To derive happiness from the shortfalls of others is really very unbecoming in life. Then again, the yin and yang are important because without ups, there could be no downs and without unhappiness there could be no such thing as happiness.
You know; elementary philosophy and all that.
As the Browns head into “The Battle for Ohio” this week against the 2-11 Bengals, we shouldn’t waste any pity on them or their fans. They probably don’t want it even if we felt like giving it to them. The Browns are 1.5-point underdogs as I write this, so it isn’t like Browns fans have a whole lot to crow about other than a better record on the way to also missing the playoffs. None of this means that I can’t muster a bit of a back-handed compliment for Randy Lerner as I think about Mike Brown’s reign over the Bengals.
Randy Lerner will hopefully deserve some real praise of the “not-so-back-handed” variety as the Mike Holmgren era plays out. Regardless of what Holmgren does with Mangini’s future there is hope that the Browns finally have the right structure in place this time. Prior to that, we all know the type of dysfunction that ran rampant through the Browns. Butch Davis ousting predecessors before being fired. Romeo Crennel and Phil Savage. Savage’s power struggles with front office people, the coaching staff and finally the fans. Regardless of the mistakes and how many times Lerner compounded them, he kept trying new things, sparing no expense in an attempt to dig the Browns out.
Contrast that with Mike Brown’s Bengals. Brown will not hire a general manager. The team never seems to get ahead with draft picks and scouting. Let’s not sugarcoat this. Mike Brown’s Wikipedia entry has a bullet point entitled “Frugality.”
Remember the Shaun Rogers trade? Remember that Shaun Rogers was a “done deal” from Detroit to the Bengals just days before according to the Associated Press for 3rd and 5th round draft picks. Somehow that deal fell through after being reported in the media, probably due to money. The Browns ended up being beneficiaries as they traded Leigh Bodden and a 3rd round choice to bring Rogers to the Browns. Randy Lerner despite whatever you might not like about him opened the bank book for Rogers to the tune of 6 years and $42 million with $20 million in guarantees.
And that is just one example. Randy Lerner paid George Kokinis to end that debacle. He paid Romeo Crennel and Phil Savage to end that debacle. Certainly, you would prefer not to create so many debacles, but at least Lerner didn’t just sit on them and wait them out.
In the media, Marvin Lewis never finds himself on the hot seat. At times he has been seen as a good coach in Cincy. In 2009 he won coach of the year honors. Before that though, there were times when Lewis easily could have found himself on the hot seat, except nobody bothered to talk about it. They wouldn’t talk about it because nobody thought owner Mike Brown would fire a guy in the middle of his contract and pay two coaches. Even if they want Lewis back, who knows if he will want to subject himself to more years of mismanagement from the top down?
Let’s hope Randy Lerner got it right this time and in light of our opponent this weekend, appreciate that he doesn’t have a bullet point labeled “Frugality” in his Wikipedia entry.