You might think that “going deep” is a play on how this is a football blog. Or you might think that it’s a play on how this is a football blog about a team that refuses to throw the ball deep down the field. Or you might think that I’m really into diving.
All of those are true to a degree, but not what I’m referring to.
I like to invoke famous quotations (side note, when you use someone’s words, it’s a quotation, not a quote) and relate them to reality, and this time I’m taking something from the mouth of a man born Mark Sinclair Vincent. You may know him better as this guy.
You might remember this generation’s Bogart stating, “It doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile…winning’s winning.”
Poignant, what with one of the ugliest games in NFL history occurring on Sunday – that is, until Monday night’s Jaguars/Ravens pillow fight.
But is winning really winning? Can we as fans really feel confident and comfortable about that kind of performance against the Seahawks? I mean, they’re in the NFC West. Do I really have to pretend that they’re even in the NFL?
We hear all this talk about changing the culture and blah blah blah. I really like winning, but I’ve also won things and been upset about it. The Seahawks game was not the kind of win that makes you happy. It was the kind of win that makes you shake your head, shrug your shoulders, and write about how you don’t believe that “a win’s a win.”
I know that I’m a Cleveland fan and that means that, to an outsider, it doesn’t matter what’s happening because I’m going to find the bad in it. And that’s probably what I’m doing. But still, I can’t help but feel like I’d be more encouraged by a 38-37 loss to the Patriots than I was by a 6-3 win over the Seahawks.
But maybe I’m overreacting. Think back over the past few years and all the losses that have accumulated (you’re gonna need your toes as you count…and probably the toes of several family members) over whatever span you choose. Do we really remember them? Sure, some people take it seriously enough that they can tell you scores from four seasons ago, but most of us look back and think of the team’s record. Realistically, the majority probably don’t even remember the record and instead just think “the Browns were terrible that year,” or “they weren’t so bad that year.”
I love the Browns. I’m sitting in my room writing this right now as I wear a Browns hoodie. My walls are adorned with a handful of the most important things in my life: photos of my niece, a ticket collage loaded with mostly Browns Stadium stubs, a Browns flag, and a talking bear head. I’m an honest fan of this team, but I don’t remember what their record was three years ago. I don’t need to remember their record three years ago – I know they were bad. Or maybe that was the season the Browns were decent and Derek Anderson was inexplicably productive, but it doesn’t matter because the team didn’t get to the playoffs that year.
I barely even saw any of the game on Sunday. My brothers and dad were in town and they all had to leave early-afternoon. I caught about three drives on a totally legal website which will not be named before the feed cut out. I felt like I was spared. By not seeing any of the filth, I got to feel the “Browns won” vibe without seeing the “they had no business winning and should be relegated to the Mountain West Conference” vibe that went along with it. Sadly, that wasn’t enough to hold me over. I had to know just how bad it was.
If I go out on a limb here and predict that the Browns do not win the Super Bowl this season, this game will probably just fade into the blackness of forgotten wins. It will become a tally in the left column, which really is the important thing, I guess.
So maybe winning is winning…the team just need to do a hell of a lot more of it.