The Cleveland Browns


BY:Jeff Schneberk

A quick look at the Ohio State Wikipedia page tells me that they are known for some things. According to this page, however, football is not one of them.

I do see that it is also known for being a swing state (a state that never goes in any particular direction when it comes to elections/voting, and I did not know that either.

The state is somewhat famous for the Buckeye tree and football team which uses the name, represents the Ohio State University in Columbus.

The Cleveland Browns pretty much take the cake when it comes to doing things the wrong way, with just about everything associated with sport.
In one of the few ‘Interstate battles’ in the National Football League, the one in Ohio over the weekend, was interesting.

It featured two teams who have had their fair share of problems over the years.

The Cleveland Browns (now 2-2), who just recently traded away their top draft pick from this year’s Entry Draft for a player to be named later, hosted the upstart Cincinnati Bengals (now 2-2), who are coming off impressive victories over the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers; both wins came in Cincy.

To my surprise, Cleveland a) played well enough to win the game and b) they actually did win the game.
After would-be started Brandon Weedon was injured, Brian Hoyer has been called upon twice now, and twice he has delivered.

This time, he did it in front of more than 70,000 wild, crazy (and incredibly dedicated) fans at the Dawg Pound. It was his first win in front of the Dawg Pound.

Hoyer is a local product and apparently he grew up hoping to play pro in Cleveland. Anyways, he has obviously done that, and he recorded his first win in his first start at home, and threw 2 TD passes as the Browns topped the Bengals by a 17-6 final.

Everyone has reason to get all excited now, right? Wrong.

Chances are this is going to be one of the few high points for the only sports team on the planet without a team logo/emblem.

Cleveland’s NFL club has been annoying people consistently for at least the past 10 years. Their official clothing company should include something on the bottom of all of their merchandise, in fine print, ‘smashing our fans’ hopes repeatedly since _____’.

That sums it up pretty good.

According to Wikipedia, the Cleveland Browns were founded in 1945 by a businessman by the name of Arthur B. “Mickey” McBride. Although it’s not exactly news anymore, I regret to report that Mr. McBride passed away back in November of 1972.

The poor guy is probably screaming from his grave if he can see what’s been happening to what he started back in ’45.

Now, his once proud team has set the standards in how NOT to conduct business in the professional sports world.

McBride apparently owned the Browns from 1944 to 1953. The Browns had won five league championships, and had reached the championship game on two other occasions. This is said to be the most successful period for a Cleveland sports team in the city’s modern history. McBride was also a real estate developer and investor who was active in Cleveland, Chicago and Florida. Interestingly enough, Mr. McBride also had ties to organized crime figures but was apparently never arrested or convicted of a crime.

Cleveland does have 11 Conference championships dating back to 1950 and 13 Division championships. Each championship year is different. Cleveland has also made 28 playoff appearances since 1950.

Now, if we fast forward a good 60 years later to the present, we all sit back and wonder how the team went from what appears to be a fairly respectable franchise to, well…what it is today, which for the most part is a laughing stock of its league.

Draft pick busts left, right and centre and a few crazy trades along the way have led to disappointing seasons year after year in Cleveland.

This is the only team I have ever seen that has traded away their top draft pick two weeks into the season, for…yet another draft pick. One of two things can come of this a) more proof that the team is more backwards than the Canadian Justice system, or b) the new ownership group may be onto something when it comes to operating an NFL team.

There have been so many changes at the quarterback position. For a long time, the University of Southern California was a quarterback factory (Matt Leinart, Mark Sanchez, John David Booty, Carson Palmer, the jury is still out on Matt Barkley so the list will probably go on) while Cleveland seems to be the place of choice if football mediocrity is your thing.

Especially if you are fresh out of college.

Going into this season, Brandon Weedon was thought of the same way Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson or Colt McCoy were thought of, as the guy who could lead Cleveland to glory (not ‘back to glory’ of course because that would imply that they had been there recently).

Then Weedon injured his thumb and then they had to ‘promote’ this Brian Hoyer kid, who is now on a two-game winning streak. There are not too many Browns QBs that could ever say that; not even McCoy. The only top pick that has ever had any success in Cleveland is Joe Thomas. McCoy was a star at Texas, Quinn was revered at Notre Dame. Now, they are both backups (NYJ and SF I think).

Hoyer does not have Weeden’s high-powered arm, but he has shown composure and control in the pocket and made enough big plays to keep the first-down markers moving. But of course, so did Brady Quinn.

“He’s done a good job,” Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas said when asked about Brian Hoyer. “I don’t know how to characterize it. He’s making the big throws, he’s getting the ball out of his hand when there’s nothing there. He’s doing a good job for us.”

Most of the other top draft picks over the past 8-10 years have been traded away, few of them have had any success.

Media conferences involving one-time head coach Romeo Crennel were as entertaining to watch as a John Tortorella presser when he coached the New York Rangers.

Next up for the Browns will be a Thursday night match with the surprisingly rising Buffalo Bills.

Weedon was cleared to play as of yesterday (Monday) but obviously Rob Chudzinski is going to stick with Hoyer. For now.

This concept of waiting ‘week to week’ to name a Cleveland Browns starting quarterback is bound to continue. I will put money on that.

It has been going on in Cleveland since at least 2007 when it was anyone’s guess between Quinn, Anderson and Charlie Frye.

But for the first time in about 10 years, there will be no quarterback controversy before the game on Thursday night.

After the game, who knows?

Following the Bills, Cleveland has a rough schedule, pre-bye week, including the upstart Lions, Packers, Chiefs and defending champion Ravens.



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