Jack Brennen is back with the second installment of his Paul Brown veneration campaign.
As we said last week, we hope you'll budget a few minutes of your reading regimen to give this piece a try. We think you'll be glad you did, and that's our "extra point."
As a matter of fact, I did manage to carve out some time from my hectic Mike Brown-bashing schedule. Let's take a closer look at some of his offerings on the father.
After the 1962 season, Brown shockingly was ousted as Cleveland's coach. Despite his founder's status, he had never been the majority owner of the Browns, and he was shown the door just a year after Art Modell bought the franchise. "This can never be my team," Modell told Brown, as long as you are here."
There was a little more to it then that. I refer you again to Andrew O'Toole and his bio Paul Brown: The Rise and Fall and Rise Again of Football's Most Innovative Coach
. If you haven't read it already then you should, especially Chapter 10.
Brown made a major, major trade without consulting or even notifying the owner, Art Modell (Bobby Mitchell for Ernie Davis.) His players' discontent with the team's direction was becoming public knowledge. He traded away a good quarterback for a lesser one. And in many ways his unbending nature was catching up to him. O'Toole:
The natural course of change that occurs with each succeeding generation was obvious in the complaints that emanated from the Cleveland clubhouse. Brown's greatest success had been built on the back of men who had fought Hitler and Hirohito. The oppressive nature of Brown's coaching philosophy was not odious to these men, who had served their country under dire circumstances. Indeed, the culture had changed. The young men now charging into battle for Brown on Sunday afternoons were different from those who took the field in 1946, or 1950, for that matter. Blind faith in the head coach was a thing of the past, and Brown was slow to understand this transformation. He also refused to acknowledge the growing sense of independence found in the modern athlete. Who among the current crop of players had earned a championship with Brown? Paul may have been a legend, but to his players Brown's was a soft reputation. What have you done for me lately? This football genius was a thing of the past.
It wasn't so shocking, and Modell had his reasons.
I could go on forever, but I'll spare you guys most of my griping, for now. Let me just touch on two more things. First there's Brown's efforts at "breaking the color barrier". No argument here. He deserves much praise for that, but I'm focusing here on his wins and losses.
Second, there's Brown's historical coaching record. Brennan closed with a table that summarizes the man's career. Very helpful. I changed the breakouts a bit and added some columns. Take a look:
Note the decline in Brown's post-legendary period and how the trend continues on after his passing. This is even clearer when we chart it:
Referring back to the O'Toole passage, "what have you done for me lately"? The Paul Brown legacy is definitely on a downward slide. Judging by the trend, the winning percentage may be vanishingly small in the future, when the third generation is in charge. And it will be in the grand tradition of the franchise founder.
You may join in the PB procession if you so choose, but not this Bengals follower.