Why they hate Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield

ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 01: Professional football player Baker Mayfield speaks at The Tostitos Cantina at Super Bowl LIVE in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Tostitos)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 01: Professional football player Baker Mayfield speaks at The Tostitos Cantina at Super Bowl LIVE in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Tostitos) /

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield may be in a war of words with Colin Cowherd, but Cowherd may not be the only media member Mayfield will battle with in his career.

The recent brouhaha between Baker Mayfield and Colin Cowherd should make you laugh, because the Fox Sports analyst is laughably inappropriate and off base in his merit-less criticism of the star Cleveland Browns quarterback. Nevertheless, it is going to continue, not only from Cowherd but also from other media sectors in search of higher ratings.

Cowherd has been severely wounded by Mayfield because he confidently projected Mayfield as “undraftable” in the 2018 NFL draft. Mayfield was too small, too immature, too erratic, didn’t have the right personality, and was not tall like Sam Darnold. At the same time he lauded the New York Jets for their decision to draft big Sam and proclaimed that the Jets would rule the AFC East.

Hence Cowherd’s credibility as an analyst is shot and his show is unwatchable if you are a serious football fan. Not only did Mayfield establish himself as a premier talent, but the Jets misfired on all eight cylinders, and the Patriots, arch-enemy of the Jets, won the Super Bowl after Cowherd assured his viewers as late as December that they were toast.

More from Dawg Pound Daily

Cowherd uses Mayfield’s public rebuttal as evidence that Mayfield is immature. Truthfully, it would be better if Baker would leave the rebuke of Cowherd to the staff of Dawg Pound Daily. We are only too happy to confirm that Colin Cowherd does indeed act like a donkey from time to time, is very stubborn, and not all that smart. His opinions indeed are not very rational and seem slanted in order to promote more controversy.

However, Cowherd did not prove that Mayfield is immature, only that he is young. The older generation has grown up with quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning, who were polished and unfailingly polite with the media. Going back even further, Roger Staubach was a clean-cut Navy officer who referred to sportswriters as “sir” and “madam.” Trash talk? Never.

However, this is 2019, and perhaps in this phase of American history, young people may not be quite as erudite and polite as their elders might prefer. For example, it is very hard for this analyst to get too upset with Mayfield as long as the President of the United States is doing the same thing in public media, literally referring to his critics as barnyard animals. So it is not like Mayfield is defying the standards of American society when he trash talks his least favorite sportscasters. This is now mainstream, like it or not.

Coach Kitchens will surely give Baker the lecture about shutting out distractions, but if there were a Las Vegas betting line, I would bet against Kitchens in this case.

It’s not just Cowherd, of course. There are going to be 31 other football fan bases that do not like Baker Mayfield. That is just the nature of sport. Almost everyone is against you and you are the bad guy to everyone except for one fan base. New England loves Tom Brady. Everyone else hates him. The reason is that he is so good. If you are a Clevelander, you probably have learned to hate Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco and John Elway among others. Not because they were bad, but because they were very good at beating the Browns. The same will happen with Mayfield, if all goes well.

That is a new phenomenon for the Dawg Pound. No one really hated DeShone Kizer or Josh McCown because they were never much of a threat. Hence it may be surprising that the Browns players are now generating hatred and fear, whereas in the past they were simply ridiculed.

In the Cleveland sports scene, the Cavaliers were in that position while they had LeBron James.  Everybody had some bone to pick with King James. The Indians have also had recent success on the field, notably making to the World Series against the Cubs in 2016, which automatically made them the bad guys because of the national popularity of the Cubs. But the Browns have never stirred league-wide wrath. Until now.

Mayfield is going to be a lightning rod for criticism because he is young, handsome, brash, articulate, immensely popular and very, very skilled at throwing footballs. No one will change him into a monk.

There is a legitimate concern that he needs to avoid the on-field meltdown. In college, Mayfield infamously had a squabble with Kansas, which led to the crotch grabbing incident that landed him in hot water. Hopefully, that was a learning experience, because you can bet that the Steelers, Ravens, Bengals and other NFL opponents are going to try to egg him on. Being fiery and aggressive is a positive attribute, but it does have to be controlled.

By the way, none of this bothers the media in the least, and in fact they love it. Cowherd’s media ratings jumped up after he ran his mouth on Mayfield, which in effect means that Mayfield is making money for him. That is what allows us to confidently predict that this feud is going to continue, and Cowherd is staying on the air despite having flopped gloriously as an analyst for the 2018 draft. Cowherd now has the opportunity to make a living as a vocal critic. He will try to rally 31 fan bases against Mayfield.

Go for it, dude.  Knock yourself out.

This year, the Jets have hauled off and signed Cowherd’s guy Le’Veon Bell from the Steelers. We shall see if Cowherd’s predictions look any better this year. Truth to tell, Darnold is probably going to be a very good quarterback in a few years if the Jets do not ruin him, but he lacked the experience of Mayfield, who had five seasons of major college ball. It is crazy to expect a 21-year-old passer who leaves college early to succeed in his first year in the NFL. Lamar Jackson is the only one who did it last year, but it might have more to do with his excellence as a running threat than his ability as a pocket passer, at least at this early stage of his career.

Of course, neither Mayfield nor the Cleveland media can ever shut up Cowherd, but we can point out the unfairness of his anti-Baker rants. But if Cowherd is going to criticize, there is no need to be bashful about pointing out that Cowherd was the guy who singled out Mayfield as being undraftable, and totally blowing this assessment. No doubt that stings. Cowherd was also way, way premature in congratulating the New York Jets for drafting Darnold and anointing him as a star for the next fifteen years, as he did last year. Frankly, Cowherd failed miserably as an analyst last year, and his (dare I say) immature response is to attack Mayfield to cover up his own failure. It will help him to prop up the ratings for his otherwise lackluster, boring show.

Next. Austin Corbett still working as a backup. dark

This formula for media success will no doubt be replicated by other sportscaster analysts, hopefully for a long time. The Dawg Pound will have to learn to adjust to the sudden negative attention the we will experience for the first time in many years.