Geography should not drive the Browns coaching search
One of the downsides to the Cleveland Browns missing on (or passing on, depending on your perspective) hiring Chip Kelly as their next coach is the rumor mill has cranked up again over who the team will eventually hire.
While the Browns may be looking at Lovie Smith, Ken Whisenhunt and Ray Horton, among others, the same tired names are once again being thrown out there: Bill Cowher (not happening) and Jon Gruden (holy crap, no), with some starting their annual bleating for Jim Tressel (holy crap, no, times two).
The main thing that bugs about Gruden and Tressel in particular, and Josh McDaniels before he said he was staying in New England, despite them not being good NFL coaches (or in Tressel’s case an NFL coach in any way), is one of geography.
Namely, the Browns shouldn’t look to hire a coach simply because they grew up in Ohio. Simply put, it’s not what real NFL teams do.
Consider that of the 16 teams that made the playoffs this year, only one, Houston with Gary Kubiak, was coached by someone who grew up in the state where they now work.
Of the rest, two came from Pennsylvania (Marvin Lewis and Mike McCarthy), the Harbaugh brothers are from Ohio, Mike Smith and Mike Shanahan hail from Illinois, Pete Carroll is from California, Chuck Pagano is from Colorado, Leslie Frazier grew up in Mississippi, John Fox is from Virginia and Bill Belichick grew up in Tennessee.
But, somehow, their teams all managed to survive and win despite their coaches not “understanding” the area.
Ohio might be the heart of it all, but the Browns need to hire the best coach they can find – no matter where they come from.