UPDATE: It has since been reported that the Browns were extended the opportunity to coach the Senior Bowl, but declined. The original story appears below.
According to multiple reports, the Denver Broncos (North team) and Houston Texans (South team) have been selected to coach the 2018 Senior Bowl. Practices will run from January 23-25, while the game is on January 27.
Source tells 9news Broncos coaching staff will coach the North team in Senior Bowl in Mobile from Jan. 23-25 with game on Jan 27. Texans have the South team. #9sports— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) January 3, 2018
The news represents a poor reflection on how the Cleveland Browns coached their practices in 2017, when the South team was led by Hue Jackson and his staff. According to the Senior Bowl website, the selected staffs are determined in cooperation with the NFL, but “the teams with the lowest winning percentage usually get the first opportunity to coach in the game if a majority of their staff - and head coach - are intact.”
The Browns finished 0-16, the worst team by a whole three games. The New York Giants (3-13) fired their coach, taking them out of consideration. The two 4-12 teams included the Indianapolis Colts (fired their coach) and the Texans (selected). The Broncos were one of many of the 5-11 teams.
This morning, talking about the then-rumor that Cleveland wouldn’t be selected, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report tweeted, “Anyone but the Browns. Those practices last year were miserable. I’m bringing a cooler of beer if it’s the Browns. Boring. Unorganized. No energy. No flow from session to session. Worst practices I’ve seen in all my time going to the Senior Bowl.” Here is another assessment from last year that was critical of the way the Browns conducted their practices.
If you’re wondering if it’s just a matter of teams not being awarded the opportunity two years in a row, that is probably not the case, considering the Jacksonville Jaguars were involved for three straight years from 2014-2016.
Teams who have coached the Senior Bowl in back to back seasons:— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) January 3, 2018
Jaguars - 2014 and 2015 and 2016
49ers - 2006 and 2007 and 2008
Redskins - 1997 and 1998
Chiefs - 1990 and 1991
Not the Browns in 2017 and 2018
It’s possible that the Browns were offered the opportunity and declined it, but does that really seem like something a team would turn down?
At the end of the day, it shouldn’t be a big deal. Most teams do not get to coach the Senior Bowl — they just scout like all the other teams — and end up drafting fine.