Can Holmgren fire Mangini now?
Five weeks ago it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the Cleveland Browns, would fire Head Coach Eric Mangini. When Mike Holmgren was introduced as the President of Football Operations, it seemed to be a virtual lock that Mangini would be updating his resume, hunting around monster.com for a new NFL gig. Then something surprising happened, the Browns went out and won their final four games. Sure we cold debate how much that means since the wins came against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, and the Jacksonville Jaguars. However they did win, and in the end that is why they play the games each Sunday.
Let us look at this another way. At the end of the 2000 season the Detroit Lions and interim Head Coach Gary Moehler were a field goal away from making the NFL Playoffs. In comes new President of Football operations Matt Millen, who fires Moehler before giving him a fair shake. He then went onto hire Marty Mornhinweg and two things happened, the first is we know have the Rooney Rule where NFL teams must interview a minority candidate, and the Lions became the laughing stock of the NFL. I am betting that Holmgren is a lot smarter than Matt Millen ever hoped to be.
The fact here is Mangini, through all the problems and distractions of the 2009, has earned a shot at another season. No one can dismiss a four game winning streak, and add a few players via the draft and free agency maybe this team can enter the 2010 season with a little momentum. In 1997 the Atlanta Falcons won five of their final six games, and rode that hot streak all the way to the Super Bowl the next season.
Holmgren would be foolish to pull the carpet out from under Mangini so quickly. He should spend the 2010 season evaluating what is going on within the Brown’s organization, and then make a better more informed decision later.