In the wake of the 2014 NFL Draft, there was a story that had surfaced that the ownership of the Cleveland Browns did a study of all the available quarterbacks that season and came to the conclusion that Teddy Bridgewater was the best quarterback available. Armed with this news, Browns’ ownership. . .promptly drafted Johnny Manziel instead. This worked out to the benefit of the Minnesota Vikings, as they selected Bridgewater with the last pick of the first round, and he appeared to be well on his way to becoming a franchise quarterback prior to his freak injury.
As we wait for action to kick off in Week 10 of the National Football League, a report has surfaced that the Browns went against the recommendations of their analytics department once again, and that it again appears to be to the Vikings’ benefit.
Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports is reporting that, when the Browns were searching for a head coach this offseason, their analytics department went to Browns’ ownership and told them that the best choice for the job was Vikings’ offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski. However, the Browns again went against their advice and went with Freddie Kitchens, who served as the Browns’ interim head coach last season following the firing of Hue Jackson.
Stefanski did receive two interviews with the Browns for their head coaching position, and the final decision reportedly came down to Stefanski and Kitchens, but the Browns wound up going with the coach they had some more familiarity with. Shortly after that second interview, when it became clear to Stefanski that the Browns were going with Kitchens, he returned to Minnesota as the offensive coordinator.
Things appear to have worked out pretty well for Stefanski, all things considered. The Vikings’ offense, for the most part, has been much better this season, with Dalvin Cook establishing himself as one of the league’s best running backs. In Cleveland, on the other hand, an offseason of hype has led to a record of just 2-6 through their first eight games.
If the Vikings’ offense continues to perform at the level they have through the first half of their season, the odds are pretty good that Stefanski will be a candidate for head coaching jobs again this offseason. If the Browns’ analytics department had gotten their way, he’d be a head coach right now.