Some people are fans of the Cleveland Browns. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Cleveland Browns. This 2015 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.
Your team: Cleveland Browns:
Your 2014 record: 7-9. I’m as stunned as you are. They should hang a banner.
Your coach: Mike Pettine. Keep in mind that the Browns fired poor Rob Chudzinski after just one season, and Pettine was the only person out there willing to replace him. And how did the Browns reward him for volunteering to throw himself into the dumpster fire? By having their moron GM send illegal texts to the sideline during games to actively bitch about Pettine’s handiwork. Only the Browns could find a way to cheat (and get caught and punished) in a way that offered absolutely NO strategic advantage on the field. They are the first and last NFL franchise to get punished for gossiping.
As a result of Textgate (they can’t even get cool scandal names), offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan deserted Cleveland for the same job in Atlanta. Do you know how incompetent you have to be to make Kyle Shanahan look like the shrewd one? Lil’ Shanny is a clueless rat bastard. But put him in Cleveland and PRESTO! He’s Bill Walsh. It’s amazing. Being the Browns means you exist on a permanent, endless assembly line of mechanized humiliation. I feel awful for Pettine. I hope he finds some measure of peace coaching the Bills linebackers a year from now. He deserves it.
Your quarterback: GAME ON.
OH SHIT YEAH. I hope you have a firm grip on your scrotum, because this QB competition will BLOW YOUR FUCKING NUTS OFF. It is ON. One QB is an alcoholic who will one day rent himself out for fraternity dwarf-tossing parties. The other is a washout QB from a 2-14 team. MY NIPPLES ARE SHOOTING HOT MAGMA FROM THE THOUGHT OF IT. It’s so fucking on, you can’t even comprehend the on-ness of it all. FEEL THE ELECTRICITY:
HOLY FLAMING COCKS. Fuck yeah! You will shit out your eyes when this legendary QB battle goes down! Getting pretty fired up for that Connor Shaw start in Week 11. That’s gonna change everything. GAME THE FUCK ON. Just look at how excited Cleveland fans are!
What’s new that sucks: The new orange! HIT ‘EM WITH THE PANTONE CHART, BOYS…
FUCKING A! That orange ain’t for pussies. That is a newer, bolder shade of orange. Paint your living room that color and the walls will come alive and ATTACK you. KABOOM! Honeybell Marvel Orange just put you on your ass. That new orange is part of a full uniform overhaul designed to make the Browns look like a second-tier SEC East team. The jerseys feature the name CLEVELAND on the front so that players can find their way home after getting concussed by opponents.
Oh, have I told you about Dwayne Bowe yet? Yes, somehow this all gets even more depressing, because Dwayne Bowe is your new #1 wideout. Josh Gordon has now been suspended/arrested so many times that local reporters are now confusing his old infractions for new ones…
Good job, Tony! Anyway, the Browns miss Gordon so much that they decided to bring in the one wideout who has been suspended nearly as many times. In fact, Dwayne Bowe often plays as if he’s been deactivated and wandered onto the field by accident! It’s like Josh Gordon never left. IT’S EVEN MORE ON NOW IF IT CAN BE MORE ON THAN IT ALREADY IS.
The team also signed Brian Hartline. Hmm, I wonder if Browns fans will cotton to a mayo-boy wideout who played at Ohio State? They can’t press his name onto replica jerseys fast enough.
What has always sucked: I do these previews every year, and frankly I’m just wasting my time with the other 31 teams. The Browns are the original suck. They are the epicenter of suck. And it wasn’t always this way. Back in the 80s, the Browns used to be star-crossed but respectable. They failed NOBLY. That is no longer the case. As always, these are the impostor Browns. Ever watch a horror movie where a kid dies and the parents bring him back thanks to black magic and/or cloning and there’s something off about the new kid? That’s what the Browns are now. They are the demon child. Ever since their unholy resurrection in 1999, this franchise and its fans have been determined to degrade themselves in every conceivable way. I can’t bear to look anymore.
The best part of the Browns’ offseason was when the Eagles prevented them from doing something REALLY stupid. It’s that bad. They get regularly trashed by opposing players’ moms. And the WWE. And by people who know the rules of football. They can’t sign free agents. They can’t strategize. They can’t draft well (somehow, CB Justin Gilbert has ended up being an even worse pick than Johnny Manziel). They found a way to reduce the standard three-year window for giving up on a dud first-round QB to three weeks. Thanks to their shitbag owner, respectable football people plan their escape from Cleveland the day they arrive. Shanahan? Gone. Jordan Cameron? Gone, after tricking people into thinking he was staying. This guy?
Still reported missing. The only person to ever come back to Cleveland is LeBron, and look what good that did him. Poor LeBron. It took just one season for Cleveland to wipe its failure all over him again. This town makes success seem utterly impossible. The ineptitude is transmutable. Jesus.
What might not suck: The offensive line! The offensive line is good. With normal teams, a good offensive line is enough to buoy the rest of your team (see the 2014 Dallas Cowboys). It can turn everything around. But somehow the Browns are immune to this fundamental law of the football universe. The offensive line has been decent for a while now, and it’s done them absolutely no good of any sort. Even when they try to build their team the smart way (from the inside out), they fail. And so all of the otherwise nice moves they made this offseason (drafting Danny Shelton to be a plugger on defense; bringing in accomplished veterans like CB Tramon Williams and P Andy Lee) will all go for naught. It won’t matter. It’s Cleveland. Nothing matters. The world is dead.
Hear it from Browns fans!
Honestly, it’s getting very difficult to hone in on exactly why they suck, because they have managed become a giant ball of disasters and fuck ups that keeps rolling downhill, picking up new disasters and fuck ups without ever resolving the old ones.
Here are the top 5 quarterbacks who play football in Ohio:
1. Andy Dalton
2. J.T. Barrett
3. Cardale Jones
4. A.J. McCarron
5. Braxton Miller
I was in jail for all of last season. I’m also a recovering alcoholic/heroin addict and I guarantee this fucking team will having me doing kegstands whilst trying to find a suitable vein to poke by week 5.
I spent a month doing volunteer work in South Sudan. During this time period I was exposed to tuberculosis, resulting in my being put on a prophylactic 9-month antibiotic regimen upon my return stateside. Over the remaining 7 months I am not permitted to drink, meaning I am going to have to survive this Browns season while remaining perfectly sober. I’d rather be back in South Sudan.
The old Browns had one more full-time coach than the new Browns.
Since 1999, and I’m not 100% sure on this, the Browns are 11-195.
I am miserable. Please hug me.
Remember two years ago, when the Indians were playoff-bound for the first time in years and no one fucking showed up, because everyone was too busy bitching about the expense of a baseball game even though you can buy bleacher tickets for 10 bucks and a beer for 4 and the Indians were actually putting an entertaining product on the field? Then came the fall and everyone in the city was off to spend roughly ten thousand dollars apiece to watch the Browns lose 32-28 to the Jacksonville fucking Jaguars? Remember when Kellen Winslow held out for roughly infinity dollars, got it, then promptly upended his douchey motorcycle doing donuts in a parking lot, was hurt for a while, then got staph, and it was like two years before he played and was kinda mediocre?
Remember when that one guy got hit in the eye by a referee’s flag and never played again?
Remember when that other guy cost them a game (against the Chiefs in the mid-aughts, I think) because he threw his helmet in the air after a successful stop and the penalty yardage let the Chiefs hit a field goal?
Remember when they forfeited a game because their jackass fans threw bottles all over the field?
Remember when Derek Goddamn Anderson had the season of his life and they still missed the playoffs because they lost to the Bengals and the shitty-ass Titans?
Remember when Braylon Edwards hurt his foot because he was running sprints in his socks and someone stepped on it?
Remember when Donte Stallworth KILLED THAT GUY???
Remember when we lost to the Jets, and some upstanding example of Cleveland manhood fucking tackled a 10 year old in a Jets jersey afterwards?
Remember when [a serious of strangled sobs and moans that sounds kinda like “Johnny Football”]
I remember all this because for 8 long, miserable fucking years I sold hot dogs and beer at the taxpayer-funded hellhole the Browns call home, and dealing with the “people” that attend those games remains one of the most unpleasant experiences of my life.
Although I did once get to watch a cop piledrive this drunk piece of shit who had stolen a bunch of beer out of my cart. That was pretty cool.
Not only did I purchase this jersey for my son, I made sure to buy it one size too large so he could wear it for 2 seasons.
Fuck Art Modell.
Fuck you for making me think about the Browns. This wrecked my day.
I was 11 when my dad took me to my first Browns game. We took the rapid (a shitty train) to the stadium. Toward the front was an older couple in Steelers gear. The old man was wearing a Kordell Stewart jersey. It took 2 minutes before half the train car began shouting in unison, “KOR-DELL’S A HO-MO!... KOR-DELL’S A HO-MO!”
When you get a chance check out Joe Haden’s ears; dude is a fucking elf.
Nobody wants to play or coach here. Nobody.
A few Fridays before Christmas, my company unceremoniously fired a co-worker who repeatedly walked off the job early to get drunk. He didn’t take the termination well, so we were told twice not to let him back into the building and to phone the police if he was spotted near the office. That weekend, the Browns lost a heartbreaking game to the Colts, a game they led for most of it only to see it slip away at the very end.
That Monday, the fired co-worker sent a text to me offering his heartfelt sympathy for the Browns loss. I couldn’t fucking believe what I was reading. Here was a guy with substance abuse issues, two children at home and no job right before Christmas, offering condolences that the Browns lost a tough game. It got me to think that if he ever went postal, I might be spared because of my pathetic loyalty for the Browns. Being a Browns fan might actually pay off for once!
Last year I went to see the Indians face the Angels in Cleveland during an early Wednesday afternoon game that was played while normal people were too busy being employed to attend. I was seated alongside my girlfriend in the leftfield bleachers and behind a large, stocky bald man in a sleeveless Browns shirt with a goatee, sunglasses and a clear plastic cup of beer; an appearance that is synonymous with Browns fans and nearly indistinguishable from any other male in the state of Ohio.
During the game a dragonfly landed on my knee and I immediately flicked it away with my index finger. Upon striking the creature it veered toward the right of me and landed in the beer cup that belonged to the aforementioned gentleman in the next row. The cup remained untouched on the space next to him for the next several pitches with the dragonfly twitching and floating in the tepid pilsner. I didn’t want to admit that I was responsible for the spoiled beer because I assumed that, by doing so, I would have to buy him another one at hyper-inflated ballpark prices.
Instead, my girlfriend casually informed him that a dragon fly was buzzing around and had landed in his beverage. He then picked up the beer and held it in front of his face, shrugged his shoulders and chugged the remaining 10+ ounces in one gulp. He laughed and looked back at us and said “Can’t waste a good beer” while peeling the dead insect from his empty cup and tossing it onto the aisle steps beside him.
Last season on my drive to work I’d have the pleasure of staring at Brian Hoyer on a billboard for a third rate sandwich joint in the Cleveland area. After we inevitably ran him out of town for Josh McCown (whose brother we also ran out of town), he was replaced on said billboard by Anderson Varejo — The man who hasn’t played a game for the Cavs in a little over 7 months.
My first experience at a Browns game was when I was 7. We walked to the old stadium from the Municipal Lot (which is really just a gravel urinal), when a Steelers fan in a Bradshaw jersey jumped into my path. “You’re a BROWNS FAN?!?! I’M GOING TO FIGHT YOU!”, he screamed... and spit.
Never fear: A Browns Fan hit him with a running tackle, and they spent 10 minutes wrestling until they both rolled into a bonfire.
I was at the Browns/Bengals game (Johnny’s 1st Start) and the crowd went through all five stages of grief in one four hour game. Johnny could have blown up the stadium Bane-style and it would have been more uplifting than that game.
I spent the last two years teaching English in Kiel, a city on the Baltic in northern Germany. For all of those who are unaware of the football scene outside of North America, Germany is a burgeoning market for the sport, having hosted many teams from NFL Europe in the past and now the increasingly popular German Football League, a powerhouse in European football. Everywhere I went, I saw people wearing hats from any number of NFL teams. The Cowboys were the most popular, but I saw gear from the Pats, Packers, Seahawks and Washington (don’t ask me why or how.) After seeing all this enthusiasm, I thought it was an awesome idea to start rocking my Browns gear. I’m from northern Ohio and I really wanted to represent a little bit of my hometown pride. I wore my Peyton Hillis jersey out to clubs and concerts and beer festivals. I taught a lesson on American football in front of one of my classes using game footage of Bernie Kosar. Hell, I even bought a Frenchman one of those hats they pass out during the Draft for his birthday. I made a lot of people super excited about Cleveland and the Browns. Now... I’m back in Ohio and contemplating the past. Did I stunt the growth of the sport in Europe for another two decades? Did I commit a war crime on the people of Kiel? In my opinion, that’s for Roger Goodell and the Hague to judge.
Fourteen years before I was born, my father had an offer for an academic full ride to UCLA, or a hockey scholarship to Ohio U. during their very brief stint as a D1 hockey school. Being Canadian, he picked OU, where he met my mom—subsequently marrying her and moving to her home town of... Cleveland.
At least once a year I call my dad and bitch him out for not taking the scholarship to UCLA.
I don’t know what it is like to see the brand new schedule for the season and realize that you get to play the Cleveland Browns, but I imagine it is a great feeling.
I went to my first Browns game when I was 6 years old. A drunk fan put his cigarette out on my little boy jacket.
We lost that game.
The uniforms....dear God. We are now the Doritos NACHO CHEESIER X-TREME!!! of the NFL.
Fuck this team. Fuck their new scoreboard. Fuck every shit-head QB they’ve ever ruined. Fuck Josh Gordon. Fuck their new mascot dog, Swagger (what, was YOLO taken?). Fuck switching from the 3-4 to the 4-3 and back every 3 years. Fuck it all.
Jimmy Haslem is a bucket of dicks.
Submissions for the 2015 NFL previews are now closed. Next up: The New Orleans Saints.