The Cleveland Browns made headlines yesterday when they fired head coach Eric Mangini after two 5-11 seasons. Mangini was the only coach to be fired on what is usually referred to as “Black Monday” in the NFL, as it is the first day after the completion of the regular season and a day when numerous coaches are normally fired after sub-par years.
“We want to win here. We do not win enough,” Browns president Mike Holmgren told the Associated Press after the move was made. Winning has been rare in Cleveland since the Browns returned to the NFL in 1999. The team has only played in one playoff game, a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2002, and only had two winning seasons (2002 and 2007) during that stretch.
The move comes despite the Browns apparent improvement this season, especially on the defensive side of the ball, and signs that they may have found their quarterback and running back of the future in Colt McCoy and Peyton Hillis. Despite the progress, Mangini was likely done in by the team fading down the stretch. They finished just 2-6 after upsetting the Saints and Patriots in back to back weeks. Ironically, it was the stretch run last season that may have saved Mangini’s job, as the Browns won four straight games to end the year at 5-11. That 5-11 record was a success, this one wasn’t.