BY CLAY ABLES | BALL STATE SPORTS LINK
I’m not going to make a Cleveland Browns joke, because at this point it’s past being witty.
Since Knute Rockne innovated the forward pass, Cleveland Browns football fans have been destined to be cursed.
Their greatest player, Jim Brown, quit early to become a movie star. Ernie Davis, the next Jim Brown, passed away due to a battle with Leukemia.
From that awful tragedy in May of 1963 to present day, the Browns’ relationship with its fans can be simply described as downtrodden.
Take a glance at all of the bad franchises in sports. As pathetic and ineffective as they may be, each one has had shining moments or have figured out how to win at some point.
Even the Sacramento Kings, the Cleveland Browns closest relative in the poorly-run franchise family.
They were at the top of the NBA for a solid five years with Chris Webber, Mike Bibby, Peja Stojakovic and Bobby Jackson. And who can forget Jay Will balling and throwing passes off his elbow prior to that? These days he’s turned into the Benjamin Button of YMCA Basketball.
In Major League Baseball, the Pirates have had some horrific years, but come on! Barry Bonds, Jim Leyland when he was really Jim Leyland?
Now they’re hanging around with Andrew McCutchen, one of the best athletes in baseball and an incredible fan base behind them.
Even in the NFL, the Raiders have been the laughing stock of the league since 10 years before I was born and legging it out until last season.
Now though, they’re a show! Derek Carr is the new Brett Favre, Jack Del Rio is taking shots at ESPN and Amari Cooper is even better than expected. Shake that together with moving to Vegas in a few years.
Are you kidding me? You could bet on how many protein shakes Khalil Mack consumed on a Tuesday.
Set the spread a 7.5 and take the over even if it’s -250 odds.
My point is on this it doesn’t matter if you’re a fledgling sports franchise like the New Orleans Hornets, an unlucky one such as the Chicago Cubs, or even a flat out dumb sports franchise in New York (pick the team).
You still fall blindly, eventually into success.
So why not the Browns?
They’ve tried everything. The Browns have had more quarterbacks in the last 10 years than college students who have been on student loans.
Coaches out the wazoo, GMs galore and the team even left town to get away from the stench of its past.
They came back and it still smells like a skunk was run over by a garbage truck.
The answer is to me easy.
The Browns aren’t just poorly run, they’re dysfunctional without a plan. Which is 1,000,000 times worse than being dumb and unlucky.
In business and in life you can have a lot of character flaws and get by. Being dysfunctional without a plan is a combination you can’t overcome.
Listen, we all know the Browns are poorly run. You’ve seen them draft every wrong way imaginable.
They signed Andre Rison, thought Johnny Manziel was mature enough to run a franchise even though he isn’t even stable enough to watch your dog for a weekend and did I mention that RG3 was their solution at quarterback?
A short, talented, brittle, disliked, uncoachable by Mike Shannon, Robert Griffin III.
Hmmm short, talented, brittle, disliked, and uncoachable.
Did the Browns just have a guy like that? Last name was Brady right?
Oh, mental lapse on my part. Brady is the quarterback in New England, whose coach Bill Belichick was the one they fired back in the day in Cleveland.
At one point, they also had a defensive coordinator who constantly infuriated Paul Finebaum. I think his name was Nick Saban.
Hope that guy landed on his feet somewhere.
So to recap, the Browns thought the two most sustained and winningest coaches at the college and pro level named Belichick and Saban weren’t adept enough to run a football team.
That’s not just being dumb. It’s called not having a plan.
Dumb with a bad plan is pretty hard to overcome, but dumb and no plan is far more scary.
I know a lot of people who aren’t smart but with a plan. They may not be great, but eventually they’ll figure out some solution just due to trial and error. Hence the sparse success of the Kings, Pirates, and Raiders.
But no plan and dumb?
That’s the sports equivalent to Allen in Hangover Part III driving around his dad’s Mercedes, drinking a Heineken with a giraffe hitched to the back.
Only one result can be expected. Perpetual losing or you’re forced into meeting with Marshall as he runs you off the highway to kidnap Doug for collateral.
Either way it’s not a fun ride.