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The Cleveland Browns Diary

For your general amusement and disgust, here is the Browns diary I’ve been writing all year — will keep updating with new links.

* * *

Game 11: Browns lose to Ravens on last second blocked field goal.

“He slid. Maybe he thought it would be fun to slide.”

* * *

Game 10: Browns obliterated by Pittsburgh.

“You should literally make your entire Browns piece this week just be a photo of Manziel with the ball just floating out of his hand,” pal Michael Schur texted me.

“On the first play,” he texted next.

“Against the Steelers,” he added helpfully.

* * *

Game 9: Browns obliterated by Cincinnati.

“On Thursday, May 8 of the year 2014, the Cleveland Browns drafted Jonathan Paul Manziel, nee Football, with the 22nd overall pick. There are two staggering legends that go along with his drafting. One is that owner Jimmy Haslam was walking into a restaurant in Cleveland not long before the draft when, as he described it, a homeless man looked up and said, “Draft Manziel.” I like to think of this as Haslam playing George Bailey in the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

Haslam: “Where are your wings?”

Homeless man: “I have to earn them. And you’ll help me, won’t you?”

Haslam: “Sure, sure. How?”

Homeless man: “Draft Manziel.”

* * *

Game 8: Browns blow lead, lose to Arizona

Dwayne Bowe has been such a catastrophe that Cleveland just leaves him inactive most weeks. When asked about that, Farmer shrugged: “My job is to try and help bring the talent here,” he said. Yes. Yes it is.

* * *

Game 7: Browns defense collapses against St. Louis

Karlos Dansby said this about defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil’s system:

“I’m trying to hone in how he wants to do it, because every coach is different. It’s a learning curve, man. Like I say, you’ve got a PhD in it. You’re trying to get a Doctorate now.”

* * *

Game 6: Browns somehow, somehow lose to Denver

“What the (bleep) was that?” Mike shouted at me. “Why are you dragging me into your (bleeping) Browns insanity? What the (bleep) was that? And you know what the worst part is? You were out, man! You were totally out. Yeah, you grew up in Cleveland, you had to root for the team so you could have friends, but then you were out! Why would you VOLUNTARILY go back into this (bleep). Why?”

And then, he asked the most pertinent question of all.

“And why would you drag me into your Cleveland (bleep)?” he shouted.

* * *

Game 5: What? Browns win! Browns beat Ravens! Radio announcer and legend Doug Dieken celebrates in his own way.

His broadcasting style is, shall we say, sparse. Here would be a fairly typical exchange.

Play-by-play man Jim Donovan: “Well Doug, now you have the ball with one timeout left and just 39 seconds on the clock …

Dieken: (Silence)

Donovan: “First down and 10 at the 20 …”

* * *

Game 4: Browns pull defeat out of the jaws of victory against San Diego.

But is Cleveland really jinxed or is that something that we Clevelanders just tell ourselves to make it all seem a little more romantic?

* * *

Game 3: Browns comeback against Oakland falls short. Of course.

The Browns have a dog mascot named “Swagger.” I did not know this until Sunday and honestly don’t know how to feel about it.

* * *

Game 2: Browns soundly beat Tennessee, are still dreaming good things.

Orange is orange, right? Technically, the Browns went from Pantone 2026 C to Pantone 2028 C — so, hey, what’s two Pantones among friends, right? The Browns’ color had been Sunbaked Orange or Knockout Orange or just plain Orange, depending on the brand of paint. Now, it is Montana Dust or Poppy or Tangelo. So there you go: From orange to tangelo, really, we’re dealing with the same fruit family. It seemed like a nothing deal. Orange is orange is orange is the new black. It’s all good, no?

No. The answer is very, very much NO. It’s not all good.

* * *

Game 1: Cleveland loses to Jets as I return to Browns fandom

So, no, it isn’t easy coming back. Well, comebacks are never easy. All you can do it try again next week. Maybe a quarterback change would help.

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22 Responses to The Cleveland Browns Diary

  1. John Schoonover says:

    I’ve been a Browns fan since I was a kid – about 60 years. We had fabulous years when I was a kid. Then, after 1964, here’s my Cleveland Browns diary: The Trade (Paul Warfield for the right to draft Mike Phipps. Mike Phipps!); The interception (1980 vs Oakland in the playoffs; in gimmie game-winning field goal range with only a few seconds left. The Oakland team that went on to win the Super Bowl); the Drive (Elway); the Fumble (Byner); and, finally, the Move. Are there any other teams whose misery can be described in this many single-word titles? Will it ever end?

    • Terry says:

      Not as many single words, Elliot, comes to mind, but I’ve been a Chiefs fan since 63. I was 20 years old when they came to KC so I can empathize.

  2. Mr. Fresh says:

    Some masochistic Browns fan (I realize that is redundant)… took the time to rank every loss since the team came back into existence in 1999:

    There are truly some preposterous items on this list…. so, as ridiculous as Monday’s loss was, I think it only barely makes the top 5.


  3. Dan says:

    I don’t mean to delight in the misfortune of others, but as soon as I heard about the loss I started looking forward to the blog post. FWIW, Joe, it didn’t disappoint.

  4. Marc Schneider says:

    My boss, who is about to retire, is a Browns fan (in DC). It explains a lot.

  5. Mark Daniel says:

    This was an engrossing ending to a game. So much incompetence, both teams in fact. The clock winding down, the slide before going out of bounds, the inexplicable run up the middle which looked to lose a yard (to me), all to set up a 51 yd FG by a kicker whose longest FG of the year was 47 yds. Truly amazing. Pettine should possibly have been fired that night.

  6. Chris H says:

    In response to an earlier post in this series, I commented that I ceased being a Browns fan two years ago, when they ceased being a bad team and became a joke. For me, the exact moment was when they fired Rob Chudzinski in the middle of the Steelers game. (Technically, I do not think they told him he was fired during the game, but Jim Donovan and Doug Dieken were reporting it by the third quarter.)

    Of course, being a Browns fan who had declared that he was no longer a Browns fan, I worried that they would immediately begin winning. So I found myself feeling relieved, even happy, with each loss, each absurd and scandalous news report, each draft pick proved to be boneheaded. This is unbecoming, of course. I felt guilty about it up until recently.

    But then I realized the following, and I offer it to Joe and all Browns fans as the correct perspective:

    In the later years of “The West Wing,” when the writers’ desperation was obviously setting in, the Speaker of the House, played by John Goodman, became president as a result of some sequence of events involving the lack of a vice president and Jed Bartlett’s illness/scandal. Goodman was a kind of a wing-nut, and for the folks in the Bartlett White House this was anathema. So it went on for a while, with Goodman thwarting their ambitions and being a general nuisance, until Bartlett got well/was acquitted and returned to the oval office. The show pretty clearly wanted you to revel in loathing John Goodman, as, essentially, a usurper, and to root for him to fail as he tried to drive the country rightward.

    Which is to say, you were meant to root against the President. But that is not the same as rooting against the Presidency; in fact, I would say you were rooting for the Presidency as you rooted against President Goodman.

    In case it isn’t obvious: “President” Goodman is to the Presidency as Jimmy Haslam is to the Cleveland Browns. Or, perhaps, as the Haslam ”Browns” are to the real Browns.

    And in this respect, I feel justified in rooting for every machination of Mr. Haslam and his operatives to fail miserably. (This has had the added benefit of working out well, of course.) The longer he flails about, the more he hires incompetent morons, drives away the decent and capable, and gnashes his teeth in the owners’ box, the more he gets his comeuppance.

    There are a couple of obvious flaws to this analogy. First, in the end John Goodman proved to be a decent guy, and when Jed Bartlett returned from his exile, Goodman gracefully stepped aside and returned to being the loyal opposition. There is nothing I have seen in the words and deeds of Jimmy Haslam that makes me think he is a decent guy. He runs a truck-stop company that cheated its customers out of millions, but danced out of indictment himself. He’s a publicity-hounding meddler who doesn’t know how to hire good people and can’t stay out of the way of the incompetents he does manage to hire. I have no doubt that if the Tennessee Titans didn’t exist he’d have moved the team to Nashville in a heartbeat. He might be the worst Cleveland owner of all time, and I’m including Ted Stepien, Nick Mileti (who traded promising players for cash to make payroll) and the estate of Steve O’Neill.

    Second, the analogy presumes that there was some Bartlett-esque golden age of the Browns, prior to the HaslamBrowns, when the team was admirable and successful. If there was such an age, it wasn’t in my lifetime, and I’m not really pining for the return on Randy Lerner.

    Still: if there are no more words, but you’ve got to make it through five more interminable games this season, with only the glimmer of the 49ers on the schedule to give you hope – that and a high draft pick sure to be wasted – maybe you want to join me in the resistance.

    • rabidtiger says:

      Did anyone notice how the Lions have responded for Mrs. Ford after her public pronouncement? The Lions aren’t going to make the playoffs either, but they have improved the last three weeks.

      Now, thanks to Joe, I started looking at the Browns for comparisons to my guys, and durned if I didn’t follow that Browns game at the end. I was so proud of those guys putting the ball just close enough to have a reasonable chance to kick the field goal with the clock at 4 seconds or so. When the little markers on the computer screen went the whole way the other way–just like that!–I felt like a real Browns fan for a second. I apologize for belittling the miseries of the Browns and their long-suffering fans. Maybe the Browns owner could take a lesson from Mrs. Ford’s playbook.

      • Mark Daniel says:

        You just know the Lions are going win 4 straight to get to 8-7 and a playoff-clinching game against the Bears in Chicago, only to lose in some horrific way.

        Who knows how they’ll lose. Botched snap on an extra point? QB inadvertently running out of his own end zone? Caldwell taking the wind in overtime?
        I guess things are worse for teams like Detroit and Cleveland these days, because they not only have their own ineptitude to deal with, but also that of the refs.

        • Mr. Fresh says:

          Did you write this before or after that unbelievable combination of the refs’ ridiculous face masking call and the Lions ineptitude led to another gut wrenching Detroit loss?

          It’s almost like the Lions said.. hey Browns fans.. you think you got it bad?

        • rabidtiger says:

          Green Bay + Hail Mary > Detroit Lions + 17-0 first half lead

    • Brett Alan says:

      Just to pick a nit, President Bartlett didn’t step aside because of his scandal. He stepped aside because his daughter had been kidnapped, and he felt that this put him in a compromising position that was an inherent conflict of interest.

      All of this was just after Aaron Sorkin left the show. The Sorkin years were the essential years, and that fifth season was really the worst (other than the episode The Supremes, which is great) before the new writers found their own footing.

      • Chris H says:

        Thank you – I had completely forgotten the whole kidnapping plot. The Goodman arc was like jumping a shark while riding on the back of a shark.

  7. Tampa Bay challenges you. Think you know how to lose. Think again. Bucs franchise has lowest win pct. in NFL history.
    The team has four QBs who won Super Bowl. Williams, Young, Dilfer, Johnson. Too bad three didn’t play for them at the time.
    Halftime adjustment. Try 4th and 42 after receiving 2nd half kickoff.
    How about moving downfield for winning field goal attempt in 4th and getting too many men on the field penalties on consecutive plays.
    I have hundreds of these
    McKay said it best. What do you think of your teams execution?
    I’m in favor of it.
    P.S. They play in a division with Atl. and N.O. Two teams in the bottom five of win pct. all time. You want a toilet bowl? Bucs play these two next two Sundays. Watch and enjoy the incompetence.

    • richiew13 says:

      Tampa Bay’s one Super Bowl win is one more than Cleveland, Jacksonville, Carolina, Atlanta, San Diego, Arizona, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Detroit, Houston, Tennessee, Philadelphia and Minnesota have.

  8. richiew13 says:

    I was amused by Clevelands final touchdown with about 2 minutes left. Originally Pettine signalled to go for 2 to win the game. Mike Tirico was beside himself that they would go for two.

    But then Pettine chickened out and kicked to the the game.

    They could have gone for two and win the game. If they fail, they still have some time for an onside kick to score again.

    Kicking the PAT was only giving them less than 50% chance of a win.

    • oira79 says:

      Yes! These are two bad teams so there’s really nothing at stake. Why not be aggressive and go for the win? Give your fans something to cheer. Had they not made the 2-pointer, were Cleveland fans going to say, This is the last straw?

      Watching that game — I’m not a Cleveland fan so I don’t watch them that often — it’s hard to see why Pettine has a head coaching job. Your QB is hurt, so you don’t even warm up Manziel? Because, what, he had a legal drink during a bye week?

      • richiew13 says:

        I haven’t paid enough attention to Manziel’s latest mistake. But it doesn’t seem like one worth getting benched. Especially when the decision is basically setting the franchise back a year.

        Unless, the franchise already knows that Manziel is not good enough to be their QB of the future.

  9. NevadaMark says:

    Has Cleveland finally reached bottom? Is there no where to go but up now? Or am I delusional?

    • John Schoonover says:

      I think it is likely that the new edition of the OED will use “Cleveland Browns Fans” in a sentence to illustrate the meaning of the word “delusional.” But, setting that aside, we are at the point in the season where there is no “up.” If we continue to lose, we sink further into the muck; if we start to win, we move out of contention for the top draft pick. This is familiar ground, of course, and I suppose one could look at the situation from a “glass half-full” perspective. However, that would be unbecoming of a Browns fan…

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