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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Ranking the Browns’ 15 Head Coaches Since 1946

The Cleveland Browns had eight head coaches in their first 49 years of existence (1946-1995).

The Browns parted ways with Mike Pettine and now the search for their eighth head coach since 1999 begins.

We at NEO Sports Insiders decided to rank the coaches of the proud, historic franchise. Feel free to disagree. We’ll start with the good, move to the bad, and finish with the ugly.

The Good

1. Paul Brown (1946-1962)

How could anyone other than Brown be number one? The team is named after him. He went 167-53-8 in 17 seasons when you combine playoff and regular season records.

Brown won four AAFC championships and three NFL championships. There may never be another coach of his caliber in Cleveland, but the recent version of the Cleveland professional football franchise has done nothing, but dishonor his good name.

2. Blanton Collier (1963-1970)

Collier had some big shoes to fill, taking over as head coach after Brown, but had a successful career, winning the 1964 NFL championship and winning three Eastern Conference titles.

No coach since has brought a title to Cleveland,in any major sport.


3. Marty Schottenheimer (1984-1988)

Schottenheimer was there for some of Cleveland’s worst sports memories, but he also led the franchise to more success than most coaches in the 76-year history.

The Browns went 47-31 under Schottenheimer, winning the AFC Central Division three times, and appeared in the AFC Championship game twice, losing to Denver both times.

4. Sam Rutigliano (1978-1984)

Rutigliano’s time with the Browns was not all good, as he was fired midway through the 1984 season, but he did lead the Browns to an AFC Central Division title in 1980 and two playoff-berths. Both times, they fell to the Raiders.

5. Nick Skorich (1971-1975)

Skorich is not exactly a household name, but he led the Browns to two playoff appearances in the early 1970s. The Browns won the AFC Central Division in 1971, but lost in the playoffs to the Baltimore Colts.

The next season, Skorich led the Browns to a 10-4 record, earning a wild card spot. They fell to the Miami Dolphins 20-14, who went unbeaten in 1972.

bill browns

6. Bill Belichik (1991-1995)

He’s now known as one of the greatest coaches in the history of the NFL, but it was far from smooth sailing when he started his head coaching career in Cleveland.

He went 37-45, but did win a playoff game in 1994, ironically against the New England Patriots. Who knows where the Browns would be if he was still in Cleveland?

7. Bud Carson (1989-1990)

Carson lasted less than two seasons in Cleveland, but his first year was a success, leading the Browns to the AFC Central Division title.

The Browns would advance to the AFC Championship Game and lose yet again to Denver. The next season he was fired.

8. Butch Davis (2001-2004)

Davis may not be remembered fondly because his finish in Cleveland was not pretty, but he’s the only coach since the team returned to reach the postseason.

Even if they did make it with just a record of 9-7, it brought more joy to Browns fans than anything else the franchise has accomplished in the last 20 years.

9. Forrest Gregg (1975-1977)

Gregg only lasted two and a half seasons in Cleveland, but in 1976, he led the Browns to a 9-5 record and was named the AP Coach of the Year.

The Bad

Coach Romeo Crennel Cleveland Browns

10. Romeo Crennel (2005-2008)

The one bright spot for Crennel was the 10-6 season in 2007, but the Browns still fell short of the playoffs. He never won more than six games in his other three seasons.

11. Eric Mangini (2009-2010)

Mangini’s first year looked like it would be nothing short of a disaster, starting 1-11 in the first 12 games, but his team rattled off four wins in a row to end the season, giving fans a little bit of hope for the future.

The next year his team went 5-11 again, and he was out the door.

The Ugly

12. Rob Chudzinski (2013)

Chud only got one year to prove he belonged. He didn’t have a lot to work with, but going 4-12, and losing 10 of the last 11 games led to the end of his short tenure.

13. Chris Palmer (1999-2000)

Palmer had the luck, fourtune, and opportunity of being the first coach of the expansion-era Browns.

He went 5-27. It’s hard to imagine anyone could have done any better.

14. Mike Pettine (2014-2015)

Pettine’s two seasons in Cleveland were a roller coaster. The second half of it was a runaway train off the rails.

After starting 7-4, Pettine lost 18 of his final 21 games. He preached toughness and wanted his team to “Play Like a Brown”… That they did, Mike. That they did.


15. Pat Shurmur (2011-2012)

The only silver lining for Pettine is that he wasn’t quite as bad as Shurmur. Shurmur looked overwhelmed from the day he arrived in Berea.

He went 9-23 in two seasons. His highlights include losing six straight to end the 2011 season and starting 0-5 in 2012.

Let’s see where the next lucky contestant winds up.

Matt Medley is co-editor at NEO Sports Insiders, covers the Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland Indians and high school sports in Northeast Ohio. Follow @MedleyHoops on Twitter for live updates from games.

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