Dee and Jimmy Haslam celebrate their 10th anniversary as co-owners of the Cleveland Browns this year.
Back in 2012, the NFL unanimously approved their $1 billion bid for the storied franchise.
And why not?
Here was a successful business couple with experience as partial owners of another storied franchise.
Top stories of 2012, No. 1: Jimmy Haslam buys the Browns http://t.co/pFRfgGYL
— clevelanddotcom (@clevelanddotcom) December 29, 2012
But their Pittsburgh Steelers experience didn’t really prepare the Haslams for what was in store.
As reported by Nick Ulrich of CantonRep.com, Jimmy Haslam recently told reporters:
“We did a lousy job at first,” Jimmy Haslam said. “I mean, let’s just face it. It’s probably fair to say we didn’t know what we were doing. In some ways, I go, ’10 years, we haven’t won very many games.’ So I look at it that way.”
Dee Haslam agreed with that assessment, calling the experience “a hard 10 years.”
#Browns Haslam: "the feeling when we won on Sunday was like when we won AFC Champ in Pittsburgh. It's incredible.''
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) October 17, 2012
Cleveland boasts a 52-108-1 (.323) record during the Haslam regime.
And even if you remove the infamous 1-31 stretch as a fluke, the Browns own a dismal .398 winning percentage.
What Went Wrong For The Haslams?
Speaking at the recent NFL Ownership Meetings, Jimmy Haslam admitted he thought things would be easier.
And he blamed the Steelers for lulling him into a false sense of security.
During the Haslams’ Pittsburgh adventure, Ben Roethlisberger and Troy Polamalu hit their prime.
The minority owners received Super Bowl rings before they finished paying for their share of the organization.
If John Dorsey gets fired, that’ll make 5 GMs and 6 head coaches fired by Jimmy Haslam since he bought the Browns in 2012.
— Chris Trapasso (@ChrisTrapasso) December 31, 2019
Pittsburgh’s success went beyond players, with an excellent coaching staff and administration in place.
Jimmy Haslam rolled through a plethora of coaches, general managers, and other executives since 2012.
Patience was not a virtue associated with the Haslams, but at least Jimmy kept looking for a winning combo.
His reputation suffered, however, as observers inside and outside the team questioned Haslam’s leadership style.
Are Things Looking Up For the Haslams?
Something is happening in Berea this season that never happened before under the Haslams.
The leadership trio of Paul DePodesta, Andrew Berry, and Kevin Stefanski are starting their third season together.
They are the first management group to survive beyond 2 seasons since the last ownership change.
It says something about rising expectations that last year’s 8-9 record was a huge disappointment.
— Brad Stainbrook (@StainbrookNFL) August 21, 2020
Cleveland had their first winning season under the Haslams in 2020, the year Berry and Stefanski came on board.
That season saw Cleveland win a playoff game against the hated former team of the Browns owners.
But not so much as a whispered rumor of a coaching change surfaced after injuries and other issues derailed 2021.
Such continuity in the front office and coach’s ranks could spark the overdue success of the Haslams’ reign.