It is the first head coaching job on the NFL level for Pettine, a longtime defensive coach, but the second head coach hiring in as many years for Browns owner Jimmy Haslam.
“We are thrilled to announce Mike Pettine as the new head coach of the Cleveland Browns,” Haslam said at Thursday’s press conference announcing the hiring. (Has an owner ever not be thrilled at one of these?) “Mike is the epitome of what we want the Browns to be — tough, aggressive and innovative — with a blue-collar, team-first mentality. He knows what’s necessary to beat teams in the AFC North. Most importantly, Mike has repeatedly shown the ability to lead his players to consistent improvement and success, clearly what we are striving for as he leads the Cleveland Browns moving forward.”
Pettine hit all the right notes in his introductory news conference, but there is no way of knowing, yet, if he is the coach who will finally get things turned around for the Browns. After all, the Browns have now hired nine head coaches under three different ownership groups since firing Marty Schottenheimer following the 1988 season and every one of them was supposed to be “the guy.” And, for a variety of reasons, every single one of them failed.
So why will Pettine be different?