It didn’t take long for the axe to drop on Eric Mangini Monday, as the Browns announced that the coach has been canned after two straight 5-11 seasons.
The Browns finished his second season with a four-game losing streak, losing to the Bills, Bengals, Ravens and Sunday 41-10 to the Steelers. Cleveland went 2-6 following an upset of NFL heavyweight New England on November 7th, a win that some thought would mean big things to come in the second half.
Mike Holmgren gave Mangini a second shot after he won four in a row to end the season, but wasn’t rewarded with as much growth as he wanted to see.
“This decision was not easy for me, and it was one into which I put a great deal of thought,” said Holmgren in a statement. “Although we have made improvements this season, my responsibility is to ensure that we establish a program that will allow this team to compete at a championship level. That will continue to be our goal in everything we do. I want to thank Eric for all of his contributions to the Cleveland Browns, and wish him and his family the best of luck in the future.”
Mangini becomes just another footnote in the Browns history of coaches since their return to the league in 1999. Mangini, who was with the Jets before coming to Cleveland, followed Chris Palmer, Butch Davis and Romeo Crennel on Cleveland’s coaching carousel. The instability up top and lack of continuity perhaps best explains the Browns’ 64-129 record and one playoff appearance since their rebirth in 1999.
“The experience coaching the Cleveland Browns the past two years has been tremendous,” Mangini said. “I appreciate the opportunity that the Lerner family gave me. I have a deep respect for the players that I have coached the past two years and how they have made a profound difference in changing the culture – a tougher, smarter, more competitive, selfless team that never gave up. Our goal was to build a team for long term success. The core characteristics we were dedicated to, I believe, will help achieve that goal, and have provided a strong identity for this football team and have helped to create a positive foundation upon which the organization can continue to build.
“I feel strongly that the Cleveland Browns are headed in a very positive direction and greatly value the commitment and exceptional efforts of the coaches, players and everyone in the building that I’ve worked with in trying to help achieve our goals. My family and I have thoroughly enjoyed living in the Cleveland community and appreciate the support and passion of the fans. I know Mike and Tom are also dedicated to building a championship caliber organization and wish them nothing but success.”
Now the question will be – who comes to the team? John Fox, and John Gruden are two big names among many others on the list. Many think that Holmgren himself will eventually take the job. He didn’t rule that out Monday.