It’s all about how you finish.
Last year, Eric Mangini’s Browns won their final four games to go 5-11. He was retained. This year, he lost his final four games to go 5-11. The Browns officially fired him Monday.
“This decision was not easy for me, and it was one into which I put a great deal of thought,” said Browns President Mike Holmgren. “Although we have made improvements this season, my responsibility is to ensure that we establish a program that will allow this team to compete at a championship level.”
Holmgren thanked Mangini for his work. We’d argue that Mangini may have had his best season as a head coach, as the Browns were better than their record indicated and maxed out their talent. They were certainly improved over 2009.
“The experience coaching the Cleveland Browns the past two years has been tremendous,” Mangini said. “I appreciate the opportunity that the Lerner family gave me. I have a deep respect for the players that I have coached the past two years and how they have made a profound difference in changing the culture – a tougher, smarter, more competitive, selfless team that never gave up.
“Our goal was to build a team for long term success. The core characteristics we were dedicated to, I believe, will help achieve that goal, and have provided a strong identity for this football team and have helped to create a positive foundation upon which the organization can continue to build.”
These press release quotes are usually empty, but a lot of what Mangini said is true. We think the next coach will benefit from some of the improvements Mangini made.
Let the speculation begin about who that next coach will be.