SBD/January 16, 2014/Franchises

Zimmer Seen As Rational Choice For Vikings; Browns Owner Addresses Coaching Search

Zimmer's long track record has many saying a head coaching job was overdue
The Vikings tomorrow will introduce new coach Mike Zimmer, who was "believed to be one of three finalists, but the only one who got a second interview," according to Master Tesfatsion of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Zimmer had coached in the NFL for 20 seasons "without getting a head coaching job, and given the amount of praise he received on social media, many seemed to think the big promotion was overdue" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/16). In St. Paul, Tom Powers writes "personality-wise, the Vikings have hired the complete opposite" of fired coach Leslie Frazier, "just as we all knew they would." If there is "going to be a change, it might as well be a complete change" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 1/16). In Minneapolis, Jim Souhan writes while Vikings GM Rick Spielman "won't win any awards for creative thinking, he conducted a rational search and landed an intriguing candidate with a strong résumé." Spielman made a "safe choice, hiring a veteran coach with widespread success." Zimmer is a "promising hire," and in "this case, Spielman was right to think inside the box" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/16).

WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU? In Cleveland, Mary Kay Cabot noted Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam III yesterday sent a letter to season-ticket holders "explaining that the club is being patient in its coaching search and waiting to interview some coaches currently in the playoffs." Haslam wrote, "We have purposefully been very methodical in our approach. We believe it is very important to stay disciplined to this process and to interview all of the candidates on our list. ... We are prepared to wait as long as necessary because this is a very important decision. Everyone in our organization is committed to finding the right leader for our team" (CLEVELAND.com, 1/15). In Akron, Marla Ridenour writes under the header, "Jimmy Haslam’s Bland Letter Does Little To Soothe Souls Of Tortured Browns Fans." There was "none of the passion Haslam displayed at his introductory news conference" in August '12. There was "no hint of emotion over what transpired during a 4-12 season that cost first-year coach Rob Chud­zinski his job." Haslam's letter "read more like an admonishment of Browns critics" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 1/16). ESPN.com's Pat McManamon wrote sending a letter "is unusual, but the frustration from the fans also has been unusually high" (ESPN.com, 1/15).

TIMING IS EVERYTHING: ESPN's Keith Olbermann said the timing of the Vikings hiring Zimmer "couldn't be worse" for the Browns, because at "virtually the same hour ... Browns fans were getting a 'shut up' e-mail from their team." Olbermann: "In fact, it's a 'shut up' e-mail from the current future ex-owner of the Browns, Jimmy Haslam. With the rate he's burning through coaches and goodwill, he's likely to be invited to move to Baltimore or maybe even move this team to Baltimore by sometime next autumn" ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 1/15).
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