Joe Banner spent 18 years as the Eagles’ top executive, leading them to NFC Championships and a Super Bowl.
How long did Banner last with the Cleveland Browns? Just 16 months.
When the Browns decided to hire Banner as CEO, they thought he would be able to carry over the success from Philadelphia to Cleveland. If Banner would have built a winning team in Cleveland, his legacy as a CEO/team president would be solidified for years to come.
Unfortunately, things did not go as planned.
What could have gone wrong? In the end, Banner’s failure in Cleveland could be boiled down to one moment — the moment that head coach Chip Kelly told the Browns he would not be joining the staff as a head coach. Last offseason, Chip Kelly was pursued by a few NFL franchises. However, it was widely reported that his decision was between two teams — the Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns. At one point, it even looked like the Browns were close to a deal with Chip Kelly. Fortunately for Eagles fans, Chip Kelly ended up choosing Philadelphia.
We may never be sure of how likely the Browns were to landing Kelly, but one thing is for sure – had Kelly chosen the Browns, and not the Eagles, Banner would likely still be in Cleveland. Maybe Kelly cannot lead the Browns to a 10-6 record like he did with the Eagles, but it is likely he would have done a much better job than Chudzinski did.