Case | HBS Case Collection | August 2005

Bill Belichick and the Cleveland Browns

by John R. Wells and Travis Haglock

Abstract

Genius? That is not what they were calling Bill Belichick in Cleveland. Why? Four losing seasons in five years. Fans hurled trash and insults. The media resented him. Ownership abandoned him. Players quit on him. Very different from the three Super Bowls in five years Belichick would win with the New England Patriots a few years later. Different players? Different ownership? Different management styles? Different strategies? Different coach? Find out. What happened when the Browns hired a man who began studying football strategy at the age of six? A man with a degree in economics who almost became an MBA candidate before accepting a job in football that paid $25 a week. A man who was long recognized as one of the best assistant coaches in the NFL. Learn how Belichick managed the players, the coaches, the owner, the media, etc.

Keywords: Business History; Leadership Style; Leading Change; Management Practices and Processes; Management Style; Sports; Sports Industry; United States;

Citation:

Wells, John R., and Travis Haglock. "Bill Belichick and the Cleveland Browns." Harvard Business School Case 706-415, August 2005.