CLEVELAND, Ohio — Are you actually reading this? Why? I feel like I’m writing this for people who will never see it, because my point is that Browns fans shouldn’t care much about what former coach Hue Jackson says. So stop. Because it doesn’t matter.
But Mary Kay Cabot whipped up a quick story off what Jackson said on a Cleveland radio station Monday, and it was by far the most popular story on cleveland.com on Monday and Tuesday, getting read over those two days almost twice as much as anything else on the site. That includes those Dear Annie columns with the tantalizing headlines like, “How should I ask my neighbor to keep his cat out of my mailbox?” and “My wife’s Cheeto fingers are ruining our couch and our marriage.”
If you beat Dear Annie, you are popular. I wonder if there is some Google algorithm for unsuccessful coaches that no one has quite figured out, because I will tell you, digital journalism is very interested in figuring out algorithms. But I don’t think a headline about Eric Mangini or Rob Chudzinski would do as well. Maybe I will write “Rob Chudzinski enjoying life as special assistant to the head coach at Boston College” and see what happens. By the way, that is real.
As part of my investigation, I put “Hue Jackson” in the old Google search to see what the web thinks of him and these are the first suggestions that came up:
Hue Jackson tequila
Hue Jackson book
Hue Jackson interview
Hue Jackson record Browns
Hue Jackson current job
Hue Jackson contract extension
Hue Jackson actor
I knew that Jackson was writing a book, because promoting the book is why he’s doing interviews. I didn’t know he had a tequila, but now I do. Jackson had a few tweets the other day that were interesting but he has since protected his account, but his Instagram is still open, and four of his last nine Instagram posts are about Grand Leyenda Organic Tequila, of which Jackson is a managing partner. We also have lots of people read the stories when our fun taste tasters Brenda Cain and Yadi Rodriguez try 130 different frozen pizzas or eight grocery store rotisserie chickens, and I’ll suggest they add tequila tasting to their list.
The idea that “Hue Jackson actor” is seventh on the search list brings a smile to my face while envisioning conversations like these taking place across the country:
“Who’s that guy who plays Wolverine?”
“No, the guy who sang and danced in the circus movie with Zac Efron.”
“No, he’s Australian.”
“He was Jean Valjean in Les Miz.”
“Les Miserables? Definitely Hue Jackson.”
I was initially reluctant to write about Jackson this time because I have written about him enough, and I often have been rather critical, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t like me, and I don’t want it to seem like I’m piling on. But I’m not writing about Jackson, I’m writing about you, because you are reading about him, either because you are interested in his opinion or because the robots in the Google machine are forcing you to read about him.
Jackson can say what he wants, and he seems to be freed up to let it rip. He needs to make a living, so good luck with the book. It’s not the route that many others fired from the Browns have taken, but more power to him. There have been enough stories in the past that relied on anonymous quotes and background info from former Browns employees criticizing the Haslams and Browns ownership in a similar fashion, so Jackson putting it right on the record is admirable in some ways.
But also, it’s pointless. Because:
1. The Browns’ plan that led to 1-31 worked. Jackson didn’t like it, but it laid the foundation for the current playoff team.
2. Jackson feeling he was lied to about the process is old news. He’s said it before. Bottom line, he never got on board with the front office, and that hurt the franchise and his own employment prospects.
3. He wasn’t fired for 1-31. As he revealed Monday, he was given a contract extension in the midst of 0-16. That fact doesn’t bolster Jackson’s case, it hurts it. Had he been cut loose after 1-31 after coaching a team with lesser talent, he might have a point. But he was given a third year, and then fired when he made it clear he wasn’t the coach to lead the team forward. They were 2-5-1 with him in 2018 and 5-3 without him.
So he’s grinding his axe while the Browns are a tree that has taken root and is growing strong and tall. Jackson can’t chop this tree down. I’m not sure why so many people read about him taking a few whacks at it.
We wrote the initial story because we write everything of interest about the Browns. For some reason, Hue is still popular. Best of luck to him. But I’m done trying to piggyback off of him to get a few readers.
Also, please come back later for some of the other stories I have planned this week:
“Hue Jackson ranks his 11 favorite root beers”
“X-Men actors whose names don’t sound like Hue Jackson”
“Dear Annie: My cousin Cody is mad at his old football coach, but I want them to be friends”
Browns playoffs shirts, hats for sale: Here’s where Cleveland Browns fans can order shirts and hats celebrating the team qualifying for the 2020 NFL playoffs.
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Hue Jackson says in radio interview that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam gave him a contract extension in the middle of the 0-16 season