David Dietrich is a second-year undergraduate student at Bowling Green State University. The Tiffin, Ohio native is a Sport Management major, with a minor in journalism. His primary sports interests are football, basketball, and baseball, at both collegiate and professional levels.
Following yet another close loss on Sunday, fans and media alike are wondering how much time Hue Jackson has left as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns. Many consider this Sunday’s match-up against the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers the day of reckoning for Jackson. This is primarily because the last five Browns coaches have been relieved of their duties after a game against Pittsburgh. This year, Jackson is in a very different situation than his predecessors. As ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Grossi (2018) points out, this game is only the Browns’ eighth of the year. The past five coaches were relieved of their duties after the last game of the year, coincidentally against Pittsburgh each time.
With a record of 3-35-1 over the past 3 seasons in Cleveland, it comes as no surprise that Jackson has not been portrayed as a savior by the local media. What is surprising is the recent increase in criticism for the man who has won twice as many games this season as in the previous two combined. Granted, that number is only two, but it is still an improvement for a young team playing in the very competitive AFC North. Phrases such as “the worst coach in all major sports” and “end of the road” are being posted on both local and national media sites (Gurzi, 2018, para. 11), and Jackson was criticized for saying he would “get this thing to where I think it needs to be” (Orr, 2018, para. 4).
After this postgame statement, rumors flew about Jackson taking over the play-calling duties. NFL.com (Teope, 2018) and CBSSports.com (Wilson, 2018), among others, reported that Jackson would contemplate this decision, leading Jackson to clear up his statements in Monday’s press conference. He asserted that he would not be taking over as the play-caller, telling reporters “I will infuse myself to help and assist our offensive coaching staff.” The lack of clarity in his original statements led to an influx of criticism for possibly the most criticized coach in the NFL.
Cleveland has lost three games by one field goal, and most of the blame is placed on the man in charge. Local media members like Tony Grossi and Terry Pluto have voiced frustration with the Browns, who have long struggled with inconsistent play. Grossi believes the 2018 Browns practice the same habits as last year’s team, despite having more talent. He writes about the Browns’ inability to manage critical situations, their lack of discipline and their fragile mentality, and Pluto (2018) bases Jackson’s future on the Browns’ upcoming offensive performance.
When multiple games are decided by one field goal, writers such as Grossi and Pluto are quick to blame the person in charge. Whether or not this is the case is up to the fans, but head coaches consistently take the blame. Hue Jackson is no different, but the Browns are seemingly the same. After the interpretation and report of his postgame remarks, Hue Jackson’s seat may finally be hot enough to melt the already thinning ice beneath him. This could ultimately, and in some eyes mercifully, end his tumultuous tenure in the “Hardland of America.”
Grossi, T. (2018, October 21). Just what Hue Jackson needs — a pre-Halloween date in Pittsburgh. ESPNCleveland. Retrieved from http://www.espn.com/blog/cleveland/post/_/id/5677/just-what-hue-jackson-needs-a-pre-halloween-date-in-pittsburgh
Gurzi, R. (2018, October 19). Cleveland Browns: Is Hue Jackson the worst coach in all major sports? Dawg Pound Daily. Retrieved from https://dawgpounddaily.com/2018/10/19/cleveland-browns-hue-jackson-worst-coach-major-sports/
Orr, C. (2018, October 22). Are we nearing the end of the road for Hue Jackson and the Cleveland Browns? Sports Illustrated. Retrieved from https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/10/22/hue-jackson-cleveland-browns-john-dorsey
Pluto, T. (2018, October 21). Cleveland Browns: Can Hue Jackson rescue the offense? Cleveland.com. Retrieved from https://www.cleveland.com/pluto/index.ssf/2018/10/cleveland_browns_can_hue_jacks_1.html
Teope, H. (2018, October 22.) Browns’ Hue Jackson mulls play-calling responsibilities. NFL.com. Retrieved from http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000977339/article/browns-hue-jackson-mulls-playcalling-responsibilities
Wilson, R. (2018, October 22). Hue Jackson’s plan to save the Browns: Possibly taking over play-calling duties from Todd Haley. CBSSports.com. Retrieved from https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/hue-jacksons-plan-to-save-the-browns-possibly-taking-over-play-calling-duties-from-todd-haley/