Don’t want to make too much out of one half of one season, but it looks like the Cleveland Browns made the right decision to hire Kevin Stefanski over Jim Schwartz and Josh McDaniels.
It’s been 18 years since the Browns made the playoffs. Tim Couch was the quarterback, Stefanski was a junior safety at Penn. After a tumultuous 2019 season in which the Browns underachieved (again), owner Jim Haslem fired Freddie Kitchens and turned to Stefanski, whose first NFL coaching experience was working as a summer intern for the Eagles in 2005. Stefanski had been Minnesota’s offensive coordinator.
Cleveland was 6-10 last season under Kitchens. The Browns are 6-3 this year. Despite having twice as many wins as the NFC-East leading Eagles, however, they are on the wrong end of the AFC playoff bubble. But progress is being made.
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This will be the second week in a row the Eagles play against a team coached by a Philly-area native. Last week, they lost to the Giants’ Joe Judge (Lansdale Catholic). This week they get Stefanski, a Wayne native who attended St. Joseph’s Prep before helping Penn win three Ivy League titles.
So let’s take a deeper dive into where the NFL’s 32 head coaches have come from.
Listed with last school attended
Quarterback (9): Bruce Arians (Virginia Tech), Jon Gruden (Dayton), Joe Judge (Mississippi State), Kliff Kingsbury (Texas Tech), Matt Nagy (Delaware), Sean Payton (East Illinois), Doug Pederson (Northeast Louisiana), Frank Reich (Maryland), Zac Taylor (Nebraska).
Running back (1): Anthony Lynn (Texas Tech).
Wide receiver (4): Matt LaFleur (Western Michigan), Sean McVay (Miami-Ohio), Kyle Shanahan (Texas), Mike Tomlin (William and Mary).
Tight end (1): Mike McCarthy (Baker U.).
Offensive lineman (4): Bill Belichick (Wesleyan), Doug Marrone (Syracuse), Matt Patricia (RPI), Andy Reid (BYU).
Defensive lineman (1): Romeo Crennel (Western Kentucky).
Linebacker (5): Brian Flores (Boston College), Matt Rhule (Penn State), Ron Rivera (California), Mike Vrabel (Ohio State), Mike Zimmer (Illinois State).
Defensive back (5): Pete Carroll (Pacific), John Harbaugh (Miami-Ohio), Sean McDermott (William and Mary), Raheem Morris (Hofstra), Kevin Stefanski (Penn).
Did not play in college (2) (H.S. position): Vic Fangio (defensive back), Adam Gase (tight end).
Offensive side of ball: 20.
Defensive side of ball: 12.
Black head coaches (5): Romeo Crennel (interim, Houston), Brian Flores (Miami), Anthony Lynn (L.A. Chargers), Raheem Morris (interim, Atlanta), Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh).
Latino head coach (1): Ron Rivera (Washington).
White head coaches (26): Everyone else.
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Where the 32 NFL head coaches were born.
California (4): Pete Carroll, San Francisco; Sean Payton, San Mateo; Andy Reid, Los Angeles; Ron Rivera, Fort Ord.
Illinois (1): Mike Zimmer, Peoria.
Michigan (2): Adam Gase, Ypsilanti; Matt LaFleur, Mount Pleasant.
Minnesota (1): Kyle Shanahan, Minneapolis.
Nebraska (1): Sean McDermott, Omaha.
New Jersey (3): Bruce Arians, Paterson; Raheem Morris, Newark; Matt Nagy, Dunellen.
New York (5): Brian Flores, Brooklyn; Doug Marrone, Bronx; Matt Patricia, Sherrill; Frank Reich, Freeport; Matt Rhule, New York.
Ohio (4): Jon Gruden, Sandusky; John Harbaugh, Perrysville; Sean McVay, Dayton; Mike Vrabel, Akron.
Oklahoma (1): Zac Taylor, Norman.
Pennsylvania (4): Vic Fangio, Dunmore; Joe Judge, Philadelphia; Mike McCarthy, Pittsburgh; Kevin Stefanski, Wayne.
Tennessee (1): Bill Belichick, Nashville.
Texas (2): Kliff Kingsbury, San Antonio; Anthony Lynn, McKinney.
Virginia (2): Romeo Crennel, Lynchburg; Mike Tomlin, Hampton.
Washington (1): Doug Pederson, Bellingham.
(Career games in parentheses)
Mike Vrabel, LB (206), Ron Rivera, LB (137), Frank Reich, QB (118), Doug Pederson, QB (100), Anthony Lynn, RB (83), Doug Marrone, OL (5), *Sean Payton, QB (3), Kliff Kingsbury, QB (1).
*Payton’s appearances were as a strike-replacement player in 1987.