On top of a the training facility in Berea, Ohio, orange and brown smoke begins to disseminate while the eagar crowds of Browns fans gather at the entrance - eagarly awaiting the announcement. A multi-billionaire named Randy Lerner emerges from the balcony to deliver the good news to the Cleveland faithful:
The thousands on hand errupt in wild cheers and celebrations - for the Browns have selected their 15th head coach in franchise history: Eric Mangini.
I've got to say, it's been a long time since it felt this good to be a Browns fan. While CBS writers Mike Freeman and Pete Prisco may disagree, Randy Lerner's hiring of Eric Mangini was the best possible move the Browns could have made.
In Mangini, you get a bright, young head coach with the pedigree and wherewithal to make a long-lasting impact in the organization. You get a coach with the experience necessary to handle situations with dignity and class. Simply put, you get one of the brightest football minds in the game.
While Eric Mangini coached under Bill Belichick, Bill did everything in his power to keep his bright young student in house. He repeatedly asked Mangini to decline coaching interviews, and for years he did. Belichick was also the one to give Eric his start in coaching - having him break down film while the two coached in Cleveland at the tender age of 23. If Bill sees enough upside to want Mangini by his side, I have no doubts as to whether or not he's a capable coach.
It's been rumored his players didn't like him in New York. Fine. Ask any given player who played under Parcells early in his career and I guarantee you wouldn't want children around for the response. Head coaches are not necessarily supposed to be loved by their players. They are master motivators designed to get maximum effort out of a given group of guys. To say players don't like him does little to determine how successful a coach he may turn out to be.
Look, everyone makes mistakes. I hate to use the Belichick analogy again, but he was hated and looked down upon right after he finished his stint in Cleveland. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone using the words "genius" or "legend" back then as they so freely do today.
I have complete confidence that Mangini is the right man for this job. He will learn from his mistakes in New York and lead the Browns exactly where they are destined to be.