Joe Banner has one trait that should endear him to Cleveland Browns fans.
The team's new president and chief executive officer doesn't like to lose. You get the feeling that he'd turn the board upside down after losing a chess match, scattering 32 pieces around the room.
That's not a bad thing when you're about to take on a challenge that seems daunting and thankless. Other men have tried to make the Browns relevant in the NFL, but none could do more than sit in their office and watch the losing continue on a painfully consistent basis.
Why can Banner make a difference? Maybe because of his track record of success as president of the Philadelphia Eagles for 19 years. Then again, it could be as simple as his aforementioned competitive nature.
"I'm competitive to a fault," Banner said. "The saying is that strength taken too far can become a weakness. I'm on the extreme end of being competitive. Sometimes that's a great virtue, and sometimes you wish you could roll it back a little bit."
Banner becomes the fifth president since the Browns returned to the NFL as an expansion franchise in 1999. Carmen Policy orchestrated the return. He was followed by John Collins, Mike Keenan, Mike Holmgren and now Banner.
That, in itself, answers the question of why the Browns have failed so miserably in the expansion era. Team presidents are named and then usually slip into the background, except for an occasional how-are-things-going press conference. Much of their time is spent on balance sheets, stadium deals or improvements, contract negotiations and glad-handing.
The only revolving door at the headquarters of any team is usually at the entrance of the coach's office. Presidents hang around longer than Castro.
When not running the business side of affairs, presidents need to be shrewd when making football decisions. They have to have knowledge of the game, which wasn't the case with at least two of the former presidents - Collins and Keenan. They must be able to read prospective coaches and general managers and put together a staff that runs smoothly from top to bottom.
Banner succeeded in Philadelphia. He was part of a group that hired current Eagles coach Any Reid in 1999. He developed a reputation as a tough contract negotiator, although he admits to having softened his style over the years. He's not an Xs and Os guy, but he's not a bookworm that has a vacant stare when asked what the backside guard does on a power run.
Another reason for his success was that he was more than willing to play the bad guy. Coaches have to be liked by the players because they virtually live with them five months of the year. A president can or can't watch practice at his choosing. A player can't get in the face of a boss that's sitting in a comfy business chair on the second floor.
"My goal is for the organization to be successful," Banner said. "At times you put your own interests in the back seat. I believed in Philadelphia, and I still believe, it's very important for the coach and people that have to deal with the players every day to remain in a position where they're best able to stay in a place where the players feel good about them.
"Hopefully they'll get to know me well enough to know that I'm not the bad guy. If I have to play that role, I'm more than happy to do so."
The Browns have never really got it right with their presidents. Policy was a public-relations whiz and the perfect person to oversee the start of an expansion franchise, but he wasn't able to generate the football magic he had cozied up to in San Francisco. His first major hire on the football side of the operations was general manager Dwight Clark, which turned out to be a disastrous move.
Collins was a slick, PR-type of guy that came out of the league office. He's best known for directing the infamous Super Bowl halftime show that included a wardrobe malfunction involving Janet Jackson. Collins lost a power struggle with general manager Phil Savage and is now a NHL executive.
Keenan was a bean-counter that was miscast for the role of president. He wasn't sure whether a football is baked, microwaved or cooked on a grill.
Holmgren's arrival brought a wave of optimism from the fan base because of his successes as a coach in Green Bay and Seattle. As president he never seemed comfortable in his skin. Coaching was and still dominates his DNA.
Now it's Banner's turn. If he can revive the Browns' fortunes, the statue of the late Al Lerner that sits in front of the team's facility might have a neighbor.
The question he has to ask himself is whether or not he knows what he's getting into? He now will be facing a fan base that's tired of losing and impatient with every major move.
Asked if he can get the job accomplished within five years, Banner expressed optimism before adding a dose of reality. "If I don't, I'll be wearing a straight jacket.