Some may say the Cleveland Browns have been cursed for decades. Whether that regards the drought of wins, lack of playoff appearances or continuous change of head coaches, there is much evidence to back up that statement. While at one point there seemed to be no light at the end of the tunnel for the Dawg Pound, the 2020 season proved otherwise.
Not only did the Browns roster significantly improve in the 2020 season, but there seemed to be an increased sense of leadership on the sideline. Much of that can be attributed to head coach Kevin Stefanski.Is Kevin Stefanski the Cure for the Cleveland Browns Curse?
Originally, Stefanski spent much of his NFL career at the Minnesota Vikings, helping form TE Kyle Rudolph and WR Stefon Diggs into all-around success stories. After completing numerous positions with the Vikings for 13 years, Stefanski made the courageous, but promising, move to Cleveland. Much work was waiting to be done, but Browns fans were confident in the fresh start.
Ironically, Cleveland is used to “fresh starts” in the head coach position. In the past three years, the Browns have had three different head coaches: Hue Jackson, followed by interim head coach Greg Williams and Freddie Kitchens. Although these coaches failed to provide a start to a winning legacy for the Browns, the selection of QB Baker Mayfield and WR Odell Beckham Jr. was a start in the right direction.Instant Success With Stefanski
After one season as head coach, Stefanski has already crushed the memories of how bad the Browns were in recent years. With a record of 11-5 and a visit to the AFC Divisional Round game against the Kansas City Chiefs , the Browns were essentially rebranding the entire program. This much success had not been seen since 1994.
Not only do the statistics look good, but the buzz around the Browns sounds even better. During the 2020 season, Stefanski installed an offense that focused on rushing and play-action, centered around zone-blocking strategies. Many NFL gurus acknowledged the success of this vision, even inviting Stefanski to be entered into the discussion of Coach of the Year.
Aside from the creations of new plays and strategies on the field, Stefanski has gained a multitude of respect from the entire Browns organization off the field. Cleveland fans sure can remember the blaming phase Jackson went through when the Browns were falling apart three years ago. Stefanski has ensured to lead by example and take the blame where the blame falls.
Let’s face it, the Browns and Stefanski still have a lot to prove. A successful organization includes years of postseason runs. The promising way to look at the future is Stefanski already led Cleveland to the playoffs in his first season. Heck, the Browns beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 48-37 in the NFL Wild Card Round. Would the Browns really do that two years ago? Simply put, no.
Stefanski is good for the Browns. He has extinguished the dreaded winning drought that cursed Cleveland. All that is left to do is wait and hope that he is cooking up something even better for the 2021 season.