Almost from Day One, the new Browns have subjected their fans to an unending roster list of woes, starting with well-meaning but misguided ownership, inept general managers (Dwight Clarke), hapless head coaches (Chris Palmer, Butch Davis, Romeo Crennel), dreadful draft choices (Tim Couch, Courtney Brown), and injury-prone free agents (LeCharles Bentley & Joe Jurevicius). Two former Ravens front office men, Phil Savage and George Kokinis, both good personnel guys, have been chewed up and spit out from the wood chipper that is the Cleveland Browns. The only thing that Cleveland has rewarded their fans with is a brand new stadium in which they can suffer their fall weekend torture in comfort. Uh, make that relative comfort. It is Cleveland, after all.
I have an insider’s view on all this because my former Baltimore-based company sent me to work at a NE Ohio facility back in the early 90’s. I returned to the Cleveland area periodically until 2001. So, I got to know the city and the fans pretty well. I willingly admit that I became a Browns fan back in those early days. In fact, I was driving on I-480 back to Cleveland-Hopkins airport to fly home the day the news broke on the radio that the Browns were moving to Baltimore. I almost hit a jersey barrier.
Curse or no, the ironic part is that Art Modell would be the LAST person in the world to curse or wish ill will to the fans and city of Cleveland. It truly pained him to leave Northeast Ohio. His contributions to the NFL are well known and are justifiably legend. He was a civic leader and a generous supporter and donor to the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic. His teams played in a hell hole of a stadium (believe me, I’ve been there for baseball and football games) that was built for the 1932 Olympics that went to Los Angeles. I’ll never forget the pained look, the grimace on Art’s face when Parris Glendenning held that gloating news conference announcing the team’s arrival. He really didn’t want to be here.
I have felt the Browns’ fans vitriol as well….almost to the day of the moving announcement, and for several years afterward, it was immediately directed at me, the "Baltimore guy." The Ravens winning the Super Bowl only 5 years after leaving has only increased their outrage at all things Baltimore.
As an old Colt season ticket holder who witnessed the decline of the Colts through the Irsay regime, I, of course, hated Bob the Red-Faced Owner for moving the club, Jack Kent Cooke for trying to keep a team out of Baltimore, and Paul Tagliabue for being his willing accomplice.
But you know what? We got the Ravens, Jack Kent Cooke is dead, and the Skins passed out of the family and into infinitely worse hands – but that’s a blog for another day. Finally, the arrogant Tags is out of football. My pain and hate has long passed. I just wish more Baltimore Colt fans could find the same release.
Cleveland fans really need to do the same thing, too. But I guess it’s hard when your team uniformly stinks thanks to clueless ownership.
Jamison Hensley thinks that once Art Modell is voted into the Hall of Fame, all this will pass. I think, for various reasons, not the least being the lobbying of a certain vociferous Cleveland sportswriter, that Art will never smell the HOF while he’s alive. And that’s unfortunate.
And so the curse will continue.
Who are these guys? Win 3, lose 3, win 1, lose 1. Looking alternately like world beaters against the Broncos and totally lost against the Bengals, I honestly have no idea what Raven team will show up Monday night against what is arguably the worst team in the NFL. I bet ESPN is ruing the day they put this turkey on their schedule.
The best part of the game may be right before the kickoff when Browns fans are reportedly going to stage a protest walkout.
Monday night the Ravens should come out and completely obliterate the Browns. Eric the Fat has lost the locker room as well as the fan base, and their squad is little better than expansion team quality.
Anything less than a 3 touchdown win is completely unacceptable.
If the Ravens don’t dominate, it will say to me that this team and its season are now lost to mediocrity. Then we can paraphrase Dennis Greene and say "The Ravens aren’t what we thought they were."
But, eternal optimist that I am……..
Ravens 34 Joshua Cribbs 7