Schiano’s candidacy created “major rift” between Banner and Haslam


Officially, there’s no one moment that caused Browns owner Jimmy Haslam to lose faith in his former management team of CEO Joe Banner and G.M. Michael Lombardi.

Unofficially, Peter King may have identified the catalyst for sudden and unexpected and sweeping change.

King writes at that Banner had strong opposition to the possible hiring of fired Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano, while  owner Jimmy Haslam was intrigued.  Ohio State coach Urban Meyer had called to recommend Schiano.  Patriots coach Bill Belichick called.  Twice.

While that could have been the last straw, King points to other evidence, such as an awkward moment between Banner and Ken Whisenhunt, when Whisenhunt interviewed for the job a second straight year and wanted to know why he didn’t get the gig the prior year.  Banner reportedly didn’t think Whisenhunt had compiled a “championship coaching staff,” Whisenhunt openly questioned Banner’s ability to make that assessment, and a seed may have been planted for Haslam.

It seems that Haslam, who admits he’s learning on the fly, is too concerned about voices outside the organization, because plenty of voices outside the organization had been saying not-so-favorable things about Banner and Lombardi, even though Banner spent a generation as a successful executive with a perennial contender in Philadelphia.  The notion, as reported Tuesday by Mary Cay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, that Whisenhunt and Bill O’Brien and Adam Gase didn’t want to coach the Browns because of the management structure, apparently took root with Haslam.

The inclusion of Gase on the list is intriguing.  Surely, Gase had gotten input about Haslam and his organization from Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, who knows Haslam via their mutual Tennessee connection.  If Gase thought there was a problem with the management team, there’s a good chance Manning (who’s older than Gase) thought there was a problem with the management team.  Is it outlandish to think that Peyton Manning, who called the Lions in unsolicited fashion to support Jim Caldwell for head coach, may have shared his own assessment of the former management team with Haslam?

The problem for Haslam is that he waited until after the coaching search ended before firing the men who hired Mike Pettine.  Now, Pettine and G.M. Ray Farmer will have to coexist, knowing that their mutual boss keeps his finger at all times close to the trigger.

Especially with Peyton Manning a year or two away from being able to give Haslam and the Browns the credibility they so desperately need, by assuming a John Elway-style role with the franchise.

76 responses to “Schiano’s candidacy created “major rift” between Banner and Haslam

  1. OMG give it up with Peyton being the next CEO of the Browns already!!!

    This is getting worse than all the Favre retirements/un-retirements…

    And he still has 2-3 more years to play and then unwind a bit before moving on to his next endeavors.. He has just as much chance of becoming the coach of the Titans or Vols once he’s done// ;s

    Stop reporting nothing just to report something PFT

  2. I’m really not sure what Schiano has done to garner all this support. A guy wins a few games towards the end of a season where he was on the death watch before the season started and all of a sudden he’s in demand?

  3. This guy seems like a total disgrace. Blame the other owners for ever approving this clown in the first place.

  4. “Now, Pettine and G.M. Ray Farmer will have to coexist, knowing that their mutual boss keeps his finger at all times close to the trigger.”

    What a horrible situation. The coaches who declined to interview or take the job must be audibly sighing in relief right now.

    The Browns lost their head coach, offensive coordinator, GM and CEO (who they didn’t even bother to replace), and now the new guys are thrust into a win now/soon situation. Are you kidding me!?

    I’ll be impressed if the Browns manage to win more than a couple late-season throw away games…

  5. Well it does seem to be that the timing of the firing was indeed not a good fit for this bizarre process. Pettine seems like a rather nondescript profile of a HC candidate, not to say he isn’t the greatest HC in the world since I wasn’t there in the interview room to know why he’s so clearly better than Chudzinski. But at the same token, I also see no reason to reject Schiano so passionately just because he had a really bad experience at the last place. That doesn’t necessarily mean he can’t be a good coach in the right situation even if it’s complex or shocking to some. Banner shouldn’t have opposed it so vehemently without giving him a fair shot if he didn’t do that.

    I was one of those voices that suggested in probably about 10 posts now how Lombardi is a lousy GM. I knew he was a lousy GM before he got the job because I saw him on TV countless times and while sometimes he had something very intelligent to say, well he really showed what his football opinions were like and it was frustrating to hear him act like he thought he would make a great GM when he was way off base with so many things he said and critiques he made. I was really quite dismayed that this guy who was campaigning to be a GM on TV and doing a lousy job of making a case actually got the job!! That really just made me mad even though I have no interest in seeing the Browns succeed. But I think it might not have been the catalyst so much as eventually Haslam is going to learn more about football as he continues to do on the job training, and it was inevitable that the day would come that Haslam would figure out that Lombardi’s not as brilliant as he postures to be with regard to his football acumen.

    So congratulations to Jimmy Haslam, he’s one of the few owners who have actually gone ahead and executed a transaction that I was stomping for with my posts. I’m on board with you Jimmy, you made a good move! I love owners who do what I suggest, that’s good football in my opinion!! 🙂

  6. Concerned about voices outside the organization?

    He better be concerned about what his fan base thinks of him. This is not a truck stop you’re running!

  7. Before we call Jimmy Haslam reactionary and subject to public criticism let’s remember some history. Eddie DeBartolo hired GM Joe Thomas thought to be one of the best at the time when Eddie first bought the team. He fired him two years later and hired Bill Walsh.

    Making a quick decision to right a perceived wrong decision is bolder than doing nothing. Whether it is correct is a different story.

  8. Breaking news from Cleveland;
    Gm farmer already fired, Peyton rejected position, Kevin Costner hired

  9. Do the Browns play the Titans this year? If so, look for the Titans to win 63-0 with Whisenhunt calling 30-yard pass plays up until the 2-minute warning.

  10. Look if Belichick shakes your hand, count your fingers afterward. If you like him, he is clever and cagey. If you hate him, he is dishonest and crooked. But he will do what is in the best interest of the Patriots first and so if he recommends some as a coach to another AFC team, they should run away. Fast He’s not helping you unless it helps NE. So his recommendation is enough for me to think Schiano was a bad idea.

  11. If this were a movie it would be implausible. Hopefully for the fans in Cleveland their reality will improve and the name Browns will be associated with their history instead of the crap they have to endure. After all once you hit rock bottom everything after is up.

  12. Schiano is getting a raw deal as a bad coach. He took over a Buck team where the players were literally running the show. He brought in discipline and accountability and a bunch of players (including the starting QB) didn’t like it. He got rid of some of the malcontents and started turning the team around. If he had another year they would have been in the mix (even with Glennon). Love Smith is a great hire but Schiano was not as bad as reported.

  13. Poor Browns fans. Come join the Packers. We lose games, struggle, miss picks here and there, but we’re owned by the people and led well. No Al Davis, Jerry Jones, or Dan Snyder types here.

  14. Greg Schiano is now the Typhoid Mary of dysfuction, spreading his disease wherever he goes. NFL fans, for a donation of only $10, I can guarantee Greg Schiano will come nowhere near your franchise. If sufficient donations are not received, well, I can’t promise I can keep him away.

  15. All very interesting. While I certainly have no way to verify Belichek and Meyer made calls, the one thing you can take to the bank is that Haslam is very much aware of what the fans think and values their support. Truckers do not stop at his place because he ignores their opinions and does it his way regardless. Having followed the Browns fans opinion on PFT for more than a year, my bet is that the beginning of the end for Banner and Lombardi started with the negative attitude of fans towards them. He put up with them until the “last straw”, and you and I really don’t know what that was. When he keeps saying he wants to bring a winner to Cleveland, I think you can safely believe that. And, don’t forget the Rooneys had approved him as an owner quite some time ago. I’m a Steeler fan and I think the days of having two easy wins each year is nearing an end.

  16. So Peyton Manning is discussing with Gase all the potential land mines in Cleveland and then Manning is calling the Lions on behalf of Jim Caldwell…well no wonder the Broncos got their azzes handed to them in the Super Bowl.

  17. Alright, so Schiano has been the catalyst for blowing up two front offices in the span of 5 months – nice work, and much more efficient and less awkward this time.

    You’re welcome Cleveland fans – you didn’t even have to see your D crash the opponent’s victory formation.

  18. For everyone talking about Manning being a coach or GM, because he was a great QB, I have two words for you. Bart Starr

  19. Schiano, IMO, would have been a good coach but the Tampa ownership/leadership is so weak that when players started popping off they sided with players and of course the media sided with the players and the players laid down like dogs.

    Basically, the players were given the green light to run the team.

    Tampa made their bed and will have to lie in it the next few seasons.

    You could do much worse than Schiano

  20. If anything I’d say Peyton could buy a NFL team
    or at least own a large piece of one with way Denver
    paying him. So essentially imo p bowlens $$ could
    be going to but another team via manning

  21. I wasn’t a Haslam fan until yesterday. The guy watched Whisenhutt being disrespected in an interview. The guy had others pass over his job because of the toxic nature of his team. His CEO and future Offensive Coordinator reportedly got into a loud disagreement over how the team treats its coaches.

    Haslam watched how Banner and Lombardi failed to deliver top candidates to the team TWO years in a row.

    He watched how they toyed with the roster, then throw the coach overboard.

    Lombardi didn’t even go to the Senior Bowl, Farmer did all the scouting.

    Haslam–said enough is enough. He threw the “well respected” Joe Banner out the door along with Mike Lombardi.

    He has a top notch business guy running the business side.

    He has a well respected football guy running the football side. They have already brought in Bill Kuharich a well regarded personnel guy as a consultant, to help Farmer get organized.

    Halsam took control of his ONE BILLION DOLLAR investment. Good for him. He leaned the had way and he made moves no thought he would make.

    Its time for the Browns to finally move on.

  22. OK Its finally official, we all know Jimmy hated the reference to the 3 Stooges. With the departure of Banner and Lombardi go the reason the name was chosen in the first place. Mr Haslam I am sure today as you walk with Farmer and Pettine you feel relieved that the Stooges are one and that reference is dead….Well Jed Clampett. welcome. Yep its now Jed…..The only way to remove it .If you latest fiasco success. GOOD LUCK JED YOU WILL NEEDIT….well the first thing ya know ole Jimmy.s an NFL owner

  23. Jimmy Haslam cleaned house because it needed to be cleaned! When head coaching candidates are openly complaining about your management team and unwilling to consider offers, that is a sure sign that you don’t have the right guys at the helm. Chudsinski only got hired because other better candidates didn’t want to work with Banner and Lombardi. This year, repeat of the same. I think Farmer will prove to be a much better personnel guy without Lombardi and Banner. It is a new regime, let those guys get the draft picks and free agents they think they need to move the team forward. I am tired of hearing about “meddling” owners. It isn’t meddling when you are the one who put the money up and committed to Cleveland that you were going to turn things around. The status quo with Banner and Lombardi sucked. We now have two first round picks. I hope they use them wisely. Haslam, now needs to show that he really is committed to winning by opening up the purse strings in free agency. Go Browns.

  24. Of course Bill Belichick called twice. He got a starting CB and RB from Schiano. He was probably already picturing Gordon, Hayden & Thomas in the Patriot uniform. Also wasn’t his son a asst/player coach at Rutgers 2 years ago?

  25. Rumor in NFL circles is that Haslam was hoping Manning would retire so he could make him the GM. Just a rumor, but from some pretty credible sources.

  26. Bottom line: Browns’ GM is a guy that knows football, Browns Pres is a NFL business guy.
    Last week that wasn’t the case, we had EGO one battling EGO two and them colluding to keep there jobs when they have been the problem behind all the nonsense here. Looks like Jimmy is figuring out how Jimmy wants to run his team and that he will listen about other perception of the team….
    Better that than the guy that hired Mangini because he was just fired.

  27. Also heard a rumor that Peyton Manning will be the next Commissioner and we’ll now hand out the Lombardi at the end of the regular season. Some guy I know told me, he’s legit.

  28. What are all the naysayers gonna do when the Browns start winning?

    I personally believe they are very close and in one stroke Haslem has placed 10 draft picks…7 in the first four rounds….and 40-50 million dollars in cap space…into the hands of someone who actually knows what he is doing…to let his team be coached y a man who appears to be very well qualified.

    A quarterback…a running back…another shut down corner…another good inside linebacker…and some great depth will make for a strong situation. Resign Mack and Ward…keep Jackson…extent Haden…and this team is ready to rock.

    THEN lets see these clown posters and stooge comment fly…

    The Stooges have been replaced by the Dynamic Duo!

    GO BROWNS!!!!!

  29. Joe Banner is the typical kid who consistently had his lunch money taken from him by the bigger kids and now that he is an adult in a position of power, he has an axe to grind against the macho men of the world who belittled him on the playground.

  30. As a person, Schiano is a great person. Hands down. He was not and still is not ready to run an NFL team. All the “Schiano was turning it around” folks including the dolphin’s fan that commented are smoking crack or truly rooting for another team when they say that.

    He restored order, but when you have guys, some pro bowl players, doing some of the bone-headed things they did this year, you know they were coached to do those things. That’s just total bad coaching, and you can’t wait 5 years for Schiano to figure things out in this league.

  31. In Philadelphia Banner was a major part of a team that went to the playoffs most years and won a bunch of playoff games. They had success because the owner hired the right people and let them do what tgey do best. Jeff Lurie never became involved in the football decisions. Banner’s firing just makes the Browns look even worse. Haslam wanted to hire Schiano. Let that sink in for a moment Browns fans. The only thing that can save the Browns is if Haslam ends up going to prison.

  32. So even though his own offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, walked away from the interview process and presumably didn’t want anything to do with the Browns, Belichick still called and recommended Schiano. Twice. Hmm…

  33. I’m relieved that Haslam did this. It always concerned me that Banner wanted to pick the players. Not too many coaches would want to coach the Browns with the power structure in place. I like Pettine’s toughness and Farmer has a reputation for recognizing talent. I just hope they’re given 5 years to build something together.

  34. Browns are going to be terrible as long as this guy is the owner. That is a fact No one wants to coach there. This guy picked schiano over his GM and CEO. Makes me wonder if he actually watched the Bucs the last two years.

  35. Contrary to popular belief, Schiano is a very good coach. Good one’s like Urban Meyer & Belichick recognize that.

  36. “Banner reportedly didn’t think Whisenhunt had compiled a ‘championship coaching staff,’ Whisenhunt openly questioned Banner’s ability to make that assessment[.]”

    Well done by Ken.

  37. Yeah thats pretty dumb… firing the people that hired your new coach… Can’t make this stuff up!

    The Sadness will continue….

    Not sure who is worse Jerry Jones or Haslam now?

  38. Believe it or not this is actually what the Browns franchise needed. Clean house top to bottom and get the right guys in the correct roles. While I think it’d have been better to go after an experienced gm to get stability the guy in charge now looks to have the correct formula. If the browns can become a contender with the draft picks and cap room they have available then they might as well just hang it up and move to la.

  39. So as a guy in a similar role, when your CEO asks you to look at a candidate because they have good references, you look at them. If you don’t like the candidate, you exclude and explain to the boss why you did so. If your boss doesn’t trust your opinion to hire a person who ultimately reports to you then you have an issue. Having said that, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. NFL teams, generally, seem to be highly disfunctional workplaces.

  40. Brown’s season ticket holder and all I can say is THANK YOU JIMMY! The city of Cleveland doesn’t care what the outside media is saying. We are just so happy that you fired Lombardi and the little ball of hate. The thought of them being in charge of the draft was terrifying! Lombardi’s draft track record is terrible!!!! At least now players may consider coming to Cleveland. The city of Cleveland thanks you, now bring us a winning season!

  41. Rather than trust the guy you hired to have the best interest of your team at heart, Haslam listened to people who probably have other reasons for recommending soemone other than the best interest of the Browns. Then listening to these other people with their own agendas caused him to lose faith in the guy he hired. This caused him to blow up the management — again.

    Maybe the management structure issues were good coaches realizing Haslam doesn’t have a cluet what he is doing.

    Haslam may be giving Jones and Snyder a run for their money as the owner most likely to mess up his team.

  42. As far as X’s and O’s, Schiano is a pretty decent coach. He’s got a good accumen and even though he did some bizarre moves, they were overall good for Tampa. Yeah, he sent Blount and Talib to Foxboro and they did a great job there. However, they were not producing as well in Tampa because they didn’t fit as well, so why have them?

    Now, as for running the show, he did terrible. However, I think that’s a much easier lesson to learn. If he ever gets another head coaching gig, I don’t think he’ll try the same approach he did the first time. That said, I don’t think hiring him right after being fired by Tampa would have been the smarter move. Maybe in a couple of years when all the lessons sink in.

  43. “Brinke says:
    Feb 12, 2014 11:52 AM
    And what did Elway do as an exec with Denver BEFORE PM landed in his lap?”

    Get the Broncos to win a playoff game with Tebow at the helm.

  44. I laughed out loud at the post stating that ownership should listen to the fans and then make front-office and coaching choices accordingly. Are you nuts? Fans are by definition fanatics. They are people filled with excessive and single-minded zeal. They are not only fanatics, they believe their own bs and forgo any logic or rational analysis. You would be better off letting the players, or worse, the nepotism of one family, make the front-office and coaching choices.

  45. I agree with a previous poster: Schiano is a quality coach. The job he did at Rutgers was beyond remarkable, and him having just two seasons to fix Tampa Bay was beyond laughable.
    As for Peyton Manning: How do you guys dream up this stuff? Peyton is no more qualified to run an NFL team than Eli, Archie or Olivia. Besides, what makes anyone think he’s even interested in such a job?

  46. Banner and Lombardi admitted they screwed up in hiring Chud. Then couldn’t get it right the second time round either as Coach after coach turned them down to keep lower paid positions coaching jobs.

  47. The more I read about this the more I think this man is going to be a great owner. I think the issue here is that he’s a fans owner. And, do a degree that’s a good thing. Now, all of you making jokes know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if you owned your own bussiness and wasn’t able to get employees to work for your company because of the managment team you would do the same thing

  48. Can’t see why people are comparing Haslam to Jerry Jones and Al Davis. He’s quite the opposite. Despite the fact that he’s a total hothead he fully admits that he’s learning to be an owner and lets football people run his team which is something Jones would NEVER admit or do (no one knows more about football than Jerry Jones and if you don’t believe him just ask him again).

    Haslam was given a “football guy” to run his team by the NFL and eventually decided (whether it be from observation or the extreme amount of negative press he got) that those “football guys” have absolutely no clue what they’re doing and promptly got rid of them. In other words a mistake was made, he owned up to the mistake and corrected his mistake. Now his GM gets to do what GM’s are supposed to do (and anyone who watched the presser heard Farmer say he didn’t do the interviews personally but was a part of the process that identified Pettine as a candidate so the whole “he didn’t hire the coach” thing isn’t even a concern).

    As far as his reputation is concerned, Haslam knows and has said countless times until the Browns win games he could cure staph infections and still be considered a joke of an owner by the local media in Cleveland despite only having 1 full season of doing it so he knows there is nothing he can do to avoid the criticism. What Browns fans should like is the fact that he is a results driven guy so the team should get better sooner than later. This cannot be said about the Cowboys as Jerry Jones ability to admit his GM doesn’t know what he’s doing let alone fire him for it is non existent.

    Fact is the Browns have a GREAT chance of being a worst to first team in 2014 based on how many breakout players they had in 2013 on top of all the cap space and draft picks they have this year from Lombardi saving them for later last offseason. Making sure the right guy is picking those players is the key to their success and having a guy with potential in Farmer doing it is a definite upgrade over a guy who’s failed at it for almost 2 decades (when he could find a job) in Mike Lombardi.

  49. Now, Pettine and G.M. Ray Farmer will have to coexist, knowing that their mutual boss keeps his finger at all times close to the trigger.

    This may be less of an issue than people think. I’m going to support my arguments with facts.

    1. While the Browns were looking for a head coach, Pettine’s name surfaced. After his first interview(at which time his daughter sent her famous Tweet), Pettine, who at the time still worked for the Bills, was in Mobile for the Senior Bowl. Ray Farmer, as Browns’ Assistant GM(but was rumored to be the front runner for Miami’s GM spot), was there also. Banner and Lombardi were not. Browns front office flew down to Mobile for Pettine’s second interview.

    2. A day or two later, Pettine flies to Cleveland for his “third interview”. Ray Farmer was already there. Not 10 minutes after Pettine was hired, teh news breaks that Farmer pulled his name out of the running for the Miami job, and chose to stay in Cleveland.

    3. Which brings us to yesterday. Lombardi is fired, and Farmer immediately promoted to GM. Haslam even said, he started conversations about “streamlining” the organization a couple weeks ago, pretty much right about the time Pettine was hired and Farmer was retained.

    Can anyone tell me with a straight face that this was all coincidence?

  50. As for the Peyton Manning thing, I have no idea if Peyton would even be interested in the job, but I do think Haslam will offer him a front office job once Manning hangs up his cleats.

  51. So many clueless people here who don’t realize that the moves Haslam has made in the last few days are the most constructive ones in the last several years of Browns history.

    It’s funny- everyone whines and cries and jokes that Haslam hired Banner and Lombardi, then they whine and cry and joke about him realizing his mistake and kicking Banner and Haslam to the curb. We have some real geniuses among us.

    While everyone knows that public perception shouldn’t necessarily influence how a team is run, Browns fans have been watching this same movie for decades and, if there’s *any* fanbase in the NFL that is wise to mistakes and mismanagment, it’s Browns fans… So, for once, I’m happy the Browns have an owner that IS in tune with the fans and not just a know-it-all who won’t consider anyone else’s viewpoint. getting rid of Banner and Lombardi and giving the GM job to Farmer is the smartest move any Browns brass has made in umpteen years.

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