When Jimmy Haslam bought the Browns, everyone assumed he’d take a patient, long-term view toward rebuilding a franchise that has made it to the playoffs once since returning to the NFL in 1999.
Everyone assumed wrong.
Jimmy’s impatient, despite his tenure as a significant minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the NFL’s model of stability. But while the Steelers have had three coaches since 1969, Haslam has had three coaches since he bought the team.
Jimmy now has a new G.M., and he presumably will hire a new CEO.
If there’s a new CEO, the new CEO may want a new G.M. Already, the new G.M. may be thinking about hiring his own head coach (unless Ray Farmer had a direct hand in hiring new coach Mike Pettine).
Meanwhile, the legal entanglement arising from Haslam’s family-owned truck stop business works its way higher up the corporate ladder. At the Super Bowl, speculation swirled that Haslam could be indicted this month.
Fearing the possibility that he’ll eventually be unable to attend the team’s games due to a door that doesn’t swing but slides, it’s possible Haslam has opted to clean house now in the hopes that a new regime will instantly make the right moves with $40 million in cap space, 10 draft picks, and a pair of first-round selections.
Despite the specific catalyst for the current change, Haslam has become something far different than what anyone thought he would be. Regardless of whether the moves put the Browns on the right track, the decision to part ways with Michael Lombardi and Joe Banner currently puts the Browns at the top of the short list of completely dysfunctional NFL franchises.