Which Successful NFL Coaches Have The Cleveland Browns Missed Out On?

Which Successful NFL Coaches Have The Cleveland Browns Missed Out On?
Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

The Cleveland Browns just wrapped up another season with a disappointing record across Ohio sports betting. At 7-10, the Browns were last in the AFC North division, trailing the Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Despite the poor record, Cleveland fans had to be glad to see head coach Kevin Stefanski keep his job with the club, as Cleveland management has generally done a poor job finding new coaches whenever they have a vacancy. In fact, it could be argued that Stefanski has been their only successful hire since 2010, as he is the only coach since that time to compile a (slightly) winning record at 26-24.

Coaching hires have simply been futile for the Browns since 2010 and BetOhio.com decided to look at just how bad it has been. 

Using ProFootballReference.com, we looked at each Browns head coach hired since 2010 to find their win percentage during their time in Cleveland. We then compared that to the record of other head coaches hired during the same offseason cycle when the Browns head coaching position was available.

The biggest sign of head coaching failure is constantly having to hire new coaches, and the Browns certainly find themselves guilty of that with six hires since 2010

Pat Shurmur (2011), Rob Chudzinski (2013), Mike Pettine (2014), Hue Jackson (2016), Freddie Kitchens (2019) and Stefanski (2020) make up the coaching roster from that time frame, and as mentioned only Stefanski has a winning record. 

Jackson, with a putrid winning percentage of .088%, has the worst record, with Kitchens’ .375% setting the ... high water mark outside of Stefanski. 

Keep tabs on BetOhio as Ohio betting apps look to the Browns' chances next season.

Browns’ Head Coaches Compared To Other Coaches Hired In Same Cycle

CoachYear HiredWin PercentageCoaches Hired Same Year With Better Win %
Pat Shurmur2011.281%7 of 7 coaches
Rob Chudzinski2013.250%6 of 7 coaches
Mike Pettine2014.313%4 of 6 coaches
Hue Jackson2016.088%6 of 6 coaches
Freddie Kitchens2019.375%6 of 7 coaches
Kevin Stefanski2020.520%1 of 4 coaches

The Hits Keep On Coming

Making things even worse for Browns fans has been the success of other coaches hired during these years.

Excluding 2020, there have been 33 coaches hired in the five years that Cleveland had a vacancy. Of those, 29 put together better records than the Cleveland quintet did in their time on the sidelines. Even adding Stefanski’s success, the record is still bleak. 

But to his credit, he currently has a better record than three of the other four coaches hired in the same offseason (Ron Rivera/Commanders; Joe Judge/Giants; and Matt Rhule/Panthers).

This is where things go from bad to worse. Of the coaches hired when the Browns also had an available position since 2011, eight of them have gone on to make an appearance in the Super Bowl, with two of them securing a Super Bowl title. 

Some notable names on the list include:

  • the Chiefs' Andy Reid (hired in 2013, when the Browns went with Chudzinski)
  • the Cardinals & Bucs' Bruce Arians (the Browns went with Chudzinski in '13 and then Kitchens in '19 over Arians)
  • the 49ers' Jim Harbaugh (hired in 2011; Browns hired Shurmur)
  • the Panthers and Commanders' Ron Rivera (Shurmur in 2011; Stefanski in 2020)
  • the Broncos' John Fox in 2011
  • the Eagles' Doug Pederson in 2016 when the Browns went with Hue Jackson

With most coaching vacancies arising on teams with poor records, all of these coaches have taken teams that were underperforming and found relative success and in many cases added much needed stability to the franchises.

With the franchise carrying such a poor track record, the odds certainly were stacked against Stefanski when he took the position with the Browns. He has done a solid job thus far, but with a losing record last year the pressure will be on him to outperform his predecessors this upcoming season. 

If not, he may join them as an undesirable statistic in a long history of head coaching failures in Cleveland.

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Cecil Peters
Senior Betting Analyst

Cecil Peters is a Senior Betting Analyst for BetOhio.com. A professional sports bettor in Canada, Cecil specializes in analyzing the latest odds impacting professional sports, particularly MLB and the NHL. He will be providing insight throughout the baseball season.

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