Right now, my vote is for laughing stock, but that’s purely a matter of context, coming after 15 years of mismanagement and failure. I’m looking at you, Holmgren. You were just the latest, but you gave us Shurmur, so no one cares what you think.
Under other circumstances (i.e., anyone with a track record for good decision-making), this reaction would almost definitely have gone the other way. As a football decision, I’m ill-qualified to judge whether TRich was valuable, especially since I rarely get to see the Browns play. But many analysts seem to think this was a bold, courageous, and wise decision on the part of—what are their names again? Does it matter? Here, here, and here. I get their reasoning and why this could be good for the Browns. It’s going to be a couple of years before we know if TRich was middling all along, or injury prone, or will become another name on the list of unique and innovative ways (trading your schedule cover boy two games into a season? I mean, who does that?) that Cleveland franchises shoot themselves in the foot. But it is those few years that are the problem.
As an emotional decision, as a reminder that a new band of serious-looking old guys is asking for yet more patience out of a fan base—the whole thing feels like another punch in the stomach. Those are years that Browns fans will never get back. Just like the last 15. It was a year ago that I wrote this. I think the defense might be better, but the needle doesn’t seem to have moved much. What this management is missing is any ability to inspire confidence in their decisions and pleas for patience. And they know it. We fans can talk ourselves into anything, and while they make it hard for us to keep doing that, they still might get the last word and we’ll eat crow when they deliver us a winner in a couple of years. Right? I mean, right?
Desperation aside, the towel has once again been cast. We give up. Another draft will come, we’ll get a shot of hope for some reason and we’ll be right back where we started. And so we look once again for the comedy in deep spiritual resignation and remind ourselves it’s just a dumb game. We hope the Indians make the playoffs and enjoy watching the Steelers suck (for a little while). Small pleasures.
The text from atlswami about the trade was just minutes old when I logged on to our fantasy football league and dumped San Diego’s defense for Minnesota’s (vs. Cleveland). It’s a good play, man. I figure this kind of declaration of despair would knock the wind out of the whole team. Disloyal? Maybe. In three years of doing this, I’ve always had a Brown and no Ravens on my rosters. No, I prefer to see it as a different form of loyalty—mild, meaningless protest. At least that’s what I tell myself.