Contrary to popular belief, been a Browns fan for a long time, and there is a trade that has made me more excited today, than any day since the return. And it didn’t cost us a damn thing. The first part of the trade is Randy Lerner for Jimmy Haslam. Getting rid of Randy Lerner – is the single biggest blessed event since the return.
First let me give some props to Randy Lerner. By all accounts he is a nice person. He certainly wasn’t a cheapskate. He is a billionaire and I am not. I suppose he went to an Ivy League school, and I did not. But the fact is, he was a total failure as the leader of this organization, and the common thread on one of the worst decades of football ever produced. With all due respect to both Rufio and BK, I know they will both say that Randy Lerner is not the leader of the franchise, but unfortunately they are wrong. For sure he is not the "face of the franchise" or a flamboyant owner ala Jones, Snyder etc. (a fact we appreciate) But he is the leader of the organization, the back office if you will. Why? Because that is where the buck stops my friends – and that you cannot delegate. He leaves the organization by selling, the others get whacked. In his position, he is responsible to basically provide 3 main things:
1. He is responsible to supply the resources to the organization as a whole
2. He is responsible to communicate the vision, goals, and accountability systems.
3. He is responsible to install an effective organizational structure and hierarchy.
So let’s examine how he has held up. On resources – we have to give a pass. He has been willing to spend money, and the Browns are near the top in money spent. Unfortunately, the single line item that makes this true is all the money wasted on folks who did not get the job done. I think at one time he was paying Butch, Chud, Romeo, Savage, Mangini, and Kokinis. Not a recipe for maximizing your resources for success.
Since I have no idea how he does things behind the scenes on communicating and accountability, because he has some sort of strange introvert thing going on – I will give him a pass there as well. Even though I question this one.
But it is in building the organization that he has been just an abject failure.
- The guy cannot even decide on an org chart. Here are some of his regimes. A pompous, power mad coach and basically his gopher. The hot new young GM, and the old reliable DC Coach. As an added kicker, he hires the coach before his boss to maximize the chance of discord. A coach and his handpicked former pizza delivery boy that he used to room with. In the current regime, after the Mangini dismissal, it does have some sort of logic and teamwork associated with it. The big guy, the personnel guy, and the coach they wanted.
- Now many will say that you cannot keep blowing it up every three years and be a winner. They are 100% right on that fact – and 100% wrong on the causality of that fact. The fact is that he is blowing up the organization every 3 years because he is picking the wrong folks and/or organizational structure. We are losing because he is picking the wrong guys on the football side, and that forces us to lose, and that forces us to blow the organization up every 3 years.
- If you want proof that is true – here are the victims of blowing it up under the entire Lerner family reign. Policy, Clark, Palmer, Davis, Garcia, Robiskie, Crennel, Savage, Mangini, and Kokinis. Who do you want back in the organization? What have they done since they left? The only significant accomplishments are that Mangini is not a bad analyst and Butch Davis did a nice job of destroying the Tar Heel football program. Romeo came out the best – as he just signed on to be the future ex coach of the Chiefs.
So why is Haslam going to have such a dramatic improvement? Let me give you the reasons:
1. He is not an absentee owner that will sip tea while watching a losing team hope to tie nil-nil at Wembley. He strikes me as the type that will demand success and increase the accountability throughout the organization.
2. He is charismatic, and he is out front. He will tell you that he will build a winner. When you say something – it helps to accomplish it. The person who says I will do this … has more success than those who don’t.
3. He will be connected in the NFL. That makes the difference between grabbing the "flavor of the day GM/Coach" and finding out what really makes that guy tick. Knowing his warts. That kind of stuff comes over cocktails in owner loges and not tea in London.
4. Look at the way they got their franchises. One guy got it because his dad died. The other – bid his time as a minority owner, waited in his lair for an opportunity, and pounced on it by writing a $1 billion dollar check. How do those 2 factors compare on driving you for success?