Cleveland Browns: Romeo Crennel

The Cleveland Browns have been through the Bill Belichick tree before.

Both Romeo Crennel and Eric Mangini came from the Belichick tree, and neither worked out -- though Crennel did have the last 10-win season the team had.

There also was general manger Phil Savage, who made a lot of smart moves before a rough departure, and short-time GM George Kokinis.

Now there is Mike Lombardi, who seems like the ultimate Belichick believer.

But with coaching trees it's always interesting.

Consider Mike Holmgren, who had Andy Reid, Mike Sherman, Jon Gruden and Dick Jauron on his staff at one time or another. That group has been pretty successful.

How has the Belichick tree done?

ESPN Stats & Information did a study this past week, and the conclusion is this: "They have struggled."

Basically three coaches have gone on to become NFL head coaches after working under Belichick: Crennel, Mangini and Josh McDaniels, whom the Browns are interviewing Saturday.

Crennel had one winning season in five as head coach (four with Cleveland, one with Kansas City). Mangini had also had one winning season in five. McDaniels started 6-0 in Denver but finished 2-8 for an 8-8 mark. He was 3-9 the next season before he was fired.

That is 12 full seasons as head coach for Belichick guys, with one 13-game season. There were two winning seasons, one at .500 and nine losing seasons.

Crennel had a .325 won-lost percentage in his five seasons as coach. He went 26-54 (plus 2-1 as an interim).

Mangini was 33-47. McDaniels finished 11-17.

Combined, they were 72-119, a won-lost percentage of .378.

Charlie Weis, of course, was the third guy in that end-of-Super Bowl hug with Crennel and Belichick in 2005. Crennel went to the Browns and Weis to Notre Dame, where he went 19-6 his first two seasons to garner a lucrative contract extension.

But his final three seasons with the Irish he was 16-21.

In 2012 and 2013 he coached Kansas to 1-11 and 3-9 records. His total won-lost as a head coach: 39-47.

The only member of the Belichick tree to go on and have a winning record was Bill O'Brien, who recently left Penn State for the Houston Texans.

In two years with the Nittany Lions, O'Brien was 15-9.

Add all the records as head coach, including Weis' and O'Brien's in college, and the members of the Belichick tree have gone 126-175 (.419).

Fun facts on firing coaches

December, 31, 2013
Just some quick facts on the firing of coaches:
  • The last four coaches fired in the AFC North have been by the Cleveland Browns.
  • Since January of 2009, the Browns have fired Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Pat Shurmur, Rob Chudzinski.
  • That’s four coaches fired in five years.
  • Two of those coaches fired were given two seasons to win, one was given one season.
  • Mike Tomlin, John Harbaugh and Marvin Lewis have all been on the job in Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Cincinnati since before 2009.
  • The number of coaches in Joe Thomas’ seven-year career? Soon to be five.
  • The number of coaches in Cleveland since the team returned in 1999? Soon to be eight.
  • Five plus eight equals 13, which is the exact number of games the Browns have won the past three seasons.
  • The number of coaches fired since January 2012: Two.
  • The number of coaches hired since January 2012: Soon to be two as well.
  • The Browns have lost 10 games in a season in 10 of the last 11 seasons.
  • This season marked the sixth in a row that the Browns have lost more than 11 games. According to Elias, only the Raiders did that for a longer period -- they lost 11 every season from 2003-2009, seven in a row.
  • The Browns will have a chance to match that mark in 2014. With a new coach, new systems (is there any doubt we’ll all be writing and talking about the switch back to the four-three defense?), new coordinators, new quarterback and new running back, the odds would have to favor matching this mark.


There’s nothing like it.