The Factory of Sadness, the Mistake on the Lake, the Pit of Misery. All of these terms have been used colloquially in and around Cleveland. Specifically when talking about the Cleveland Browns season and the miserable product that owner Jimmy Haslam and the Cleveland Browns front office has been putting on the field the last few seasons. However, this is not a recent phenomenon in Cleveland. Any Browns fan will tell you that this mediocre play goes back to when the team came back in 1999.
In 1995, when Art Modell moved the team out of town, many fans were rightfully upset. This team eventually became the Baltimore Ravens, who in the early 2000’s had an all-time defense with future Hall of Famers Ray Lewis and Ed Reed and went on to have winning seasons, leaving Browns fans feeling like they were robbed. The ’95 Browns went 5-11 under head coach Bill Belichick. That’s right before he was a 5-time Super Bowl champion with the Patriots.
While the Browns when they left were not a playoff team, many fans felt they were a competitive team. However, since the team came back as an expansion team in 1999, they have been anything but competitive. Over the 19 seasons, the team has been back in Cleveland they have compiled a 88-216 record. That’s a mere 88 wins or a 28% winning percentage in nearly 20 seasons! With an average of 4.6 wins a year in a league that is seemingly built for parody, in their best season, the team won only 10 games and this season won zero.
The Browns have become the laughingstock of not only the NFL, but of the entire country. They have been embarrassed the city, the fans and the organization. Passing on prospects such as Carson Wentz, Deshaun Watson and Dak Prescott, the Browns have shown no competent ability to draft or develop players. The laundry list of quarterbacks and coaches that they have gone through since ’99 has proven that. And what do we hear at the end of every season? “There is always next year?”
Now, the organization has hit an all-time low, a 0-16 season, only the second time in history that has ever happened. It was already bad enough and to top it off, the owner decides to keep a coach who has now gone 1-31 in two full seasons as the head coach of the team. This is the reason that many of the fans were in favor of the parade protesting the season and the front office executives.
For a city that gives so much support and love to its sports teams to get the type of mediocrity that the Browns have put on the field is becoming a little ridiculous. This city deserves better than half-assed apologies and promises that next season will be different. So I call on you, Mr. Haslam, and the entire front office to change the path of Browns football for the better, or to sell the team. Your choice.