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.
On Monday afternoon, the Cleveland Browns’ front office announced they would be relieving head coach Hue Jackson of his duties. This marks the sixth time since 2010 the Browns have fired their head coach after a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is justified by Sunday’s game, which was one of the ugliest games in recent memory. Jackson is notorious for leading his teams to competitive games, only to lose in the final minutes of the 4th quarter. This time, the Browns faced a three-touchdown deficit with under a minute to play. A last-minute touchdown drive against a cruising Steelers’ defense brought the score to a more respectable number, but the damage was already done. The day of reckoning had passed, and Jackson failed yet again.
Both local and national media publications are aggressively criticizing Jackson for his unsuccessful stint in Cleveland. The combination of his numbers (three wins and one tie in 40 games, good for a winning percentage of .088) and his constant mishandling of adversity made Jackson an easy target for frustrated writers and analysts. Terry Pluto (2018) of Cleveland.com wrote that this action “won’t make things any worse” (para. 13), while SB Nation’s Ryan Van Bibber (2018) asserted that “Hue survived by creating chaos and then positioning himself as a victim and the one person who can clean it all up” (para. 36). In perhaps the most opinionated piece, Pluto’s colleague Doug Lesmerises (2018) took several digs at Jackson, including “anyone could have done better” (para. 10), “every single problem Jackson faced for 2 1/2 seasons, he took and made it worse” (para. 19), and “the future of the Browns is brighter today because Jackson isn’t part of it” (para. 33).
Local media members will continue to take their shots at Jackson this week, then turn their attention towards interim head coach Gregg Williams as he prepares the team for a match-up against the AFC-best Kansas City Chiefs. Williams has not been a head coach since 2003. For now, Cleveland fans will do what they always do: tune in on Sunday afternoon and hope their beloved Brownies can somehow pull out a rare victory. This is potentially the most discouraged fan base across all major sports, and the loyal fans simply deserve better. As NFL teams progress through the back half of the season, there will be one question looming in the back of the minds of fans, players, and media members. For many people, it will be a rallying cry; for Browns fans, it will be a cry of desperation. As they try to salvage another disappointing season, Browns fans will be among many asking the all-important question: who’s next?
Lesmerises, D. (2018, October 29). Hue Jackson fired by the Browns, and no coach ever deserved it more. Cleveland.com. Retrieved from https://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/2018/10/hue_jackson_fired_by_the_brown.html
Pluto, T. (2018, October 29). Hue Jackson’s firing should set up John Dorsey to pick new Browns coach. Cleveland.com. Retrieved from https://www.cleveland.com/sports/columns/2018/10/hue-jacksons-firing-should-set-up-john-dorsey-to-pick-new-browns-coach-terry-pluto.html
Van Bibber, R. (2018, October 29). Hue Jackson finally ran out of excuses for the Browns being terrible. SBNation. Retrieved from https://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2018/10/29/18035166/cleveland-browns-hue-jackson-todd-haley-hot-seat-rumors-excuses-losses-steelers