Follow the author: @Tay_Col
The AFC and NFC championships are around the corner. The Browns brass should take this time to watch some quality teams and franchises perform at the highest levels. Each of the teams participating in the Superbowl deciding match-ups are quality. They all have unique traits that the Browns should learn from.
Steelers – Consistency in Coaching
I dislike the Pittsburgh Steelers as much as any other Browns fan, but I also give credit where it’s due. They are a model franchise. I hoped Haslam would bring some of the Rooney success and luck with him. That has yet to be seen.
The Steelers overshadow most franchises in their devotion to head coaches and a strong belief in the systems they install. Since 1969, the Steelers have had true leaders shape their teams. From 1969 to 1991, Chuck Noll (a Cleveland native, Benedictine HS graduate), led the Steelers to four Super Bowl victories and retired with a 67% playoff win percentage. His successor, Bill Cowher, coached from 1992-2006. He won Super Bowl XL in 2006 against the Seattle Seahawks.
Today, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has been with Pittsburgh since 2007. Tomlin led the Steelers to a win in Super Bowl XLIII, which gave them their sixth Lombardi trophy. His Steeler teams have been the AFC North champion five times in his nine seasons as head coach.
Since 2007, the Browns have had six head coaches. The Browns would greatly benefit from sticking with a coach they trust and allowing that person the time needed to achieve his vision. I hope the Browns give Hue Jackson enough time for us to see a consistent winner in Cleveland.
Patriots – Talent Development
The Patriots are the best in cultivating talent. It takes a level of raw talent to even be on an NFL roster, but many players don’t succeed despite their abilities. I don’t know if they put in the water in Foxborough, Massachusetts, but every man on that roster works hard and outperforms expectations. Some examples of Patriots players who found success despite setbacks include Tom Brady, taken with 199th pick out of Michigan with minimal hype. Look how he turned out. Randy Moss was hampered with injuries and was unhappy with the Raiders, which in turn pushed him to openly ask for a trade. That’s something that Belichick would never tolerate. But the Patriots traded for him and Moss rewarded their trust and put in some solid years in New England.
They also do an amazing job of identifying talent in the draft. They transformed Julian Edelman (Go Flashes!), a collegiate quarterback into a top-notch NFL receiver. Another example of great Patriots drafting is Vince Wilfork. Out of college, there were concerns that he played lazy but in New England, he became one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL.
It would be difficult to figure out the secret formula that helps the Patriots develops their players into professionals, but the Browns should attempt to emulate their talent growth and identification.
Falcons – No QB Controversy
The Atlanta Falcons have an outstanding quarterback, there’s no doubting that. But Matt Ryan, like any athlete, has faced controversy and doubts. He’s been criticized for years for choking the playoffs. Before the start of this post-season, his record in the playoffs was 0-3 and looked like a shadow of himself when the stakes were highest. In fact, he’d never thrown for more than 200 yards in a postseason matchup.
Some organizations may have believed that he’s not cut out to play in the big games. And that would understandably be a deal breaker for some owners. However, the Falcons have stuck with him and that loyalty has been repaid this postseason. He came up big against a consistently strong defensive team in the Seattle Seahawks. Torching them for 338 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions. Easily his most impressive NFL playoff performance to date.
The Browns have some work to do in finding a QB anywhere near as talented as Ryan, but when they do find their guy they must stick with him. It may take a few years for that trust to bear fruit, but hopefully, this mystery QB pays back that trust by making the Browns winners.
Packers – Fan Ownership/Passion
The Browns have some of the most passionate fans in the NFL. There is a lot to be said for sticking by a team that is consistently bad. But losing takes its toll and the fervor for NFL football in Cleveland is not what it could be.
The Green Bay Packers have a unique ownership model. They’re a publicly owned non-profit, run by an elected executive committee and their fans can buy stock shares in the team. Talk about motivation for the players! The fans who cheer for you are also directly affecting the off-field success of your team. Fans who are financially invested in the team are inspired. It also makes season tickets enormously precious. In Green Bay, Packers season tickets are family heirlooms, passed down. And time spent on the waiting list is decades long. These are major factors that keep the Packers so successful in a small market.
The Cleveland Browns will probably never become a publicly owned organization. But, the Browns should aspire to draw the deep sense of pride and passion from us, the fans. The Browns are a storied franchise that dates back 71 years. It’s time we remind the NFL that the Browns are a cornerstone of the NFL, not some pushover expansion team.
Follow the author: @Tay_Col
Img via: clevelandbrowns.com, ESPN, FOX