When Eric Mangini was fired the day after the regular season ended, Browns fans had visions of sugarplums and Jon Gruden dancing in their heads. The euphoric dream of Mike Holmgren as President and Super Bowl winning head coach Jon Gruden roaming the sidelines had a segment of Browns fans jumping for joy. It made sense: After all, Gruden was mentored by Holmgren in Green Bay in the mid-90's and Holmgren enjoys his extra free time as President.
So, why didn't it happen? Why are some Browns fans so upset that the new Browns head coach is NOT Jon Gruden or Mike Holmgren? (many among this segment of fans can't even spell or pronounce Mike Holmgren's name right. They call him "Holgrem." Needless to say, they don't know their football like they think they do.) This segment of Browns fans wanted the splash hire and to excite them and they would accept nothing less than a big name. However, this segment of fans needs to realize this: Neither Jon Gruden or Mike Holmgren were the best coaches for the job.
Why? I'll tell you why: the "splash hire to excite the fans" almost never works out. A certain segment of Browns fans (that I refer to as "the mob") are obsessed with the "fan rallying hire" and it almost never works out. That's the Washington Redskins model, and it stinks. This segment of Browns fans needs to STOP thinking with this sort of logic. As the old adage goes: "If you listen to the fans, you'll be sitting with the fans eventually."
Ask yourselves: Who was Mike Tomlin before he was hired by the Steelers?
Who was John Harbaugh before he was hired by Baltimore?
Mike McCarthy by Green Bay? Sean Payton by New Orleans? Mike Smith by Atlanta?
They were nobodies. Many fans were upset in those cities. Hell, Atlanta tried the splash hire the year before with Bobby Petrino. It was an absolute disaster. I repeat: an absolute disaster.
So you're in the crowd that wanted Jon Gruden? Consider this: His record is below .500 after taking Tony Dungy's team to the Super Bowl. He has never developed a young quarterback, either. He also has a track record of being difficult to work with according to his players.
So you wanted Mike Holmgren? (although you probably call him "Mike Holgrem") Consider this: He's in his 60's and has openly admitted that he enjoys his free time and I highly doubt his heart would still be in it like his heart was in previous head coaching jobs. 100% of Pat Shurmur is better than 90% of Mike Holmgren, especially since Holmgren is still in the building to advise.
So you're upset with Shurmur's track record as Rams Offensive Coordinator? Consider the fact that he was working with a rookie quarterback, an average offensive line and zero receivers. He had as much talent to work with as Brian Daboll did. Talent is what makes coaches look good most of the time whether you're a head coach or a coordinator. Besides, head coaching is more about managing assistant coaches and players than it is the pure X's and O's.
Besides, with Browns General Manager Tom Heckert acquiring personnel Coach Shurmur will look like a genius. Coaching is 75% talent on the field unless your players quit on you (see: Wade Phillips in his final year in Dallas for a perfect example of this). The rest is relationship building, player management and the actual player development a.k.a. coaching.
Shurmur's track record of quarterback development is very encouraging as well. Good QB play is half the battle in the National Football League. On the other side of the ball: I'm very interested in who the defensive coordinator will be. He must be a strong assistant coach with a track record of success in order for this to work out. Most successful first time NFL coaches have strong coordinators on the opposite side of their specialty (offensive coaches need strong defensive coordinators, and vice versa).
The bottom line is this: Browns fans need to accept and embrace Coach Shurmur. The Browns now have one unified organizational philosophy, which we may not have had with Mangini as coach (that being said: I still feel firing Mangini was a bad move and think he will be a great head coach someday with the right General Manager). We need to be patient and not try to run him out of town like we did the moment Mangini was hired in 2009.
Welcome aboard Coach Shurmurnator, now get 'er done!