There were two conclusions one could take after the Browns' 41-9 loss to the Steelers Sunday:
n Despite what his apologists said, Eric Mangini's squad did not play hard for him all the time.
n Mangini was finished in Cleveland.
Yes, two years is a short amount of time to judge a coach, and yes, the Browns have changed mentors more often than TBS shows "Saved By The Bell" reruns. Or so I've heard.
But stability for stability's sake isn't always a good thing. Ask Lions fans about Matt Millen.
There aren't too many NFL franchises that would tolerate back-to-back 5-11 seasons from a coach. You have to win to prove improvement at the professional level. Mangini's team was, forgetting Sunday, far more competitive this year than the year before. But back-to-back losses to the Bills and Bengals in December all but sealed his fate.
Losses to the hated Steelers and Ravens merely put an exclamation point on the matter.
It's easy to get down on the Browns after a day such as Monday, when it seems the team that can't get it right is starting over again. Does anyone realize that children born the last year of the team's last division title are now legally old enough to drink? How many of them even remember the pre-1999 Browns?
The last time I wrote on my favorite team, one reader accused me of being negative. While I feel for Mangini and his coaching staff, I believe this is a positive time for Cleveland fans.
You have to have confidence in Holmgren to pick the right coach. While he downplayed the possibility in his press conference, it's possible the right coach is looking at him in the mirror.
The Browns never have had a mentor who arrived with a rsum like Holmgren's, and that alone makes the chance enticing.
But assuming he appoints someone else, there's still reason to be positive. The 2010 draft may have been the best in the history of the new Browns, with quarterback Colt McCoy and defensive backs Joe Haden and T.J. Ward all establishing themselves as starters.
Imagine what McCoy could do in a West Coast offense. I don't want to knock Mangini's offense on his way out, but there were times it seemed that a bag of corn chips had more imagination.
No matter who the next coach is, I don't expect there to be a massive overhaul. The front office will stay the same. Key players, such as Ward, McCoy, Haden, Josh Cribbs and Peyton Hillis, likely will remain.
Aside from the coach, there is one change that stands above the others.
The Browns must win.
Otherwise, games like the one Sunday will seem like those "Saved by the Bell" reruns.
And no one wants that.