I don’t normally write about sports. I still remember that managing editor in Florida who informed me “Sports is to journalism what masturbation is to sex.”
But the post-holiday, mid-winter funk has left me without any intelligent material.
This post isn’t technically a “vent.” A venting implies that one is frustrated by something and needs to let off steam. But I gave up on the Cleveland Browns a long time ago, so there’s no steam left in the boiler.
Ah, yes. The Cleveland Browns. For those familiar with American football, even the name brings a chuckle.
The Browns just finished the 2017 football season with a sterling record of 16-0. Sixteen losses, zero wins.
Combined with last season, the Browns are 1-31 (the San Diego Chargers mercifully let them win by three points in their last game of 2016). Over the past three seasons, the Browns have compiled a record of 4-44. A team needs to put in a lot of overtime to produce a stench that toxic.
After the 2015 season, both the head coach (whatzizname) and general manager (whozit) were fired, after they posted a 3-13 record. I’m scratching my head why the current coach (dat udder guy) can retain his job after posting a 1-31 record. In the real world, he’d be polishing his LinkedIn profile and watching “Leave it to Beaver” reruns. But this is the National Football League.
Fans of the Browns are affectionately known as the Dawgs. I’m still not sure if the misspelling is intentional or not. For years, these fans have promulgated all sorts of reasons for the illness on Lake Erie. “We need a franchise quarterback.” “We need a new head coach.” “You build your team around the offensive line.” “The front office sucks.” “The owner cares more about soccer than football.” “It’s all Modell’s fault.” “We need to change our colors.”
The only solution that came close to working was after visionary owner Art Modell 🙂 moved the team to Baltimore in 1995 (where, of course, he won the Super Bowl). The city of Cleveland filed a lawsuit against the National Football League. It was then rewarded with a spanking new team, and three years later the Browns squeaked into one playoff game.
Playoffs?? Did I say playoffs?? That was 16 years ago, the longest playoff drought in pro football history. Essentially, the Browns are in the 19th year of a three-year rebuilding program.
The Browns at one time had an enjoyable rivalry with the nearby Pittsburgh Steelers. But you can’t sustain a rivalry when, since the dawn of the millennium, one team amasses a record of 32 wins and only five losses against the other team. That’s not a rivalry, it’s human bondage.
Since I’m not a fan anymore, I feel I can offer a refreshing outside opinion as to how this team can once again return to the playoffs (forget the Super Bowl… Donald Trump will win a Nobel Prize before the Browns ever reach the Super Bowl).
That’s right. History has numerous examples of how boycotting and civil disobedience lead to results. The big problem in Cleveland isn’t the Browns owner, front office, coaching staff, or players. It’s the fans. They’re sports whores. They’re loyal to a fault. Browns fans are maybe the best fans in all professional sports. But that’s not necessarily a good thing. They continue to buy tickets and merchandise despite the product being seriously flawed. It’s like driving around in an old Chevy Corvair long after the car has been declared a road hazard.
It’s time Browns fans ceased this perverted game of “Thank you, ma’am, may I have another?”
I live in Cincinnati, Ohio, which also has a professional football team (the Cincinnati Bengals sprouted from the Browns 50 years ago after Modell fired legendary Browns coach Paul Brown, who then drove down I-71 and started his own team). Unlike Cleveland, Cincinnati is a “fair weather” sports town. In other words, the fans are smart. They’re frugal and won’t purchase a flawed product. After 14 losing seasons, Bengal fans threw up their hands, then threw up, and stopped coming to games. So the owner, Mike Brown (Paul’s son), started investing in quality personnel, not long after he blackmailed the city into building him a new stadium.
Since then, the Bengals have reached the playoffs seven times. Of course, being the Bungles, they’ve lost the opening playoff game every time. But at least they’re not a punch line like their noodlehead neighbors up north.
Unfortunately, I don’t think Browns fans will ever follow Bengal fans’ lead. They wear their sports loyalties like Keith Richards wears eye liner, or Elton John wears a toupee. It’s a part of who they are. Without their beloved football team, they’d be lost. You can only visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or troll for walleye on Lake Erie so many times on Sunday afternoons.
Earlier, I said I was no longer a Browns fan. Let me qualify that: I still have a place in my heart for that goddawful franchise. It was once a champion, in a faraway time, before many of you were born. The greatest athlete in history played for the Browns (running back Jim Brown). Best of all, they had a northern Ohio native at quarterback (Bernie Kosar) who threw side-armed and ran like a drunken giraffe.
But I can’t watch them anymore. I’m even embarrassed to be seen in public wearing orange and brown (and this is a masochist who wore Browns clothing when Cleveland was without a team). I’d prefer to devote my loyalties to the meaningful things in life. Sports are fun, but hardly meaningful.
So I guess you could label me a “fair weather” fan. Which means that, these days, I’m not only closer in attitude to Cincinnati than Cleveland, but I’ve been waiting for torrential rains to stop for a long, long time.
Does it rain much in Patagonia??
17 thoughts on “Cleveland Browns Finish Season at 0-16, and Fan Relocates to Cave in Patagonia”
The Pats troika (Belichick, Kraft, Brady) has been fraying at the seams lately. Coach Hoodie says he’s sticking around but you never know. Those that accuse the Pats of constantly cheating (not talkin’ about you here) are the first ones that would take In Bill We Trust in a heartbeat.
Jim, please don’t talk to me about the fricking Pats. The Patriots are prime rib, the Browns are beef jerky. We had Hoodie for 5 years, and he decided to wait until he got back east before he started winning. That’s a recurring motif with the Browns. We’re either a grooming school, or a retirement home. There’s nothing in between.
Heh! Your day may yet come. The Pats SUCKED pre-Belichick. I still distinctly recall SB 20. Da Chicago Bears were “America’s Team,” feted on Letterman before they even won. The Patriots were some dismal, last-place roadkill who accidentally got into the Bowl. They had no future at all.
This week cheer for the Titans!
Craig, I promise if I turn the TV to football this weekend, I will do just that. (Is Jeff Fisher still with the team?? Just kidding). Thanks for visiting!
LOL. The only ones who cheer for the Pats are us New Englanders and women who have a crush on Brady.
You could be right. I don’t hate the Pats. I have ancestors from New England, and lived in western MA as a kid. I also think Brady’s possibly the greatest QB ever. I used to like him, until I heard about his wacked politics. Regarding football, give me Brady. But regarding life, give me Drew Bledsoe!
Right. The Pats to a large extent have alienated many people by their actions. Belichick – brilliant as he is – comes off as a scowling curmudgeon. He could be a little more fun, more Rex Ryanish but it’s not in him. And Brady is boring as a person.
You may be right with your theory about the Browns however cannot say much about the Bengals the past few years. Until something changes with the staffing not sure it will change for the Bengals. Many views that Coach Marvin Lewis should go are true and how did he get a two year extension is beyond words (oh was it due to winning the last two games of the season). In my opinion and that of other Bengal fans it’s his time to go and get some fresh blood in to coach. Plus the players are going to have to really want to play. Sometimes I just do not get that feeling at all other than they showed up to receive their paycheck for the week. The team has many good players if only they can stay healthy and play. Since I do not follow the Browns not sure if they have the same issues. Goes back to you stating it starts with the fans. If they stop buying tickets and sporting items than just maybe the culture will change.Then again this is just an opinion as others may not feel the same way. Just sad in OHIO for the north and the south.
You’re right, Mary Kaye. Ohio’s football team is the Buckeyes (and I hate saying that, since I dislike the Buckeyes…and Lynn knows this). I don’t follow the Bengals,, but I think it’s time for Lewis to go. He struggles in the post-season, and he has two automatic wins whenever he plays the Browns in the regular season.
Then again, what do I know!
Bravo Pedro! Another capital success. I just enjoy reading what you write – and thinking what you think – and feeling what you feel. This is truth. Thanks for keeping your blog interesting, current, and quite hilarious.
Prey tell, What do you think of the American lingerie model-come-royal (hey, that’s a Warren Zevon song title!)
Thanks so much, Rock. You’re always complimentary and gracious, and I really appreciate it. Yes, there’s abundant humor in these jock squads on either end of our state: the Clowns and the Bungles. I don’t know much about the expat model in England. I’ll read up on it in People Magazine next time I’m in the waiting room for my prostate exam.
Hope you guys have a great 2018!
Ah, Pete… you really don’t think Trump will earn that Nobel Peace Prize? I really enjoy your articles…
Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone
Hi Do… I can only assume your question is in regard to someone who shares the last name with that guy in our White House? A Gregor Trump, or a Shen Lee Trump, or a Frank Trump maybe??
Hey, I’m really glad you like my brain droppings. Hope the teaching and acting is going well. Happy 2018!
Pete there is hope people out here where/are dedicated “Warriors” basketball fans (not much into Pro B-Ball myself) who sold out games for over 30 years while they were the laughing stock of the NBA. Then they got a new owner and the right GM/Coach combination and are how at the top. Someday the Browns will get it right. You mention Brown and Kosar but at one point 70’s???? the Browns had a coach and a QB that would make comebacks (didn’t they invent the comeback kids saying?) every week and made the playoffs a few times. Can’t remember there names though but I can still picture the coach.
I think you’re referring to the “Kardiac Kids” (yet another misspelling). That was ’79 or ’80. Coach was Sam Rutigliano, and QB was Brian Sipe. Yeah, a lot of close comebacks in the regular season, but that only emphasized that the team couldn’t sustain a lead! Then the comeback finally failed in the playoffs against Oakland! Kosar came soon after. A good QB, fun to watch, but his teams made 3 AFC championships and lost all 3 times to Denver.
Maybe they’ll reach the big one, maybe not. I’m not holding my breath. I’ve exhausted my allegiance, and sports just aren’t that important to me anymore.
I’ve been waiting for a new post and I’m not disappointed. Lots of chuckles (You should do more of this “journalism masturbation”. I almost forget that Jim Brown played there. I’ll leave you with this, I’m having lunch with a friend and he has this godawful coffee cream velour sweater on and it has a small Cleveland Brown helmet embroidered on it. It has to be a collectors item.