16 season. After being fired following a 2-5-1 stretch in 2018, the Browns finished the rest of the year going 5-3.