Wednesday, January 16, 2013

News and Views

News: Chip Kelly named head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles

Views: Welcome to the world of the National Football League, Jimmy Haslam III. You’ve been had.

When Kelly appeared to spurn the NFL and head back to his comfort zone at the University of Oregon after negotiating with three teams, including yours, you made a critical mistake.

You believed him.

When you walked away from your No. 1 choice – and don’t try to tell us Kelly wasn’t at the top of your coaching list– in Arizona, you mistakenly thought no one in the NFL would convince him to make the big jump.

Well, the Eagles persisted while you went looking elsewhere and now you’re left trying to explain just what happened. It’ll be interesting to see what spin you put on this one.

Could it be you’re just now finding out that Cleveland is not exactly the garden spot for the coaching fraternity? When you have to settle for your fourth and maybe fifth choice in Rob Chudzinski, what does that tell you?

You said you wanted your new head coach to be dynamic, exciting. Maybe those weren’t the exact words, but Kelly fit the mold you sought to replace the boring coach of your boring team.

It’s understandable you would be willing to reach out to the most innovative coaches on the college scene and bring him to Cleveland to awaken a fan base that has been in snooze mode for way too many seasons.

Kelly would have been the perfect choice. You and Joe Banner knew it and did everything you could, short of offering him a piece of the team, to make it happen. “Back up the Brinks truck” was one of the terms used in your negotiations with Kelly.

You wanted him that badly. And now you have to reconcile your feelings toward the Eagles and Kelly’s representatives.

One of your biggest mistakes was openly falling in love with the Oregon coach. You allowed emotion to win over common sense. You wore your heart on your sleeve. Wrong move.

If you really wanted Kelly, you would have banged on his door on a daily basis after he announced his intention to return to Oregon. You should have worn him down.  He’s not the coach of the Eagles today because Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman in Philadelphia backed off.

You appear to be the kind of dynamic person who always gets what he wants, no matter what it takes. Once you set your sights on a target, you become relentless. Where was that relentlessness? 

While it sounds as though I’m minimizing the Chudzinski appointment, it’s quite the opposite. The moderately optimistic approval of that choice has been documented.

It’s just that for someone so savvy in the business world, it’s mildly disappointing you allowed yourself to be outthought and outmaneuvered. The previous owner of the Browns fell into those categories.

Randy Lerner preferred to remain in the background and didn’t really care about this team. You appear to be his exact opposite.

The NFL is a cutthroat business. The sooner you realize that, the better.

Lesson learned? Hope so.

News: Cleveland Browns Stadium renamed FirstEnergy Stadium

Views: Too bad. There’s something about selling out that rubs me the wrong way. And yet, I understand why Haslam made the deal.

First of all, there is something distinctive about the Browns’ helmet. Haslam says the helmet won’t be touched.

But there is also something distinctive about playing in a stadium that is untouched by big business. It adds old-fashioned charm to an edifice. It adds to the human factor.

Cleveland Browns Stadium told you exactly where the Cleveland Browns played. FirstEnergy Stadium – FirstEnergy Field sounds better – makes one stop and think that, oh yeah, that’s where the Browns play.

Companies think their identifiers place their stamp, their brand in the minds of the public. To some maybe. To most, probably not.

To me, and hopefully many others, it will always be Cleveland Browns Stadium. It’s not like Jacobs Field or Gund Arena, which were original names of their respective venues.

They were nicknamed the Jake or the Gund. Wonder what nickname will be pinned on the latest name change? The fez?

News: Browns hint at future uniform changes

Views: C’mon now. Why mess around with the past? Why change the image of the team? Do Haslam and Banner really think changing the uniform will make a difference?

The Browns, with one notable exception, have had the cleanest looking uniforms in the NFL. Nothing fancy about them. Burnt Orange, Seal Brown and White with clean lines.

The only time the club stumbled with uniform change was in an exhibition game in the early 1980s. They wanted to see what orange numbers with brown and white piping on the back of brown jerseys looked like. In a word, terrible.

If you were sitting beyond the first row at the old Stadium, you couldn’t make out the numbers because they disappeared against the much darker background. The experiment lasted one game.

The jerseys were auctioned off as part of a charity shortly afterward. I own one that was worn by guard Joe DeLamielleure (#64), who now resides in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It’s a size 48. Not a perfect fit (I’m a size 40), but a treasure nonetheless.

I learned to tolerate the orange pants and brown jerseys of about 30 years ago and was glad when they disappeared. That’s because the only color pants the Browns should wear are the whites.

I can’t imagine what some creative fashion genius will do with a new look. Hopefully, it’s not something that will embarrass the franchise.

Haslam and Banner know about football. Their sense of fashion is about to be put to the test. Change for the sake of change should always be a road carefully traveled.


  1. Hey Rich - do you ever not Rant ? Why Rant about a guy that was not interested in the job? With the way he played us - I DON'T WANT HIM AND NO BROWNS FAN SHOULD, YOU IDIOT ! I can rant, too.

  2. Unknown,

    Some replies do not warrant the courtesy of a reply. Yours is one of them.

  3. Hi,
    The Browns make it official and name Lombardi at VP of personnel. What really amazes me is that, since the Lombardi rumors started, there hasn't been one veteran Browns writer who has anything good or nice to say about the man. Of course, Grossi has bashed him repeatedly, but his is by no means a lone voice and his is not the only voice that goes so far as to revile the guy.

    So far, Haslam has shown to be anything but an improvement over Lerner. He has a business man with virtually no personnel experience overseeing football operations and he has a failed personnel exec (JaMarcus Russell...) running personnel. Wow, what a letdown from last summer when the future seemed bright with an improving roster and a new owner who "seemed" to get it. Thanks.

    Paul from Seattle

  4. The Lombardi reaction piece is now up, Paul. Rhetorical question: When will it end? Hopefully, in our lifetime.