The Cleveland Browns football team is primarily recognized by their failure. This is the sad truth of a team that has had close to no success since the late 1950s and early 1960s era led by Jim Brown, and they have zero Super Bowl wins or appearances to their record.
The Browns are one of the few teams to have never even come close to reaching being champions of the NFL since the Super Bowl era.
After years of drafting busts in the first round and disappointing decisions by the front office, there is new hope in Cleveland, largely surrounding the revamped front office of the Browns.
In December 2017, the Browns hired an average GM in John Dorsey, who was recently fired by the Kansas City Chiefs. Dorsey “mutually parted ways” a mere 2 years after he was signed, largely due to a culture shift the Haslems wanted to bring into the front office.
Dorsey did make some solid picks in his time, most notably Nick Chubb, Baker Mayfield, and Myles Garett. All have had some form of success and are primed for fantastic seasons this coming year, yet Dorsey failed to lead the Browns anywhere close to a playoff berth.
And this is where the story begins. In January 2020, the Cleveland Browns made history by signing the youngest GM in NFL history. Andrew Berry had worked a few years in Cleveland as a higher-up executive but went to the Eagles for the 2019 season.
Berry returned to the Browns the following year, who were in need of a GM and a head coach. Berry then brought in Kevin Stefanski from the Minnesota Vikings, an offensive-minded coach who was a primary factor in the Vikings playoff run.
Before I go any further, a little on Andrew Berry. Berry was a Harvard graduate who majored in Economics. That’s right, a general manager in sports, who majored in Economics. For any sports movie fans, does that sound familiar to you? I’ll get to that very soon.
But, Berry found a way into the league, using advanced metrics and economics, of course, to land him a front-office job straight out of college with the Indianapolis Colts, as a scout. He then became the pro scouting coordinator of the Colts, which led to his first appearance with the Browns.
The point is, Berry is a smart guy who has his own perspective of what a Super Bowl contending team should consist of.
Now, sports movie fans, the answer to this piece of trivia was Paul DePodesta, a.k.a Peter Brand in the award-winning film ‘Moneyball’. DePodesta was hired as the Chief Strategy Officer for the Cleveland Browns back in 2016.
Most people don’t even know the guy who brought statistics into sports was on the Cleveland Browns, let alone any sports team, but I believe this is mainly because of the front office culture he was surrounded by from 2016 to 2020.
John Dorsey is an old-fashioned type of guy. He believes in truly scouting the players, by which I mean trying to see who COULD score more touchdowns, rather than who DOES score more touchdowns in a much more efficient manner, for example.
The hiring of Andrew Berry changes that. The Haslems have paired two statistically empowered masterminds together. The decisions made so far by the newly revamped Browns front office aren’t as abrupt and shocking as the moves made by the Moneyball Athletics back in ‘01.
In fact, the Cleveland Browns aren’t even short on money, which was the driving force of the ‘01 culture swing with the Athletics. The truth is, money was only half of the Billy Beane – Paul DePodesta combination, the other being statistics in sports.
Obviously, we don’t know what Andrew Berry and DePodesta, his right-hand man, are brewing together up in Cleveland, but what we do know for sure is this: The Cleveland Browns have a terrific, future-oriented duo in Berry and DePodesta.
There is suddenly a spark of hope generating in Cleveland, and for the sake of the Browns, let’s hope it all pans out this time around.
Photo Credit: The Game Haus