In the spring of 2014, I told my brother I would not renew my Browns season tickets. This was a difficult decision. The tickets have been in my family since my grandfather purchased them for the Cleveland Rams. I gave them up for many reasons, one of which I was tired of freezing my ass off watching a lousy team lose game after game. The straw that broke the camel’s back, however, was owner Jimmy Haslam. The previous year, in spring of 2013, the Browns accelerated season ticket renewal, asking people to commit a month earlier than previously. At the same time, they announced that they were going to be different, better team. I renewed. Then, the Browns spent lots of money ($78 mil) on defense (Paul Kruger, Desmond Bryant) and not a penny on a woeful offense. After that, they traded Trent Richardson after two games. This ended up being a smart move, but at the time I construed it as giving up on the season after two weeks. I felt like the victim in a bait and switch. Then yet another massacre of the coaching ranks followed the end of the 2013 season. Was Chud the next coming of Lombardi? No, but he did not deserve to get fired after one season. This franchise has absolutely no concept of what the words “continuity” or “stability” mean.
So, I did not renew my seats for 2014. Then, miracle of miracle, the Browns seemed to be playing better. We were 7-4 with a shot at the playoffs in November. I started to think, uh-oh, I made a huge mistake. I should have kept my tickets.
But, my faith in the Browns’ ability to remain completely dysfunctional has been restored. The team plummeted to a 7-9 record, losing five straight at the end. After the season, the team has continued making headlines and not for playing great football. Their post-season accomplishments thus far include:
1 – Josh Gordon failing yet another substance test.
2 – Johnny Manziel checking into rehab.
3- The team lost offensive coordinator Kyle Shannahan, replacing him with someone who’s not been responsible for play calls since 2011, his one and only season as an OC, at football powerhouse San Jose State. It’s been reported that Shanahan had 32 distinct reasons he wanted out of his contract. 2015 will begin with the team’s 6th OC in the last six years.
4- The team is under investigation for failing to follow the NFL’s communication guidelines during games. They are facing possible fines, lost draft choices, and a GM suspension (whatever that accomplishes).
5- Multiple news reports of owner Jimmy Haslam’s meddling.
On the heels of these wonderful accomplishments, the Browns announced large price increases for tickets. Great timing, team!
The Browns have restored my faith. They have clearly shown that they have what it takes to remain the NFL’s most dysfunctional franchise for years to come. I look forward to watching their games on my couch in 2015. I’m just not sure who I’ll be rooting for any more.
Till the next post,