Even though they are labeled the Cleveland Browns, fans throughout Northeast Ohio and beyond have identified the Browns as their team. The gut-wrenching experience of owner/traitor Art Modell moving the team to Baltimore in 1995 left a huge void in Browns fans that wasn’t filled until the Browns returned in 1999. The Browns were one of the model franchises of the NFL for years prior to their moving. What the Browns lacked in NFL championships (1964 being the last) they compensated in competitive, exciting play. The Kardiac Kids, Bernie Kosar, and others made the Browns a must see every Sunday. The last-minute endings resulting in loses always felt like a punch in the stomach. i.e THE DRIVE, THE FUMBLE, RED RIGHT 88.
As a lifelong fan, these past two years have turned me, as well as many Browns fans apathetic (rhymes with pathetic) towards the Browns plight. The dysfunctional operation of the Browns management begins at the top (Jim Haslam) to the deposed Sashi Brown. Hue Jackson, while a good assistant coach with the Bengals, was dealt a team that was both young, and bad. Yet, after going 1-31 the past two years, Haslam remains steadfast in bringing him back, The Browns, after firing Sashi Brown, finally hired a true NFL football man in John Dorsey, who has had success in Kansas City. Haslam seems content to saddle Dorsey with Jackson, instead of allowing him to bring in his own coach! The quarterback, DeShone Kizer, should have stayed at Notre Dame another year or holding a clipboard on the sidelines this year learning from a veteran (stop gap/bridge) quarterback. He wasn’t ready and was set up to fail. Former first-round picks, and free agents busts like Kenny Britt, have made the Browns the NFL laughing stock. The numbers are ridiculous. 1-31 over the past two years and the first team to go 0-16 since Detroit went winless in 2008.
Haslam, like all NFL owners, is guaranteed to turn a profit, regardless of the team’s record. Through television, cable, radio as well as ticket, merchandising and other fees, make all NFL teams profitable.
The die-hard Browns fans in the stands on these cold, blustery winter days, deserve a better product than what Haslam has trotted out the past two years. Whoever the coach is next year, he will have been stockpiled with many high draft picks, and many millions to spend on free agents. Let’s hope new football man John Dorsey is allowed to evaluate and pick the talent, instead of owner Jim Haslam, his wife, and the man at the corner bar whispering in his ear to draft Johnny (CFL) Manziel. Is asking for 3 or 4 wins next year too much to ask?