CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Leaving ‘America’s Team’ for the Cleveland Browns was a no brainer for Alec Scheiner.
Tuesday afternoon, Scheiner was named the new president of the Browns effective Jan. 7 and will oversee the day-to-day business side of the organization.
He leaves Jerry Jones and the larger than life Dallas Cowboys to join new owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner, who look to turn the Browns around, in Cleveland.
“Great organization with a great history,” Scheiner said. “And I’m excited about the new leadership team with Joe [Banner] and Jimmy [Haslam]. I’ve admired what Joe has done for a longtime in Philadelphia and have a lot of mutual respect for Joe and we can already see Jimmy’s energy with the team. And I’m just ready to get started.”
Scheiner comes to Cleveland after spending the last 8 years with the Cowboys where he spent the last 5 as senior vice president and general counsel.
“Alec is a bright and talented executive who has provided our organization with quality service. He knows his way around the NFL and has fine leadership ability,” Jones said. “He is a tireless taskmaster and will be a great addition to the Browns front office.
“He is a rising star and an asset to our league.”
It took Banner, who initiated conversations with Scheiner in June about teaming up and continued them with Haslam shortly after, 4 weeks to officially replace Mike Holmgren.
“We just felt like it was a great fit,” Banner said. “He’s going to impact the organization in a lot of ways.”
Scheiner is excited about the opportunity to help elevate the Browns to the NFL’s elite on and off of the field by capitalizing on the Browns’ unique brand – much like the Cowboys have in Dallas.
“The brand is so iconic and there’s so much history behind it and the fans clearly care about the team,” Scheiner said. “We just have to harness it. We have to harness it everywhere. We have to harness it with our employees, we have to harness it with people in the community, everyone can be a Browns fan. Everyone in northeast Ohio, everyone in Ohio can be a Browns fan.
“We just have to reach out to people and kind of prove our value on the field and off the field.”
On the field is the main problem.
The Browns have the second worst winning percentage in the league since 1999 and are in the midst of yet another organizational overhaul – the 5th since 1999 and the original expansion-era regime which was led by Carmen Policy.
Like the star does for the Cowboys, what makes the Browns’ brand iconic is the orange helmet. New uniforms have been speculated about since the day Haslam bought the team but a complete overhaul of the uniforms isn’t necessarily needed in Scheiner’s eyes.
“I’m not sure you need to change those things,” Scheiner said. “I really think it’s really more about connecting with what we have already in more effective ways. That’s not to say it hasn’t been done well in the past, but you can always do better. I’m not sure we have to change any of the things that have made the Browns so great. We just have to keep doing them better and keep working harder at it.”
As part of his duties Scheiner, who visited Cleveland and took in a game, looks to improve the fan experience at Cleveland Browns Stadium much like he did in Dallas when the new billion dollar palace located in Arlington, TX. opened in 2009.
“It’s like nothing else,” Scheiner said. “The way the fan experience is at Cowboys Stadium is similar to the fan experience at Lambeau Field, which is you know you’re going to get something that’s unique that fits in with the culture of the organization. That’s what I’m most proud of. We created something that is perfectly fit for the Dallas Cowboys. And I’d like to do the same thing in Cleveland. Create something that links us to the past and links us to the community in away that when Browns fans outside Cleveland come, they know exactly where they are and they enjoy it.”
That also may or may not include major renovations to the now 14-year old facility which opened in 1999.
Banner led the charge to get Lincoln Financial Field built in Philadelphia for the Eagles and Scheiner helped Jones get Cowboys Stadium get built in Arlington. It’s a safe bet the 2 will try to get significant improvements planned and completed – and soon.
“The priority will be how can we make it better and what does that mean,” Scheiner said. “Is it a substantial investment? Is it a major renovation? Were there other things we can do in the meantime? We just haven’t had enough time to really delve into it, but we will. We will.”