Some people are fans of the Cleveland Browns. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Cleveland Browns. This 2012 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read the other Why Your Team Sucks 2012 previews here.
1. IMPOSTORS. Ever see one of those shitty movies where a child goes missing for years, and then he returns to his parents and everyone is happy, until the parents soon realize that Little Junior wasn't quite the same as before? His mannerisms are a bit off. He seems detached. Sometimes, at night, they find him sharpening a saw in the basement. Then they realize that the child isn't their child at all. It's a fucking cyborg disguised as a kid, or they realize the kid has been possessed by a three-horned sand demon. That's the New Browns. Everything I wrote about them three years ago still holds true today. They're IMPOSTORS. They're like the Talented Mister Ripley if the Talented Mister Ripley weren't all that talented.
Now that Al Davis is cold and dead in the ground, this is single most depressing franchise in the NFL. The Browns, as presently constituted, don't even feel like a team. They're like a POW camp for NFL players hoping to one day escape to a real team. I wanted to go to a Browns game in person but it turns out that, in order to do so, you have to die and be sentenced to afterlife purification in order to find yourself at their home stadium. Many teams can stake their claim to having an awful history of quarterbacking, but take a look at the New Browns list:
• Tim Couch
• Ty Detmer
• Doug Pederson
• Spergon Wynn
• Kelly Holcomb
• Jeff Garcia
• Luke McCown
• Trent Dilfer
• Charlie Frye
• Derek Anderson
• Brady Quinn
• Ken Dorsey
• Bruce Gradkowski
• Colt McCoy
• Seneca Wallace
I just ... God, it's so awful, isn't it? It's depressing. It's genuinely depressing. BROWN is such an apt word for them. Watching this team is like being forced to sit through The Phantom Menace. They're the sequel fanboys were hoping for, only the end product somehow made everything that came before it even worse. I know Browns fans are among the most loyal and devoted in football. But in all honesty, don't you kinda wish they had never come back? There has to be a small part of you that wishes the New Browns had never been born. Far better to spend the past decade imagining having a fun, winning team instead of having to watch the toxic sludge this franchise is in reality. You might hate yourself for thinking it, but surely it crossed your mind whenever you saw Charlie Frye try to complete a pass.
And the worst part is that other teams routinely lift themselves out of laughingstock status. The Patriots used to be a joke. The Saints used to be a joke. Even the Lions—THE LIONS—have gotten their act together. And yet, it still doesn't feel as if this franchise will ever right itself. The New Browns are not an affectionate, cuddly bunch. They are the living dead.
2. Trent Richardson is doomed. You can hear the desperation when the Browns tell you that their new rookie running back will be back in time from surgery to start the season. They so urgently want you to believe that, but you and I know better. You and I know that the Browns locker room is a haven of filth and disease matched only by the outdoor toilets of central Mumbai. The Browns are like a fucking Robin Cook novel come to life. People just mysteriously fall ill and die all over the place. The team's surgical instruments are all covered with black algae. Does this team even have a training staff? Is there some evil equipment manager who's secretly a Steelers fan and throws all the Purell shipments into a nearby ravine? Cleveland is where players go to die. Richardson is never coming back. He's going to lose all his limbs and his sight and hearing and he'll be begging his nurses to kill him by shaking his head in Morse Code. SOS ... Help meeeeeee ...
They shouldn't have even traded up for Richardson to begin with. The Vikings were never gonna take him. The Bucs were never really gonna outmaneuver them. And why are you taking a back that high? It's the most disposable position in the sport. Now the New Browns have an injured back and Chris Weinke Jr. to show for their drafting efforts. Holy shit, somehow things feel even more hopeless than they did a second ago.
3. Who will be catching the ball? I honestly have no idea. Is Frisman Jackson still there? No? Could Webster Slaughter have a son and let him play for this team? Because Webster Slaughter ruled. This team just burned a second-round pick to take Josh Gordon in the supplemental draft, that's how bereft they are at the position. They have no tight ends and whatever tight ends they DO put out on the field will die of staph infection by Week 7. The defense is puke. The rest of the division is vastly superior. There is nothing good that can come from any of this.
4. Let's talk about the new owner. I haven't gotten to the fact that the new Browns owner was a minority Steelers owner. JESUS. It's like the final insult. Here's a team that's run by a half-retired Mike Holmgren and coached by an empty vessel, and now it's been purchased by the enemy. I don't think Jimmy Haslam wants this team to succeed at all. I think he's gonna cut the brakes on the team bus on the way to the opener. Then he's gonna sleep with every Browns fan's wife, then light up a cigar and cackle like a madman.
5. Hear it from Browns fans! Take a deep breath. We have a lot of grievances to wade through here.
The Cleveland Browns suck because they are the Cleveland Browns. Is there really anything more to put in that post? Everyone will understand and nod in agreement.
A less scientific method of seeing how awful the Browns were is to look back at any former fantasy football leagues. When was the last time you can recall a Brown being willingly drafted or included in a trade? Even autodraft knows to stay away, and it thinks picking up 4 kickers is a sound strategy.
However, it's not all bad being a Browns fan. Suffering through the season will gives you a foundation to enjoy anything that comes next. We tend to get a lot of excitement from the draft.
The name itself is synonymous with losing, ineptitude, and dipshit decision making. Yet, I still watch every week. Cause I'm a moron.
My wife and I are expecting our first child and I've been pestered by friends and family about whether or not I'm going to paint the nursery orange and brown (worst color combo in the NFL btw). My stock answer: "FUCK NO. I don't want my child to grow up to be a goddamn loser." That is how much the Browns suck, so much that I don't want to pass this disease on to my son.
Having season tickets to the Browns is like paying thousands of dollars to have 8 strangers come over on different Sundays throughout the fall and rape your family in front of you.
Mike Holmgren, Bob LaMonte, and Pat Shurmur can get fucked and stay fucked. And fuck Tim Couch, Gerard Warren, Courtney Brown, William Green, Kellen Winslow, Jeff Faine, Braylon Edwards, and Brady Quinn while we're at it.
Not that you need dig too deep for material for this, but assuming Brandon Weeden starts Week 1, the Browns will start their 17th QB since returning to the league in 1999. That's 17 in 14 seasons. As bad as Tim Couch was, he's the only QB to start games in more than three different seasons for the Browns. Not a whole lot of talent, consistency or patience at that position.
Idiot who still roots for the Browns:
Quite frankly, I wish they never came back. Life was good in Cleveland, Sunday's were free, the city always got the game of the week on TV. It's hard to muster up anger anymore. If the Browns win the Super Bowl in my lifetime (a very unlikely scenario) it will not make up for all of the historical nut punch losses or The Suck Era. One final thought, I do not pray for many things but I do pray for this: May Art Modell receive a particularly painful and prolonged form of rectal cancer on his way out the door of life. Some may call this being bitter, others would call it being from Cleveland.
There are already 15 guys sitting out practices for injuries after preseason week 1 which will double after our "dress rehearsal" game against the Packers in preseason week 2. And Brad Childress will be Brad Childress.
I forgot he was there! OH GOD.
God I hate being a Browns fan.
When you walk into the stadium, you are patted down and scanned with a metal detector twice. Then, just in case you forgot, there are announcements blaring through the speakers in the concourse reminding you not to punch, spit on, stab, or kill anyone. And yet there are still 200 fights that break out during the course of a game.
Every time Pat Shurmur talks, this is what comes out. Under his helm, our team comes out totally flat in the first and third quarters - the two instances where your coach should have you whipped into such a fervor that you come out spiking babies and punching taints, and it took us until game ELEVEN last year to score a touchdown in those quarters.
The worst part about being a Browns fan these days is the fact that that syphilitic dickbag Art Modell will not die. I've been waiting for years to take a shit on his grave and I don't even get the satisfaction of doing that.
The city of Cleveland is such a low hanging fruit that the rest of the country doesn't even take joy or find much humor in Cleveland schaudenfreude anymore. People kind of raise their nostrils at Cleveland like we are a dirty diaper left on the floor of a public restroom, a sort of disgusted indifference with a careful sidestep.
The Randy Lerner era was just like the movie Tommy Boy, that is if Tommy Boy was some horrible drama without a happy ending...
In the Cleveland version, Big Tom Callahan still died and left the family business to his son, Tommy. Only, Tommy didn't care about the factory, the town, or the new brake pad division. He never had a Tony Robbins/chicken wings moment. Tommy just said "fuck it" and gave control to Beverly and Paul (who bled the business dry), and then wasted all of his time on sailing.
Ten years later, he finally sold out to Ray Zalinsky. The end.
Instead of having to push a stone up a mountain for all time, our eternal punishment is a solid kick in the nuts about Week 2 every season.
At one point, this team was paying three coaches (Crennel, Mangini, and Shurmur) and three GMs (Phil Savage, George Kokinis, and Tom Heckert) because Randy Lerner decided that replacing the coaching staff and GM every season or two helped build continuity. When he finally decided that he didn't want to play anymore in the sandbox that his dad built for him, Randy decided to sell the team to a guy who was a part-owner of the Steelers. I don't know why that bothers me so much; it shouldn't because saying that the Browns' biggest rival is still the Steelers is like saying that Nigeria gave the USA a helluva basketball game in this year's Olympics. A team can't be your rival if they dominate you in every way, shape, and form, year-in and year-out.
1. I sit in the DAWG POUND every year. Every women in a fifty foot radius looks and talks like Catelynn from Teen Mom. Every one of these women insists that she doesn't have an accent because people in Cleveland don't have accents. Every one of these women insists that she is attractive because she "looks like a real woman." In reality, they look like wildebeasts and sound like extras from the Drew Carey show.
2. The Cleveland Municipal Stadium Lot tailgate looks like an orange and brown cross between Deliverance, Blade Runner, and a Bone Thugs and Harmony video. Chances are, you may get shanked with a sharpened toothbrush and/or see 10 -15 Brady Quinn and Dave Zastadil jerseys.
3. The last good draft pick this team made was Webster Slaughter in the second round in 1986. Tim Couch over Donavan McNabb. Courtney Brown over LaVar Arrington and Brian Urlacher. Gerard Warren over LaDainian Tomlinson, Justin Smith and Richard Seymour. William Green over Ed Reed. Kellen "Harley Davidson" Winslow. Kamerion Wimbley instead of Haloti Ngata. Brady fucking Quinn. And now they draft a running back who needs knee surgery before a single pre-season snap.
4. The league gave them the first pick in the draft in 1999 so they would come into the league and NOT be a doormat. Instead, they lost 133 of their first 200 games. And, yet, because Cleveland is such a hell-hole, this team is somehow the pinnacle of Cleveland civic pride.
5. Josh Cribbs' Twitter feed may be the most illiterate thing to happen to the English language since Jessica Simpson tried to write her own songs.
6. You can't use the water fountains in the stadium after October, because the pipes freeze. Yes, they built a football stadium in Cleveland, Ohio and didn't account for the fact that, you know, it gets cold as fuck in Cleveland, Ohio in the winter. How does that happen?
7. Their rivals are Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. Could there be two more pathetic cities to be grouped with? That's like being rivals in high school with the girl that talks in a secret dragon language and the guy who tried to start a Mystery Science Theater 3000 club.
You already KNOW why they suck on the field (Tim Couch crying, Derek Anderson throwing into quadruple coverage, Brady Quinn sucking cock like a circus seal on Molly, the D'wayne Rudd helmet toss, Brian FUCKING ROBISKIE, etc).
But why they really suck is that they are ruining my marriage. I live in NYC but fly back for the opener in Cleveland each year as I am a grade-A masochist. But it doesn't end with the Browns getting beat by the Bengals last year (oh, because Shurmur couldn't get his defense on the field in time and BRUCE COCKSUCKING GRADKOWSKI quick snaps us and throws a 40-yard TD to AJ Green).
Now, I am so pissed off and piss drunk that I decide to go to a strip club in the flats and blow over $1,000 completely forgetting that my wife monitors my credit card statements like that dude in the Stasi in The Lives of Others. A few weeks later, the statement arrives and she goes apeshit (she's from Long Island, so she loves to fight).
In the end, she doesn't blame me. She blames the Browns for sucking so bad. She hates the Browns. But I'll be at the opener against Philly on 9/9. THAT should be a fun one.
This transaction sums up the Browns. In the sixth round of the 2006 draft we got a fucking tank of a man Lawrence Vickers. This man was solid and he cleared paths wherever he went. Doesn't start in '06 but does in '07. What the fuck happens, Jamal Lewis goes crazy for 1300 yards with Vickers leading. In 2008, he clears the way for another Lewis 1000-yard campaign. Then in 2009, he makes Jerome Fuckin Harrison look like goddamn Jim Brown the last 3 games of the season: 561 yards in 3 games. Jerome Harrison . In 2010 he decides that he will pave the way for Madden Coverboy Peyton Hillis. He got Peyton Hillis 1100 yards! But then the Browns outsmart themselves (like always) and decide to let the tank leave while he is entering his age 28 season. We didn't need the guy. Let's get another white guy, because if there is one thing Clevelanders fuckin' love its talentless white athletes.
So we draft Owen Marcecic. Vickers paves the way for Arian and Ben Tate. Then all you hear is Browns fans complain and dream that if they could get Ben Tate we could solidify the run game. No! You! Fuckin! Idiots!
1. Our first pick in the draft has already had to get knee surgery
2. God hates Cleveland
3. Our new starting quarterback will be a senior citizen in 2 years
4. God hates Cleveland
5. We've already lost a starting linebacker who wasn't that good to begin with, so of course his backup will be much worse
6. God hates Cleveland
7. The franchise was just bought by a fucking STEELERS fan!!!!!
8. God hates Cleveland
9. Greg Little the only receiver with NFL talent can't manage to catch the fucking ball
10. And of course, God still hates Cleveland
Cleveland is the weapons testing site of failure. The China Lake of futility. Browns fans are the dummies in the impact zone used to measure the shock waves of disappointment.
I hope to die just after the Browns win the Super Bowl; I'd like to live forever.
Consider the AFC North, for a moment. Ray Lewis is an accessory to murder. Ben Roethlisberger is a rapist. And the Bengals are just about running out of space to bury players' bodies in their stadium, since their owner is too cheap to pay for a proper funeral. In any kind of world where a loving God existed, the Browns would be winning regularly. In a world where there was no God, each team would win some of the time. But only in our world, where God exists and is a colossal douchecanoe, does the team with the fewest criminals lose the most. That's why the Browns suck: No other team in the NFL continuously proves the worst about the world.
C for catching, a skill no Brown can do;
L for the 12 losses we'll surely accrue.
E for endzone, a place we'll never go;
V for the velocity not on a McCoy throw.
E for everywhere, our spots with holes,
L for the let down of more field goals.
A for the abysmal state of our LBs
N for the negative wind chill that makes my ass freeze.
D for the drinking problems we have concealed,
B for the bottles we threw on the field.
R for the redzone, which allegedly exists,
O for our offense, whose ineptness persists.
W for wide-outs, of which we have none,
N for my noose, or perhaps my gun.
And S is for Sunday: the day of the week I'll get out of bed, put on a my Browns' jersey, and drink my way through 60 minutes of watching a team whose offense has at most a total of one NFL-caliber receiver in the whole lot, a rookie quarterback old enough to have Alzheimer's disease, an offensive line that possesses absolutely no right side, and a running back tandem that is averaging 1 knee surgery for every 2.5 games played; and a defense that will not only always be on the field but that has an injury ravaged line, a linebacker corps that wouldn't be able to make the cut at any of the DIII schools in the area, an already thin secondary, and that will have to go up against the likes of Vick, Dalton (x2), Fitzpatrick, Eli, Luck, Rivers, Flacco (x2), Romo, Roethlisberger (x2), Palmer, Cassell, Griffin, and Peyton. Seriously. 0 and 16 isn't out of the question.
I equate our situation to having a drug addict in your family. You will always love that person because you grew up with them, but they have burned you in the past and they will most likely burn you again. They will make great efforts to get healthy and stay on track, but they will eventually steal your TV or call you from jail. You want to give up on them and move on, but that isn't an option. What if they turn it around? So you continue to maintain that glimmer of hope. You know you shouldn't give them more money and enable them, but you do. Because you love them, and you have stayed by their side since day one and families don't give up on family. One day they will get sober…..one day.
Wanna be part of the Deadspin NFL previews? It's simple. Just email me and give me ample evidence of why your team sucks. I'll throw any good material into the post and give you proper credit. Next team up: THE STEELERS.