By In Browns, Football

What Can Browns Do For You?


From Sportsworld:

Then came this year and a decision: I decided to start caring about the Browns again. I’m not sure you can just “decide” to start caring, but I figure that I’ll give it a shot. The NFL season has lost so much of its thrill for me the last few years. Part of it is that is for obvious reasons: I despise the way they run the league, I believe the sport is too dangerous, and it breaks my heart to see what becomes of so many of the players after they have given their bodies and minds to entertain us.

But, I have to admit: Part of it is that I’ve been getting older. … I just don’t feel as passionately about the Browns or pro football as I once did. And I don’t like that. I don’t want to feel less passionately about things, whether it’s football or music or more important things.

The Cleveland Browns: A sorta, kinda love story

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32 Responses to What Can Browns Do For You?

  1. Brian Eckstein says:

    Joe, thanks for writing my story also. Browns fan since “Bad Knees” Bill Nelson, but just can’t get excited anymore. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

  2. Dale says:

    Couch was nowhere near the bust he’s made out to be. No QB ever born could have succeeded with those teams. And I know it’s a very low bar, but he’s still the best QB the new Browns have had.

  3. MikeN says:

    Mahatma Gandhi shouldn’t be anywhere near your Top 5. This is the guy who advised his countrymen to let the Japanese take over the country, and then they would resist peacefully. As Hitler was running over Europe, he sends him a letter that he needs to be more spiritual and mend his ways.

    On top of that, the economic principles instituted by he and Nehru led to massive poverty and responsible for the deaths of tens of millions, as the country was passed by South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and others.

  4. Joe Clemons says:

    Joe, Great story! I’m 49+++ and 30% of my disability is mental. Being a Browns fan since 1959 will cause that. Now in So. Cal. I still get up before 10AM on Sunday to watch “My Guys” because they are my BAE, also. I missed the 1967 and 1968 seasons due to an extended government sponsored camping trip. I still am “waiting for next year” since 1964. Through all the missed draft picks, mismanagement, and lack of heart from some members, I have been told that no one in their right mind, except Christians, gets up that early on Sunday to watch a constant losing team. I guess there is more than one way to get PTSD. Really like your work, Joe!

  5. rich says:

    I always think of BAE as referring to Benoit Assou-Ekotto, the former Spurs and Cameroon left-back.

  6. Prince Humperdinck says:

    My only hope as a Browns fan is that Haslam moves this team, and I can be afforded a 2nd chance to switch allegiances. I wish I was joking.

  7. Chris H says:

    Joe, I wish you the beat on this journey, but i will not be travelling with you. (I will read any further postcards, of course.) I stuck with the Browns through 2.0, 2.1, 2.whatever, from the distance of Brooklyn (New York, not the one near Parma). There is, I think, a certain honor in sticking with a bad team.

    The Browns, however, have devolved from being bad to being a joke, and at 49 I can’t seem to abide that. (Maybe it’s easier when you’re younger.) The exact moment, for me, was when they fired Rob Chudzinski midway through a game against the Steelers, near the end of his first season. I don’t know why that moment, especially, except that it somehow crystallized for me the knowledge that this organization cares about neither respectability nor decency.

    I miss seeing certain friends regularly, those where the cement of our friendship was watching guys in orange and brown breaK our hearts. Fortunately, not having a team to care about has made it easy to give up on the NFL. I like having my Sunday afternoons free.

  8. Dan W. says:

    Someone has to finish last.

  9. Bashaan says:

    Joe you nailed it! Great article! I’ve been a Browns fan since I was a kid following the Cardiac Kids.

  10. Marc Schneider says:

    It’s interesting to me that Cleveland and Detroit, Midwestern industrial (or at least used to be) cities with great football traditions in the 50s, have both had such lousy football teams. At least the Browns have never gone 0-16. Why? It’s certainly easier to build a good team in the NFL than in other sports. At the same time, the Steelers were terrible for decades but have been a dominant team for years. Why have the Browns and Lions been so incompetent? It seems as if it’s so easy for NFL owners to print money that they have no shame. That’s true here in Washington as well, where Dan Snyder is synonymous with incompetent. I have no connection to Cleveland but my father grew up in Detroit and I would one day love to see an old NFL Cleveland-Detroit Super Bowl. I have a thing for the rust-belt teams. But I’m 59 so I don’t know if I have time enough left for that.

  11. Regretful Lions Fan says:

    Joe, you have to continue to try to be a Browns fan again and you have to keep writing about it. When you write about the Browns, it is invariably some of your best work.

  12. Dave B says:

    I’m with Joe. I, too have lost a lot of interest in the NFL over the last few years, to the point where I like baseball better. Also, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve lost some of my passion for sports. Well, and other things too, I guess. Maybe that’s part of getting older.

  13. thoughtsandsox says:

    I have lost my appetite for the NFL also. But it has nothing to do with the dangers or injuries or any of the off field issues. What has killed it for me is the leagues insistence to raise the scoring. It is now just score score score until someone runs out of time. Yes people want to see their team score but the thrill of scoring is gone.

    The NFL thinks that the thrill of sports is scoring but I don’t, the thrill of sports is the anticipation of, The Moment. When sports are great there are moments. Think of every great sporting event you have ever seen, there is a moment that made it great. Gibson’s walk off, Ortiz in the 12th, just about any KO, The Drive (sorry), the Catch, the Immaculate Reception do you believe in miracles. They are moments in time frozen forever in our memories. Yes I only listed the really big ones but every good game has a moment.

    Think about the exciting parts of a baseball game. What makes people excited? And I don’t mean one teams fans I mean everyone. When Trouts, Harper, Ortiz, or _________ insert big hitter here, hits one to the wall the whole stadium gasps and in those few seconds while the ball is traveling everyone is on edge. Is it an out, a HR, a rebounding double? Because teams don’t score every inning or every time the star bats the crowd is in anticipation of The Moment. Is this going to be the thing that makes or breaks the game.

    In hockey the puck crosses the middle, can someone redirect it in? Can the goalie save the shot and the game?

    There is a corner in soccer it leave the kickers foot as it travels to the box, anticipation. Can the striker head it in, does s defender get a piece off the ball and deflect it, will the keeper leave his line and attack it in the air?

    The little moments are what make sports great. The NFL has taken away the little moments. Now everyone just takes turns scoring and it isn’t as fun.

    • Dan says:

      Football has changed a lot as offensive and defensive philosophies have evolved, but despite those changes scoring has remained fairly static (in my estimation).

      Using decades as admittedly arbitrary marking points, and picking 1950 as an admittedly arbitrary starting point, the average score per team per game has been:
      In the 1950s, 21.54 points.
      In the 60s, 21.74.
      In the 70s, 19.21.
      In the 80s, 20.89.
      In the 90s, 20.15.
      In the ’00s, 21.14.
      In the ’10s (including 2015 to date) 22.6.

      2012-2014 are all in the top 10 seasons by scoring average, at between 22.6 to 23.0 ppg per team. 2015 is in there as well although it may be too early to draw any meaningful conclusions about this year yet.

      An average team nowadays scores about one more point per game than it did in the 50s and 60s, one extra FG per game compared to the defensive heyday of the 70s (when I first got interested). One could make the argument that the 70s were an unusually low-scoring era – they were farther from the mean 1950-present score than the 00s have been.

      Teams are scoring noticeably more, consistently more, yes. Enough to take away the “little moments that make sports great” – not to my mind. YMMV.

      • Chris H says:

        FWIW, the margin of victory appears as if it may have increased along with the scoring. I did only a comparison of 2014 vs 1980 (the year of the Kardiac Kids). Winning teams’ scoring increased from 26.0 points to 28.9; losing teams average scores increased from 15.0 to 16.3. So the margin of victory increased from 11.1 to 12.7, or if you prefer, of the four additional points per game, about three of them went to the winners. The increased gap between good teams and the Browns is more noticeable, I would think, than the overall increase in scoring.

        But it certainly does seem like a different game – more than these statistics would show. I think we’re not quite looking in the right place.

  14. Dean says:

    Joe…this was perfect. Thank you!!

  15. MikeN says:

    Firing Mike Lombardi was really the last straw. He pulled off the Trend Richardson steal, and gets fired for his troubles, while the successors get the extra draft picks.

  16. Marco says:

    Unfortunately, this team is cursed with the worst kind of owner:
    Impatient meddler who thinks he knows football. This leads to constant front office churn, and first round draft picks spent on college offensive skill position stars in the hopes that they’ll magically fix the team.

    I am not optimistic.

  17. Tom Flynn says:

    I was at that last Browns game in 1995. Seats along the rail by the old visitor’s bull pen. Still have those seats in my basement. Tim Couch also remains the best QB we’ve had since 1999, and Mangini was the best coach we’ve had since then too. Not that it matters.

    • Dale says:

      Tom, we also agree about Mangini. He wasn’t perfect, but generally his teams were better prepared than any before or since. Another low bar though.

      • Tom Flynn says:

        Absolutely. He was no GM, but he could coach. His teams were well-prepared and played competitively. WOuld like to know what he could do with our current roster instead of the crap roster he had.

  18. Brad says:

    You’re not alone Joe. I’m bearing down on 55 and back in the day my Saturdays were ruled by the Kansas state wildcats and Sunday’s were for the church of the KC Chiefs. Nowadays, the passion has cooled. CBS flipped out of the Chiefs-Texans game in the 3rd quarter last week to Miami and some other team. Screw that. I turned it off and mowed the yard.
    A few points: Goodell is a complete tool. Is he ruining the NFL? No, that’d be pretty hard to do, but give him time….
    Mike Junkin? Every sport has some asshats. Mine was Carl Yastrzemski. At least Yaz had a resume. Junkin? He’s probably on a few bust lists too. Karma is a bitch.
    About the word Bae. Please don’t ever use it again. The word makes some people physically ill. I’ve vowed to throttle anyone within a ten foot radius who uses that word. It’s like my personal N word.
    Got to spend some time in Cleveland this last year. Great city. Terrific food scene, downtown has revitalized. People excited about the Cavs and Browns again. Good luck with the Browns.

  19. MikeN says:

    Wasn’t there a team, I think the Broncos, that picked up all the failed Browns players, and the team excelled with those guys being major contributors.

  20. Marc Schneider says:

    Why is Cleveland so seemingly uninterested in the Indians? They seem to be a young up and coming team with a good future, but, from what I see, no one goes to the games anymore. Meanwhile, the Browns are a joke but people still focus on them. Clevelanders, what gives?

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