A little late today for some real life reasons. Additionally, I’ll have SOBO back next week. For now, I’m (still) intrigued by the Tom Heckert/Mike Lombardi/Joe Banner/Tony Grossi talk. Yesterday, FSO’s Pat McManamon offered a bit of a caution towards the Lombardi train:
But then again, there was little definitive – which mostly aligns with what Banner has said all along. By most accounts, this could just be posturing from most of the parties involved. In this case, Reboot MVP PDX SCOTT makes an even more significant point:
in summary, grossi calls banner an insecure little man. if banner swaps heckert for the likes of lombardi, that’s exactly what banner is. if banner decides to keep heckert (in any part because he doesn’t want to be known as the insecure little man), grossi’s opinion wins out.
well played, tony.
Although on the surface, I would guess that Banner is far more secure in his position as Team Everything – especially considering that he is part of the Browns’ ownership group. Whatever decision he ultimately makes regarding Heckert (or lack of a decision as we talked about yesterday) could be considered as more of a mandate than anything else. And while Grossi’s pen is still a powerful force in Cleveland, Banner has already become a organizational fixture and on a personal note, has already dealt with agenda-based media in Philadelphia.
However, PDX SCOTT’s point is interesting in that from a purely subjective standpoint, Banner could be pointing himself into a corner – at least by not more adamantly denying the Lombardi rumors. Certainly, the possibility exists that Banner benefits from subtly introducing the idea that Heckert has GM competition. When it comes time to arranging the fine details of Heckert’s 2013 return, this can prove more important. And as we mentioned yesterday, certainly Lombardi’s strange credibility as an NFL analyst only improves with his being linked to another NFL job – regardless of whether genuine intent actually existed.
As for Grossi – I still say that his agenda is one based more on access than anything else. Granted, Grossi – just like anyone remotely connected to the Browns – garners more attention and security when the Browns are an actual contender. However, the Browns’ constant front office switches over the past decade have proven difficult for reporters like Grossi to maintain the kind of access needed to deliver quality stories. Keeping Heckert provides some continuity of another kind – a familiar line of access for Grossi and others – something that can easily erode if Banner brings in another GM.
The wild cards here are of course Heckert – who could probably land another GM role with a comparable job description – either in 2013 or in the near future. Knowing this, Heckert probably realizes that he doesn’t have to settle for a reduced role under Banner.
Yet, the most fascinating person in this quadrangle is Banner – who probably holds more real power than any Browns’ executive since Carmen Policy. In over a month from now, we’ll realize the effects of Banner’s power – but at the moment, it’s intriguing to watch the city’s top beat reporter take on the new boss. In a city where both media and fans hold considerable sway over team decisions (The Bus Trip to Hell and Dawg Pound Mike are two recent examples), Banner can make a significant statement about executive power by simply ignoring the popular media and fan sentiment that has swelled over the past few days.
On this final point, it’s tragic and funny in a purely “only in Cleveland way” to remember that the Browns’ greatest need of the past decade was a “serious, credible leader” – one who could actually organize the Browns’ front office and create a functioning system of management. And after so many expensive failures and after Randy Lerner’s tepid ownership created the malaise of the past decade, the Browns may have finally found this person in Banner.
And now that he’s here, we don’t want him to do anything.
Most Browns’ fans are fully behind keeping Heckert and even over the past two weeks, an inexplicable surge in Pat Shurmur popularity has manifested. However, in a “be careful what you wish for” moment, the leader the Browns have needed for a long time has finally arrived – only a decade too late.
Anyway, if you’re still up – leave your thoughts in the COMMENTS at the bottom of the page. PICKS tomorrow if you’re into that sort of thing.