So far, so good. That’s about all you can say about Jimmy Haslam’s entrance into the NFL as owner of the Cleveland Browns. Haslam just completed what seemed like a perfect press conference. Don’t mistake this for a Dixie cup full of Kool-Aid, but given his limited opportunities, Haslam has done everything pretty much right unless you’re already bummed about Joe Banner.
Speaking of Banner, Haslam is handling the potentially-messy transition pretty much perfectly, at least from the outside looking in. Mike Holmgren will stay on for the rest of the year and work with Joe Banner during the transition. Haslam said that transitions are best when there’s some overlap between the outgoing and the incoming people, and that’s just common sense. There’s no telling if it will actually work and if Holmgren and Banner will achieve a clean transition, but it sounds good right now.
Also, Haslam protected Holmgren a bit, I think when he spoke of the role that he was thrust into. “Mike was brought in to be the President, and I think, in a lot of ways, the de facto owner.” That isn’t necessarily a shot at Randy Lerner, but I think it insulates Mike Holmgren for additional criticism and/ or mockery he might have faced on the way out the door.
Haslam also said all the right things regarding Pat Shurmur. Haslam said that he has a good relationship with the coach. He told the coach that they wouldn’t make any decisions until the end of the year, but that they will evaluate everyone at the end of every year. In the NFL that’s about as good a guarantee as any head coach gets anyway. Additionally, Haslam said he told Shurmur to just “get the team ready” and “win as many games as possible,” while adding, “and let me know if we can do anything to help.”
Changes? What other team changes will be on the table? According to Haslam today, everything but the helmet.
Love that Jimmy Haslam said that everything is open for change “except the helmet.” Brother already gets the fans.
Last, but not least, Jimmy Haslam said that he and his ownership group won’t be perfect. They will make mistakes, but he hopes that none will be “fatal” and that any of them can be corrected quickly.
Again, in practice, we’ll see, but today, right now, given what we know, it is a professional and proper plan.
I can’t stress a few things enough. Jimmy Haslam had a near-perfect press conference. He thanked everyone. He laid out an initial plan that doesn’t sound particularly messy on the surface. All that being said, an initial press conference is just that. It is good P.R. and nothing more, really. Now’s the time where Jimmy Haslam and his family have to start backing it up with positive actions that will actually – positively – change this franchise.
At least for day one, Jimmy Haslam has already improved the Browns ownership from pretty much any objective measurement. It’s a bit of a back-handed compliment because it should always be this easy from a P.R. standpoint. Our previous experience just goes to show how difficult it has been out of Berea. Still, we all know that this is just a small part of fixing the Browns. Here’s hoping he’s able to achieve the same level of success in every one of his maneuvers that he handled his opening press conference as Cleveland Browns owner.