Written by Erik Cassano

Erik Cassano

Mangini_sideline_3The year 2010 might have been a little short on good news for Cleveland sports fans, but it was far from uneventful.

That's why this year's countdown is a little different, rebranded from "Top 10 sports stories" to "10 biggest storylines."

Here you'll find the good, bad and ugly that made 2010 another memorable year in Cleveland sports. Some spots on our countdown will make you dream about the future, some might give you nightmares.  But it's all here -- our send-off to 2010, as we wait with equal parts anticipation and trepidation for what 2011 will bring.

Over the last five days of the year, our top 10 Cleveland sports storylines will be unveiled here, leading up to No. 1 on New Year's Eve.  Check back daily as the countdown continues.

2. The Mangini watch


All year, we've had this unshakable feeling that Eric Mangini is coaching on borrowed time. He was as good as gone when Mike Holmgren became the president of the Browns last December. But a four game winning streak to end last season, coupled with an acknowledgment from Holmgren that it takes more than a year for a coach to implement a plan, saved Mangini for at least another year.

Mangini grew as a coach during 2010, and it appeared that he might win over Holmgren in spite of the divergent coaching philosophies between the two.

The Browns played hard each week. They were well-prepared. They played their best ball against the best opponents. Mangini was getting the most out of what was still one of the least-talented rosters in the NFL.

By the start of November, the Browns appeared to be ahead of their projected learning curve, and the idea that Mangini could be fired seemed ludicrous.

But a season lasts 16 games. Colt McCoy suffered an ankle sprain against Jacksonville. Scott Fujita went down with a season-ending knee injury. The Browns staggered to a win against lowly Carolina that was sealed only when the Panthers missed a field goal at the final gun. They barely scraped by Miami. They lost to bottom-feeders Buffalo and Cincinnati.

The mistakes became more common. The team's focus seemed to wane. The coaching staff had several incidences of poor clock management in the two-minute drill, when clock management is critical.

In the span of a month, Mangini went from coach of the future to coach on the hot seat to dead coach walking.

Now, even a win against Pittsburgh in this Sunday's season finale might not save his job.

Regardless of what ultimately happens to Mangini, his 2010 has been one of the biggest roller coasters any Browns coach has ever experienced.