Thursday, September 25, 2008

Now what?

As bad as the Browns have been organizationally since their return, fans could console themselves with the thought that it could be worse. They could be fans of the Detroit Lions. You could bet that each year the Lions would do something truly idiotic and destructive. They made horrible draft choices, bad trades, hired the wrong coaching personnel, and generally meandered around with no idea of how to run a football franchise. All lot of the credit for that consistent crappiness goes to the guy who was running the show---their GM, Matt Millen.

Well, the Ford family had finally had enough, and Millen won't be at the controls in April when the Lions are on the clock. I know Lions' fans are thrilled, but what's that mean for the devoted followers of the pumpkin heads?

It means that there's now plenty of room at the bottom.

Monday, September 22, 2008


That was the sound of a few hundred thousand TV's getting switched away from Sunday's debacle against the Rat-birds. I can't believe that many fans of the Browns toughed it out to watch the end of that one. I didn't. There was nothing to watch. More importantly and more tragically, there was nothing to care about.

For too many people, each Sunday's game is a reason to get out of bed; to be excited; to plan their entire day around the kick-off; to cheer with friends; to plan parties; and to live and die with every play. Not now. As B.B. King sang, "The thrill is gone. The thrill is gone away. The thrill is gone baby. The thrill is gone away. You know you done me wrong baby. And you'll be sorry someday."

I get the feeling that I'm not alone in my indifference to this team. The Rhino, Chocolate Starfish and I went to the Steelers' game together. Afterward, we walked over the bridge that's painted like a football field as Steelers' fans taunted fans of the toothless puppies. No one said anything in response. How could they? If beating the tar out of your so-called rival just about every time you play them doesn't earn you the right to jaw at their fans, what does? The Browns' fans around me just sighed wearily and shuffled on in the unforgiving post-game night. That was all that the Browns had left to them.

Since their schedule is one of the toughest in the NFL this year, the Browns won't have the opportunities they had last year to right the ship against patsies. This year, it looks like the Browns are the patsies. That means that it's going to be a long year with a lot of long, cold post-game walks back to the parking lots.

The fans' rides home won't be much better. After the Steelers' game, I listened to one caller rip unmercifully into Syndric Steptoe. Syndric Steptoe??? You've got to be shitting me. That guy had about as much to do with the outcome of the game as I did. It's not his fault that he's there or that he's asked far too often to block a linebacker in a running play. It's also not his fault that he was on the field for more plays than Kellen Winslow. Who do you think makes those decisions?

It's time for one of the marketing geeks in Berea to take the long walk down to Phil's office to tell him that it's time for the usual cosmetic change to mollify the fans. That means Romeo's ass. In this case, it's probably deserved. Sure, he's a great chum to the players, and that matters if it means the guys play hard for you. But winning matters too, and when you're the head coach, that's more important than being somebody's pal. My impression is that Romeo's just there. "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they toil not, neither do they spin."

That's our guy. He never seems to have answers, but he neither toils nor spins.