The Pittsburgh Steelers have had three head coaches in the last 40 years.
The last time I checked, the Cleveland Browns have had 13 head coaches (three on an interim basis) since Blanton Collier retired after the 1970 season, including the recently named Eric Mangini.
Do you need any more evidence for why the Steelers have produced better teams during such a lengthy period of time? Stability near the top usually means success on Sunday afternoons in the fall.
It's clear that Steelers management gets it when making critical choices. The Browns had it, then lost it and are still searching for "it."
Art Rooney Jr., one of late Steelers owner Art Rooney Sr.'s five sons, was asked recently why the organization has been so successful in hiring head coaches. His answer was simple. Find a coach you know can walk into a room full of players and command respect.
The answer reminded me of something I heard from a friend who covers the NFL for the "Star Tribune" in Minneapolis. He said the first time he met then-Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin in 2006, he was so impressed he knew Tomlin would be a head coach.
Tomlin did just that when he replaced Bill Cowher after the 2006 season, and no one regrets the move, especially fans of the team that's going for Super Bowl win number six Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. The transition from Cowher to Tomlin went as smooth as did the transition from Chuck Noll to Cowher in 1992.
Think about it. Three head coaches since 1969, shortly after Richard Nixon began his first term as President. The Browns are working on their fourth (not counting interim coach Terry Robiskie) since the franchise returned to the NFL in 1999 after a three-season hiatus.
Finding a coach that commands respect shouldn't be a novel idea for any owner of a NFL franchise. It seems so obvious, yet no one who has sat at the top of the Browns organization has fully grasped the idea.
Watching Tomlin handle himself at press conferences is like watching a great athlete come through in the clutch. He's in control, holds your attention and rarely lets anyone down.
I don't think anyone felt the same way about former Browns coach Romeo Crennel. He's as nice a man as you'd want to meet, but he didn't come across as a guy who could inspire players to do anything more than show up on game days.
Players should show up and then want to run through a brick wall. After they've cleared away the bricks, then they should expect to be greeted by a coach that seems, at the very least, somewhat excited about the effort given.
On the surface, Butch Davis seemed like he could gain respect during close to a four-year run as coach of the Browns. He had a tall, commanding presence, and being emotionally charged was never a problem. The problem, according to numerous accounts, was that Davis wasn't always upfront in his dealing with players, and they saw through him.
When I see Tomlin bump chests with a player after a good play, I think of Chris Palmer, who had the unenviable task of coaching the 1999 expansion Browns that were devoid of talent. During a cold-weather game late in his second and final season on the job, Palmer was bundled in multiple layers of clothing with a bulky hood covering his head. Standing on the sideline, there wasn't a player literally within 10 yards of him.
Tomlin is always surrounded by players. Maybe it's because he's like one of them and is able to command their respect.
Browns fans desperately want Mangini to gain the same type of respect. But if they don't see players near him on the sideline, be afraid ... be very afraid.