It’s a tale as old as time. Guy loves girl for how she looks. Things fall apart, guy stops seeing her. Guy bumps into her later and she’s suddenly a knockout again. Guy can’t shake feeling that something isn’t right, although he’s enjoying what he sees.
This is your Cleveland Browns.
Fans love the Browns despite constant (and I do mean constant – ask anyone under 30 about their favorite Browns memory and they will not mention a playoff game because the only one we remember was a painful loss) disappointment, anguish, losing, and general what-the-hell-just-happened moments. We still watch, we still relatively attend games, and we still shell out money for some odd reason.
Every year we start wondering if the team is finally headed in the right direction, and then every year we’re let down again. It’s like a late summer ritual, no different than sending kids off to school and wondering where all the attractive girls disappeared to (hint, they’re wearing hoodies and they’re still attractive).
This season is no different. The Browns seemingly addressed their needs in the draft, throwing many more question marks into the equation and hoping that one of them straightens out into an exclamation point. Then the schedules came out and people predicted a three-win team at best. Then workouts started happening and there was renewed optimism, despite the fact that the Browns are playing against the Browns and that clearly means nothing.
Then some news started leaking about Randy Lerner selling the team, an agreement had been reached and new owner Jimmy Haslam III had his press conference on Friday, August 3rd. You probably know all of this if you’re still reading. So what’s this situation?
Well, if he fires president Mike Holmgren or general manager Tom Heckert, which is the consensus, then we’re watching another classic case of a “right path” being derailed by someone who wants their own guys in place. If Haslam leaves them and they fail, it’s going to cost the franchise at least another three years of rebuilding.
What I’m saying is that there is a legitimate chance that this cripples the team again for another several years, not unlike firing a coach as his scheme is starting to take hold, or benching a quarterback for a backup who immediately gets injured, or like hiring/firing coordinators like they’re waiters at Bennigan’s.
I hope I’m wrong, but I feel like Haslam’s press conference, while well-received, had a cookie cutter quality about it. He said all the right things because that’s what you do when you make a billion dollar investment. His job was to please the crowd and protect his investment. Surely he hopes that the team does well, but presumably that’s only because it will create more profit for him, right? That’s what investments are.
Everyone talks about the NFL being a business, so why is this any different? No one should care that he rooted for the Pittsburgh Steelers. His goal is to make his investment a good one, which should include building a better football team.
I think Haslam just gave the team a face lift. Maybe the wrinkles will disappear long enough for a few victories to sneak in there. If they do, no one will care about the wrinkles later. I just can’t shake the feeling that she (we’re back to the ex-girlfriend analogy) is going to screw us over again and leave us worse off than we were three months ago. The only problem is…she looks good right now. So…man, I’m kind of losing my train of thought. The Browns are just…um. No. She like…wait…I wonder if she’s seeing anyone right now.