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Cleveland ’95 special more about Belichick than the Browns

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In  2011, NFL Films launched its remarkable A Football Life series with a two-part study of Patriots coach Bill Belichick.  The next episode, which focuses on the ’95 Browns, should more accurately be regarded as a Belichick prequel.

The study of the 1995 Cleveland Browns, which debuts Wednesday night at 8:00 p.m. ET on NFL Network, spends more time focusing on the legacy of the coach than the fate of the franchise.  Yes, there’s plenty about the final days in Cleveland of the team that became the Ravens.  But there’s more about the manner in which Belichick influenced a generation of men who reached tremendous heights (admittedly with varying degrees of success) elsewhere.

Dubbed “the slappies,” guys like Eric Mangini, Phil Savage, Jim Schwartz, Kirk Ferentz, Scott Pioli, and Thomas Dimitroff, went from low-level jobs in Cleveland to high-end jobs elsewhere.  (Actually, Savage’s high-end job came back in Cleveland, as G.M. of the reconstituted Browns.)

Praised by everyone in modern-day interviews for his role in teaching and shaping football minds, the show features great footage from the early 1990s of Belichick (at times in a Cliff Huxtable sweater), showing the same intensity and drive that carried him to three Super Bowl championships and perennial contention.

It’s hard not to wonder what would have happened if the Browns hadn’t left Cleveland, especially with Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis arriving the next season via round one of the draft.  And that will continue to haunt Browns fans until they secure a championship of their own.

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52 Responses to “Cleveland ’95 special more about Belichick than the Browns”
  1. bobhk says: Oct 2, 2012 8:35 PM

    Aren’t most Belichick proteges failures in the NFL. Mangini, Weiss, Schwartz (hasn’t shown anything as a head coach), Pioli, McDaniels. I hear Dimitroff is doing well.
    So called Belichick tree is a not a successful one. Take Walsh’s instead.

  2. ampats says: Oct 2, 2012 8:38 PM

    And all of New England thanks Art Modell for the best Head Coach in the NFL !

  3. sarahlerange says: Oct 2, 2012 8:51 PM

    Belichick’s tree:
    6 became NFL head coach
    6 became College head coach
    11 became execs or coordinators

  4. yelix says: Oct 2, 2012 8:52 PM

    Marty Schottenheimer’s coaching tree is way more impressive than Belichick’s, at least at the NFL level. Cowher, Dungy, and McCarthy, just to name a few.

  5. dylanssongwriter says: Oct 2, 2012 8:59 PM

    we get it nfl network you love u some patriots. the brady six, a football life of BB, and now this……

  6. brianjoates says: Oct 2, 2012 9:00 PM

    Cleveland was playing football 3 seasons later in a brand new stadium. Baltimore, LA, Saint Louis, Houston those are fan bases that got screwed by the NFL and its owners.

  7. denverwally says: Oct 2, 2012 9:01 PM

    … and Nick Saban (2 college championships), Kirk Ferentz, very successful college coach at Iowa, Pat Hill, successful college coach…
    That tree was pretty solid after all.

  8. koenig61 says: Oct 2, 2012 9:02 PM

    So the NFL finally decides to do a special about the browns, and their history, and its got to be about belichick?? Jim brown, Ozzie new some, and we have to have a belichick part 2??? I bet when they do a special about the cowboys, they will some how work belichick in that one too. But it shouldn’t be such a surprise. I’ve hear belichick has a way with film and manipulating it. Wish Goodell would burn the tape of a football life bill belichick.

  9. ohenry78 says: Oct 2, 2012 9:05 PM

    Wow. Bill was actually quite good looking in his younger years.

  10. lostone49 says: Oct 2, 2012 9:09 PM

    If you want to go back in time for coaching trees, Tom Landry had the best. Ditka, Reeves, and Berry at the NFL level. While Stallings and Mackovic were pretty good in the college ranks.

  11. blacknole08 says: Oct 2, 2012 9:20 PM

    That pic of Belicheck belongs on Brawny Paper towels.

  12. silvestregonzalez74 says: Oct 2, 2012 9:25 PM

    f@#k bill belichick and the pats!!!!! 47 RAIDERS

  13. bigzant82 says: Oct 2, 2012 9:29 PM

    cant wait to see this cool

  14. bleedblue18 says: Oct 2, 2012 9:41 PM

    Actually 31 current NFL coaches can be traced back in coaching trees to three main coaches. Bill Walsh, Marty Schottenhiemer and Bill Parcells. Even Belicheck was a protege of Parcells, Tom Coughlin and Sean Payton were also a coachs under Parcells. Sorry but nobody even comes close to having a coaching tree as big as Bill Walsh, over 30 past and present NFL coaches can be linked to Walsh.

  15. theandy59 says: Oct 2, 2012 9:42 PM

    You may be tired of it dylanssong but the fact is that the Patriots have made the AFC Championship Game 6 of the last 11 years, and the Super Bowl 5 of the last 11. They’ve submitted the greatest regular season in NFL history. They’ve had 3 other 14 win seasons, and have averaged over 12 wins per season for 11 years. They have been the NFL’s gold standard over the last decade, consistently competing for championships. So yeah, the league’ network is probably gonna do a lot of features on them. What would you rather see, more Jaguar’s coverage?

  16. anrockray says: Oct 2, 2012 9:45 PM

    BB owes his entire legacy to Tom Brady.

  17. ravenator says: Oct 2, 2012 9:54 PM

    They still would not of won, Browns are perennial losers.

  18. jetssouth says: Oct 2, 2012 9:56 PM

    I can’t wait! to see Rex Ryan’s tree, it will be full of future Super Bowl Champions.

  19. norcalmafia says: Oct 2, 2012 10:04 PM

    While there have been great coaching trees I dont think anyone can argue Bill Walsh had the greatest influence..He created a style of football still played today and look up his coaching tree and how many great coaches came from that 80-90 49ers staffs.

  20. thesportsguy52 says: Oct 2, 2012 10:05 PM

    Good, because that’s the only true story here. I’ll explain:

    See, Cleveland and the national/local media that “darling” the Browns for SOME reason always always, ALWAYS emphasize how tragic and wrong it was that Cleveland lost a team.
    -The owner got blame for moving, yet the city wanted museums and a music hall of fame instead.
    -The browns were gone for THREE years. The Baltimore football team was gone for TWELVE
    -They still haven’t proven to draw fan support OR build a winning team since ’99

    If everyone and their mom is going to make a huge deal about Cleveland Ohio getting a 3-year vacation for their football team and make an hour long special, then fine-hype it up as if its really detrimental.

    But having gone 12 years without football and still getting no media attention certainly deserve a 3-hour special for the city of Baltimore. Newsflash-Teams move. All the time. Stop acting like waiting four times a long for a team isn’t harder.

  21. yankeefootball says: Oct 2, 2012 10:07 PM

    For coaching trees, look no further than Paul Brown. At one point in the late 70’s, every coach in the league either played for or coached under him. Landry, Shula and Noll were all players with the Browns under Paul Brown and the list goes on.

  22. Little Earthquake says: Oct 2, 2012 10:10 PM

    I can’t believe how young he looks in that photo.

  23. true9erfan66 says: Oct 2, 2012 10:10 PM

    Your all wrong bill Walsh best tree ever. Seifert 2 super bowls,holmgren 1 super bowl another appearance Andy Reid, Jon gruden yes gruden started with Walsh Dennis green pretty good coach there are so many more good ones just look up his tree. Plus the fact that 90% of teams still run the WCO in most ways.

  24. tedmurph says: Oct 2, 2012 10:41 PM

    Love him or hate him, BBelichick is one of the most interesting people in the NFL. Same with Parcells, back in the day. Must see TV.

  25. csilojohnson says: Oct 2, 2012 10:41 PM

    This is a joke. I’m sure they never mentioned he is a cheat in any of his specials. Look at his record without Brady. Garbage. His tree is littered with failure. The NFL does a great job of sweeping stuff under the rug, and turning the other cheek.

  26. tedmurph says: Oct 2, 2012 10:43 PM

    @thesportsguy52:

    Cut down on the caffeine/what’s your point?

  27. budweisergoddammit says: Oct 2, 2012 10:47 PM

    And from whose tree did Bill Walsh come from?

    Paul Brown.

  28. tdrundmc says: Oct 2, 2012 10:52 PM

    ohenry78 says:
    Oct 2, 2012 9:05 PM
    Wow. Bill was actually quite good looking in his younger years.

    KaaaaaaWEER

  29. stoolerz says: Oct 2, 2012 11:01 PM

    Sportsguy-Baltimore lost the Colts because when times got tough, the fair weather fans stopped showing up. Cleveland lost the Browns while still selling out the Municiple Stadium +78,000 because its owner was a poor business man. Oh, and by the way, when the owners discussed a new team for Baltimore, Good old Art voted against it.

  30. birdmanbrownies says: Oct 2, 2012 11:09 PM

    Should probably reword championships to superbowl title…we browns fans pride ourselves on all of those championships…bout the only thing that justifies the insanity.

  31. spunjmunke says: Oct 2, 2012 11:13 PM

    @sportsguy – What the hell are you talking about?

    For one, Cleveland is the media punchline. Sure, they find the fact that the Browns moved to be a slap in the face to the fans of Cleveland. They felt the same way when the Colts were moved out of Baltimore. Baltimore fans got shafted just as much as Cleveland fans did.

    Second, the owner SHOULD get the blame for moving the team. It’s documented that the city offered him a new stadium before hand, but he turned it down. He was the one who couldn’t afford the team, and moved due to a back room financial deal. So yes, Art should take the blame for that. So what if the city got the Rock and Roll HOF? It wasn’t a matter of choosing one over the other. Art made the choice not to accept the city’s offer of a new stadium. And what happened after he blew through the money he made from moving the team? He sold it. Exactly what he should have done in the first place.

    Third, the fact that Baltimore was team-less for 12 years is not Cleveland’s fault. You have a problem with that, take it up with the NFL commissioner.

    Finally, yes, the Browns haven’t been able to build a competitive team in 12 years, but the fan base is still some of the most supportive and loyal that you’ll find around. (which also makes them\me naive and insane)

  32. ballboy48 says: Oct 2, 2012 11:20 PM

    Some people need to shut their mouths, I.e. ravenator and thesportsguy52, before they talk! Cleveland has more fan support for their team, than any Baltimore franchise will ever have! Guarantee that as soon as the Ravens start losing, half of the stadium sits empty.

    Cleveland officials gave Modell the opportunity to build a new stadium, along with the Gateway Project, he refused! He was leasing the Old Municipal Stadium for $1 a year, and still was broke! He left because he was broke, not because the city wouldn’t work with him. Guess what, three years after he moved to Baltimore, miraculously he was broke again. The NFL stepped in, and made him sell the Ravens! Some of you Ravens fans just sound like idiots, because you open your mouth, or your beer muscles before you talk!

  33. truetrue85 says: Oct 2, 2012 11:29 PM

    Well they’ve gotta talk about something interesting to get ratings don’t they?

  34. tomtravis76 says: Oct 2, 2012 11:31 PM

    I guess you would have to say Jim Howell has a pretty impressive tree with its branches starting with Tom Landry as D Cord and Vince Lombardi as O Cord.

    And this Browns moving is so overblown after this much time. The city got a new team almost right away(missed 3 seasons), while keeping its football team history. Plus a new state of the art stadium for the late 90’s. The Modell move is treated like it was the only team in the history of sports to ever move from one city to another. The Clevland fan base surely has passionate fans, but so does every city that has a pro sports team.

  35. svn2011 says: Oct 2, 2012 11:54 PM

    The so called west coast offense and Bill Walsh tree ironically has its root in cleveland. Bill Walsh worked under paul brown and brought the system and tree and all that with him to the west coast.

  36. thestewman3 says: Oct 3, 2012 12:04 AM

    If he stayed in Cleveland he wouldn’t have Brady.
    Brady = Superbowls

    If you have an elite QB you are consider a genius.

  37. reedhof20 says: Oct 3, 2012 12:44 AM

    @ravenator and sportsguy52
    x2
    @ballboy48 and the other nameless haters…
    Here’s the thing, we won’t lose for any considerable amount of time. We may have a losing season here and there, maybe even 2, but NOTHING like your inept city has fielded for the last 40+ years, old OR new Browns. Lets see, 12 years – 3 years; no colors, no records – colors AND records. Bottom line, the fans in Baltimore did NOTHING to you, just like the fans in Indy did nothing to us. Your Browns were doing nothing but lose with Ozzie, Belichik, Ernest Byner, etc. etc. etc.
    Art came to Baltimore and SOMETHING changed. Was it because of the 1st round picks? Ray and J.O? (By the way, its mostly Brown fans that STILL bring up the murder) But if Art would have stayed and Ray was a Brown and had brought you a Bowl, still the comments? Don’t think so… hypocrites..through and through…get over it…fact is you’ve had plenty of time to build a winner and all you do every year is suck up top draft picks and good players and LOSE. Have a nice night.

  38. seanpbeck says: Oct 3, 2012 12:58 AM

    Bill Walsh’s tree is absolutely amazing, but if you back up a little you realize it’s actually just the most impressive branch of the Paul Brown tree.

  39. patsfiend says: Oct 3, 2012 12:59 AM

    Wow, the last 13 years have been tough on old Billy B. He’s the best.

  40. thedudesnotin says: Oct 3, 2012 1:00 AM

    thesportsguy52 says: Oct 2, 2012 10:05 PM

    Good, because that’s the only true story here. I’ll explain:

    But having gone 12 years without football and still getting no media attention certainly deserve a 3-hour special for the city of Baltimore. Newsflash-Teams move. All the time. Stop acting like waiting four times a long for a team isn’t harder.

    —————————————————-

    Last time I checked, you went 10 years without football in Baltimore. Didn’t the Stallions win the Grey Cup the year before the move of the Browns?

    Try not letting the facts get in the way of a good discussion though.

  41. reedhof20 says: Oct 3, 2012 1:02 AM

    Seriously,
    I haven’t heard many (if any) Baltimore fans clog up websites claiming the Colts’ championship in 2006 should have been ours. We hate the Colts and get angry when we play them, and there are some oldtimers around B-more that still wax nostalgically, but c’mon. Sometimes I wish the Browns would just get lucky 1 year and win the Super Bowl so they’d shut up. But then again, they’s probably be like Red Sox fans. Oh well, we probably won’t have to worry about them winning anytime soon

  42. Where's Bud Grant when you need him? says: Oct 3, 2012 1:27 AM

    Walsh gets a lot of credit for the WCO but it wasn’t his invention. Years before other teams ran a controlled passing game. Teams like the Vikings with Tarkenton to chuck foreman and Ricky young and even Ted brown were tossing shirt passes like roger Craig liked to catch for the 49’ers long before Walsh was around. Don’t believe me… Do some research instead of being sheep and accepting the creation of the so called WCO.

  43. rcotner says: Oct 3, 2012 5:01 AM

    Coach is only as good as his QB – Parcells, Walsh, Landry, Billichick- name ‘em.

    My heart goes out to Cleveland though. Working class city that has been cursed – seemingly in all sports – for evvveeerrrr.

  44. kingpel says: Oct 3, 2012 6:19 AM

    Most of these bandwagon Patriot fans have no clue about Belichick’s past. Boston really has a joke of a fanbase. I am happy NY keeps shaming them.

  45. ytsejamer1 says: Oct 3, 2012 9:37 AM

    csilojohnson says: Oct 2, 2012 10:41 PM

    This is a joke. I’m sure they never mentioned he is a cheat in any of his specials. Look at his record without Brady. Garbage. His tree is littered with failure. The NFL does a great job of sweeping stuff under the rug, and turning the other cheek.
    ———————-

    If you look beyond the past 12 years of football (you know, in which BB has been the absolute best of the best in every way possible), the years prior to that are a LOT more successful than not.

    There’s a reason his defensive game plan is sitting in a glass case in Canton. There’s a reason Parcells has the championships he has. There’s a reason Parcells has the reputation he has….BB had a direct hand in the success they all enjoyed. And as the Cleveland ’95 special will no doubt point out…there’s a reason that Cleveland was primed for what they became in Baltimore after the team was moved.

  46. efs3637 says: Oct 3, 2012 10:49 AM

    Bill Walsh is actually from the tree of Paul Brown when he was in Cincinnati. Paul Brown while in Cleveland started face masks, he innovated the extension playbooks, pre draft intellgent tests, option routes, the radio communications in the helmets among many other things. It has been documented that the West Coast offense began with Paul Brown also.

  47. efs3637 says: Oct 3, 2012 10:52 AM

    Raven fans who bash the Browns should be ashamed of themselves. You lost a team by way of Mayflower moving trucks then accepted our team with open arms. Model tried to steal the Browns colors and name of Browns which was named after Paul Brown, but the city of Cleveland faught to keep the name and colors. That team, run by Browns Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome with many other former Browns front office people, is the real Browns.

  48. CKL says: Oct 3, 2012 10:55 AM

    bleedblue18 says:
    Oct 2, 2012 9:41 PM
    Actually 31 current NFL coaches can be traced back in coaching trees to three main coaches. Bill Walsh, Marty Schottenhiemer and Bill Parcells. Even Belicheck was a protege of Parcells, Tom Coughlin and Sean Payton were also a coachs under Parcells. Sorry but nobody even comes close to having a coaching tree as big as Bill Walsh, over 30 past and present NFL coaches can be linked to Walsh.
    _________________________________
    BB preceded BP with the NYG. BB was brought in by Ray Perkins. BB is actually from the Marchibroda tree circa 1975. Payton is from the Fassel tree (if there is such a thing).
    Schotty’s tree is underrated though. Not a lot of SB winners but some solid coaches.

  49. jkcranshaw says: Oct 3, 2012 11:01 AM

    @Kingpel: We don’t know about Bill’s past?
    How about this? He built probably the single best defensive game plan in the history of the SuperBowl and had a hand in 2 Giants Championships.
    He led a terrible Cleveland Browns team to a playoff victory in 1994.
    Had a major role in turning the Jets around under Bill P.
    Then there is the Pats.

  50. scalfor3 says: Oct 3, 2012 11:13 AM

    It really is an interesting game of “what if?” with those Browns. They were coming off a playoff appearance in 94, had all the aforementioned talent in the coaching staff/front office, and got submarined by Moddell.

    And to those claiming Belichick would be nothing without Brady: Belichick was the one who made the controversial decision to keep starting Brady over Bledsoe when Bledsoe was cleared to play. Belichick also played a key role in Brady’s development, as Brady was the perfect example of a game manager when he first became a starter (He only threw 18 TDs that season). Brady got better and better, to the point that he became the HOF level guy who could carry a team. I get why people don’t like Belichick, but refusing to admit he’s a good coach is beyond crazy.

  51. shlort says: Oct 3, 2012 5:02 PM

    I recall watching the National News when the Browns were hauling truckloads of whatever out of the Team HQ. There were fans picketting outside. There was one fan with a large sign that read “MUCK FODELL”. It still makes me chuckle a bit remembering back.

  52. yeeeeeep says: Oct 4, 2012 11:52 AM

    NFL owners want to make money as any business owner would…move a business to make more money…makes sense to me…just sayin

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