On Sunday, the Cleveland Browns coaching search finally came to an end, as reports confirmed the team will be hiring Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski as head coach. The mere fact that Stefanski is not Josh McDaniels angered many Browns fans, but the team stuck to its process, and because of that, Stefanski has a chance to be extremely successful in Cleveland.

Here's why even though he may not have been the biggest name, he was still an good candidate, and a good hire.

Kevin Stefanski began his NFL coaching career in 2005, as an intern for then-Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Brad Childress. When Childress became head coaching of the Vikings, he brought Stefanski with him. Stefanski has been with Minnesota ever since, coaching multiple position groups until 2018, when he was promoted from quarterbacks coach to interim OC in Week 15.

That gives him a total of 19 games of playcalling experience. That sounds quite similar to Freddie Kitchens, who flamed out in Cleveland. There are more similarities between Kitchens and Stefanski, but also some key differences that should subside fans' fears that Stefanski is just Kitchens part two.

Stefanski spent the 2019 offseason working with Vikings offensive assistant Gary Kubiak, a legendary head coach and football mind who most recently coached the Denver Broncos in 2015 and 2016. Kubiak's playaction-based system meshed perfectly with what Stefanski wanted to accomplish, and the results were great. Minnesota finished in the top 10 in yards per play and points scored.

Pro Football Focus ranked Kevin Stefanski as the fourth-best OC in football. Dalvin Cook ran for 13 touchdowns. Kirk Cousins had the best season of his career, completing 69.1% of his passes for 3,603 yards, 26 touchdowns, and six interceptions. The Vikings offense wasn't nearly as explosive as a team like the Kansas City Chiefs, but it was never intended to be. It was reliable and well-crafted to the strength of Minnesota's personnel.

Cousins thrived on playaction passes and Cook was at his best running outside zone. So Stefanski built his offense around outside zone and playaction. Stefanski has said he “thinks about players, not plays”. This philosophy, along with his ability to remain with the Vikings through multiple regime changes, are attractive qualities in a head coach.

The offense that Kubiak and Stefanski built will translate well to Cleveland. Nick Chubb is arguably the best runningback in the NFL, and should thrive in Stefanski's system. Mayfield struggled mightily in 2019, but was at his best on PA rollouts. Stefanski also has experience working with a subpar offensive line, an issue the Browns will hopefully have fixed after the 2020 NFL Draft.

Stefanski's scheme will look very similar to what Kyle Shanahan ran in 2014 when he was Cleveland's OC. That team, which featured players like Brian Hoyer, Terrance West, Isaiah Crowell, and and Andrew Hawkins, had a beautiful offense that culminated in a 7-4 record before the Johnny Manziel debacle and HC Mike Pettine lost the locker room. Now, the roster is significantly more talented, and doesn't have the same implosion potential.

But the Browns weren't looking for their next offensive coordinator. They were looking for a head coach. Stefanski was actually interviewed twice last year for Cleveland's HC opening, and was a finalist along with Kitchens. The analytics department, headed by former Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Dodgers executive Paul DePodesta, recommended Stefanski for the job, but then-general manager John Dorsey was able to convince owner Jimmy Haslam to stick with Kitchens.

What's interesting about this is that Kevin Stefanski had been an OC for all of three weeks at this point, yet was being recommended as head coach material. The front office clearly saw something they liked in him, but were overruled. The same thing happened in 2016, when the Browns hired Hue Jackson despite DePodesta and company recommending Sean McDermott, who has led the Buffalo Bills to two playoff appearances in three seasons. It seems as if Haslam finally listened to DePodesta, which is a good thing.

There is no guarantee that Stefanski will pan out just because DePodesta wanted him, but Haslam's track record with coaching hires isn't good at all, so it's a smart move to listen to someone else this time.

Kevin Stefanski is reportedly “big into analytics”, which certainly helped his case with the Browns front office. Analytics are a major reason why he and Cousins were able to use PA so effectively last season. The Browns dipped their toes into analytics a few years ago, but it looks like they are now going all-in.

Stefanski is modern, adaptable, even-keeled, and without an ego. All areas where he differs from Kitchens. Stefanski's offense wasn't fantastic, but the Browns didn't hire him for his team's performance. They hired him because they saw certain traits that they feel give him a good chance at succeeding as a head coach. A lot of that possible success will depend on the staff he is able to assemble.

Kitchens looked in over his head from the opening kickoff of Week 1 last season. Everything was disorganized, as if he couldn't handle the responsibility of being head coach and calling plays at the same time. There are no reports about whether or not Stefanski will call plays for Cleveland, but based on everything we know about him, he doesn't seem like the kind of person who would have any problem handing over responsibilities to others.

Delegation is  a major part of being a head coach, an area where Kitchens failed terribly. Minnesota's Gary Kubiak and Klint Kubiak, San Francisco's Mike McDaniel and Mike LaFleur, and former Denver OC Rich Scangarello are all possibilities for Stefanski's OC spot.

There's more to being an NFL head coach than X's and O's and calling plays. The Browns think they've found the right person and leader to maximize the potential of their talent-laden roster. Kevin Stefanski is still a risk, and there's no guarantee he'll work out any better than Kitchens.

But what's encouraging is that Cleveland had a plan when they fired John Dorsey, they stuck to it, and they have their man. Only time will tell if they made the right choice.