“[W]hen it does happen, don’t come to me for extra tickets for a playoff game or something. You’re either with us or you’re not.” — Mike Holmgren, 12/15/11
Jimmy Haslam is in as Browns owner and uncontradicted reports are that Mike Holmgren will be out as Browns President by the end of the season, thus erasing one of the worst hires in Cleveland Browns and modern sports history. We’ve heard off-the-record reports that Holmgren has been AWOL in Berea since he first visited with Haslam there during training camp, which also explains why Browns spokesman Neil Gulkis “didn’t know why Holmgren decided not to come” to today’s NFL owners meeting approving the sale to Haslam despite having “originally planned to attend.”
So it looks like all there’s left to do is toast a mind-reeling legacy that includes:
- Having been handed unimaginable wealth thanks to Randy Lerner’s overreaction to a self-interested publicity stunt by an illiterate and since disappeared con man/”superfan”;
- Saddling Eric Mangini with Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace at the quarterback position before letting the head coach twist on the vine for the entirety of 2010 with no intention of letting him keep his job for the next season;
- Peddling the lie that Mangini was fired because he “didn’t win enough,” despite the obvious significant improvement of the Browns in 2010 even with a dumpster fire of a roster;
- Replacing Mangini with his late best friend’s nephew, Pat Shurmur, under whom the Browns won even fewer games in 2011 and became a league laughingstock while regressing in every phase, before becoming a consensus pick to finish as the worst team in the league in 2012, where they now sit tied for the league’s worst record at 1-5;
- Tabbing Colt McCoy as a legitimate starting NFL quarterback despite glaring warning signs;
- Missing badly on a trade for Robert Griffin III due to a failure to follow basic instructions after having made it public that Griffin was the franchise’s first choice to replace McCoy;
- Mangling the franchise’s ties with Jim Brown, the Greatest Cleveland Brown and NFL football player of all time;
- Handing out six and seven-figure jobs to his old high school friend’s clients like they were Lake Erie Monsters tickets;
- Failing to restrain expressions of desire to return home to Seattle with Randy’s $40 million;
- Failing to restrain disdain for the press assigned to report on Lerner’s return on that $40 million;
- Kicking Browns fans out of Browns Stadium for standing and cheering for the Browns;
- Presiding over a franchise-record tying 11-game losing streak, spanning Shurmur’s first and second seasons, and;
- a .263 winning percentage over a thirty-eight game span, second-worst to the Carolina Panthers .243 and well behind third-worst St. Louis’s .316.
For all that, he’ll walk away with at least $24 million, and probably all $40 million of his deal assuming it was fully guaranteed. Hopefully Haslam made Lerner pay for it with a discount in the purchase price for the franchise, and hopefully nothing like Lerner’s decision to solve a perceived problem by throwing money at the priciest brand name available will ever happen to the Cleveland Browns again.
Hard to blame Mike for taking the job (and Lerner’s money) in the first place, of course, but good riddance.
“Depending on where I am and the weather, I’m going to ride my motorcycle a lot. Perhaps go to the beach a little bit, go to Hawaii. … Like I said, I think Kathy and I are going to go someplace where it’s warm, with those little drinks with the umbrellas in it and then kind of think about what the future is all about.” — Mike Holmgren, 10/23/12