It took twenty-five days, but the Browns finally found their coach.
|This man awaits your blind acceptance.|
That's three weeks and change of looking like the lonely 8th grader at the school dance, hands in the pockets of his freshly pressed Dockers as the ballad-y strains of Extreme's "More Than Words" echo through the crepe paper-strewn gymnasium. (Author's note: I'm not projecting here, just offering a very specific metaphor. Lay off, damn ya!)
Six-hundred hours of poisonous whispers regarding a head coaching position that's allegedly viewed by as "radioactive" by league insiders. Thirty-six thousand minutes of Twitter filling up with easy jokes (some made by yours truly, admittedly) taking shots at the low-hanging fruit that is this clown show of a franchise. It got so bad that national scribes were writing pity columns defending the downtrodden denizens of
Cleveland from mean old outsiders dogging the
city and its awful football team.
So it's somewhat of a relief that after their exhaustive 2,160,000-second search, the Browns chose a fellow named Mike Pettine as their seventh head coach since 1999. What do we know about Pettine?
*He was a defensive coordinator with the Buffalo Bills.
*He's bald and wears a goatee.
* He's a homo sapien who can not only convert carbon dioxide into oxygen with the best of them, he's also "smart, innovative and tough."
The above is about all the information available on Pettine at the present time. However, now that we're at the end of a hiring process that ESPN's John Clayton called "confused" and "a mess," it's time for both fans and media types alike to do something very difficult - give Pettine a chance.
It's going to be tough. There are so many snarky comments still left unsaid, so many mocking memes to be screen-printed onto t-shirts. But it's either support the hire or lie to your friends about this being "the last straw" and you'll never watch the Browns again, so help you god.
After all, Pettine is going to be here for awhile. The new guy will be given a longer leash than the previous coach, at least, barring an 0-16 season and Joe Haden drowning a hooker in the training room hot tub.
|"Shemp me? Shmep you!"|
Let's say you've made your peace with Pettine. Not too hard. He just got here and has yet to waste two timeouts heading into halftime. Now it's time to swallow an even tougher pill and give this embattled front office a bit of leeway heading into 2014.
They've got draft picks, free agent cash, a handful of All Pros already on the roster, and a chance to buff their terrible image problem. Perhaps they'll make a Belichickean leap in competence over the next few months and stumble into a star quarterback that changes this franchise's ill fortunes. Maybe they'll become draft geniuses and build a system that's able to plug in the next guy on the depth chart and make him a star.
The odds of any of this happening aren't great, of course, but a new coaching hire and new offseason bring us the sweet siren song of hope. For an organization that hasn't won a playoff game in 20 years (or 630 million seconds) there's not much else to offer.