In one of the least surprising stories on Sunday, news broke late Saturday night that the Cleveland Browns will fire head coach Pat Shurmur on Monday, regardless of whether he wins or loses. As new management continues to move in, the cleaning of the house in Cleveland has officially begun.
When the Browns were purchased by Jimmy Haslam back in August, it was pretty obvious that a regime change was on the horizon for Cleveland. As the season pressed onward, and the Browns sunk downward, the changes became more and more clear to everyone watching. Shurmur said he wasn’t blind to his fate, but he’s not going to hold any grudges either.
“Listen, I get this, and my concerns are for my team and making sure that we do all the right things during the game to give our guys the best chance to win,” the 47-year-old Shurmur, 9-22 in two seasons, told the Plain Dealer. “That’s where I’m at. We have not won enough football games, and I know that’s the way this thing works, but in our situation I see improvement and I’ll leave it at that.”
Whoever takes over for Shurmur will be the Browns fourth head coach in five years, dating back to Romeo Crennel who was fired in 2008. To the Browns credit, they’ve only gone through five coaches in the 12 years since they were reinstated into the NFL back in 1999. But with new ownership, the expectations to win are growing to the highest they’ve been in all those years.
The cleaning of the house began months ago when Mike Holmgren stepped down as team president, and it’s been a domino effect since then. The hope in Cleveland is that a head coach and general manager combo can be formed that will bring a winning atmosphere to Loserville, USA. Since coming back to the NFL over a decade ago, the Browns have been to the playoffs once back in 2002 and nearly won the game, had it not been for a complete meltdown late.
That meltdown has come to define the Browns over the years, and it’s a trend they’re trying to break. Shurmur didn’t have much time to settle in during his stint with Cleveland, as the lockout didn’t give him an offseason in his first year as head coach and the second was nothing short of chaotic, but nevertheless he’s a victim of nothing more than a change at the top.
Shurmur and Holmgren are the most notable casualties of the to movement towards bringing a winner to Cleveland, and they won’t be the last.