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Some people are fans of the Cleveland Browns. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Cleveland Browns. This 2017 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group.

Your team: Cleveland Browns. Garbage. Garbage. Garbage. Garbage.

Garbage.

 Your 2016 record: 1-15, featuring a 14-game losing streak to open the season. This team’s poor fanbase can’t even plan an 0-16 parade without the Browns fucking it all up:

“I fully expect the Browns to go out there and win one of these games,” he said. “Just to turn the tables on us.”

That they did, my friend. FUN FACT: The Browns haven’t won their opening game in 13 years. I mean… what do you even say at this point? You know how in The Revenant, Leonardo DiCaprio gets his throat slashed by that bear, so then he has to stuff gun powder in his throat and light it to, like, heal it? That must be what being a Browns fan is like all the time. Just your throat exploding in perpetuity. Say the name CLEVELAND BROWNS and festering wounds spontaneously open all over your body.

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Now, for the particulars: The Browns blew a 20-2 lead against the Ravens and a 20-7 lead against the goddamn Jets. They lost a fumble that they didn’t actually fumble. They let AJ Green tip a Hail Mary pass to himself.

Do you know how awful you have to be to make the Cincinnati Bengals look like a model of competence? The Browns pull off this trick every year. It’s breathtaking. The Browns also lost to the Dolphins because their kicker missed three field goals. Did I mention that their special teams coach asked them to sign another kicker for that game, but the Browns signed a cheaper kicker instead? And did I mention that they flew that discount kicker in to watch him practice, but then never saw him practice because—and this is true—they had to leave for Miami before they could? What hope does your team have when it can’t even coordinate a fucking Delta flight properly? In Cleveland, Congress clowns you!

We’re not done. The team held a job fair that had no actual jobs. Corey Coleman got hurt instantly. Quarterback For The Day Cody Kessler got hurt throwing the ball backwards for a safety. One of their beat writers accused the team of secretly hiring ESPN’s Bill Barnwell with no actual proof. They somehow fucked up by scoring a shitload of draft picks from Philly in exchange for the right to draft Carson Wentz, then fired all the scouts that liked Wentz. Only the Browns. Only the Browns could turn such a shrewd draft-day haul into chicken shit, and it’s not even the first time they’ve done it. (***TIME TRAVEL SOUND EFFECTS*** The pick they got for Trent Richardson became Johnny Manziel.) Join us this year when the team finds a sack containing $1 billion in cash and promptly invests it in kazoo futures.

RG3 found new bones to shatter, and then got divorced:

 Your coach: Designated patsy Hue Jackson, who has already quietly feuded with the team’s front office and had to replace his defensive coordinator after just one year on the job. And who did they hire to replace the hapless Ray Horton? Oh no. No. NO NO NO IT CANNOT BE…

“Okay guys, first player to shatter Ben’s kneecap gets whatever’s inside my belly.”

Oh God, you went and hired Greggggggggggggggggggg! For real, how does this man keep finding work? Shouldn’t he be coaching in Estonia or some shit? Gregg Williams is Rob Ryan without any of the charm. I hope you enjoy multiple personal foul flags and busted coverages, Cleveland. Those are the hallmarks of any Gregg Williams defense. SO INTIMIDATING. You’re beyond fucked now.

Your quarterback: [spins wheel]

 

This team is like an estate sale for quarterbacks. Last year they played Josh McCown, RG3, Cody Kessler, Terrelle Pryor, and Charlie Whitehurst. The good news is that four of those quarterbacks are gone. The bad news is that one of them was your best wideout. The even worse news is that THIS is what you have to work with in 2017:

OH YEAH HOOK A CAR BATTERY UP TO MY NUTSACK AND TURN ON THE JUICE. You already know the details here but I’ll run through them one more time just to twist the knife: The Texans traded a 2018 second rounder to Cleveland just to be rid of Brock Osweiler, and the Browns openly mused about trading or even cutting him immediately afterward. But they didn’t, and now he’s your likely starter. Join us in Week 8 when Brock gets hurt accidentally sticking his ostrich wing into a fucking ceiling fan. The Browns have now gone from regular sucking to deliberate sucking. It’s a nice change of pace.

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As for the rest of the depth chart, there’s living concussion Cody Kessler, who is the lone holdout from last season’s barge fire. And then there is DeShone Kizer. You might remember DeShone from the time he was benched by shrieking mangoblin Brian Kelly, or the time he boasted that he was Tom Brady in Cam Newton’s body:

“Why can’t I be the greatest? The only thing stopping me from it is me.”

My friend, the Cleveland Browns will almost certainly have something to say about that. I’m just glad that DeShone quickly blamed the uproar over that quote over lack of context. It’s like RG3 tutored him in Transparent Phoniness without even meeting him! It will not shock you to learn that the list of Notre Dame QBs drafted since 1980 is almost as sad as the list of Browns quarterbacks through that same timeframe:

  • Jimmy Clausen
  • Brady Quinn
  • Jarious Jackson
  • Rick Mirer
  • Steve Beuerlein
  • Blair Kiel
  • Rusty Lisch

What a pedigree. They may as well have drafted someone from a prison team. I’m gonna go have a seltzer.

What’s new that sucks: Say hello to new Senior Personnel Executive and Man Talking Too Loudly On His Cell Phone At An Airport Bar, Ryan Grigson! Yes, Ryan is fresh off taking a sledgehammer to Andrew Luck’s career, and now he’s all yours! You can be sure that he will find the last smoldering ashes of this franchise and snuff them out with his Kenneth Cole wingtips.

As for the team itself, it is—against all mathematical probability—worse than it was a year ago. Terrelle Pryor is gone. Gary Barnidge is gone. 80 percent of Joe Thomas’s memory is gone. The Browns have chosen to entrust their fate to a rookie class that includes Kizer, No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett (who has openly admitted to taking plays off… LOW MOTOR!), failed drug test alum Jabrill Peppers, and Florida defensive tackle Caleb Brantley. In April, Brantley was accused of punching a female student, and the Brownsiest part of this is that they drafted him without completing a full investigation of the incident, with GM Sashi Brown openly speculating about cutting him depending upon what they found (charges against Brantley were later dropped for insufficient evidence). That’s the 2017 Browns for you: a team of players they’re not even sure they want.

Also, the team traded for Jamie Collins in the middle of last season and handed him $26 million in guarantees. When Bill Belichick is mysteriously willing to hand you a seemingly good player, you should DEFINITELY give him a lucrative extension in the early stages of a massive rebuild and assume he’s not riddled with lead tumors.

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What has always sucked: I know the Osweiler trade was a breakthrough in NFL salary dumping technology, but it’s still insane to think that the Cleveland Browns—who have never displayed anything remotely resembling competence and are owned by an embezzling truck-stop pirate—have finally solved the whole rebuilding thing. They’re run by a baseball egghead who couldn’t even run a baseball team properly, and they just hired Grigson—who is a glorified coffee mug inspector—to help with personnel. Does that strike you as revolutionary? The tech industry is nothing but a mirage of highly paid bullshitters, and the Browns can’t even do a good job emulating those bullshitters.

Even when this team does things right, it does them wrong. The Osweiler deal will somehow come back to haunt them. Kizer will throw nine million interceptions before the Browns draft another victim to take his place. Garrett will gain 90 pounds every offseason. Josh Gordon will have his 75th application for reinstatement lit on fire and stuffed into his anus. The Browns are a great cursed monkey paw that bring misfortune to all who come near them. One of the great lies of history is that Bill Belichick had to fail in Cleveland in order to learn what he needed to do right once he got another shot to be a head coach. But you and I know better. You and know that Belichick failed in Cleveland because he was in Cleveland. He’d have been just dandy anywhere else on that initial run. Cleveland ruins things.

History has already proven that believing in the Browns is for the mentally addled. Do you really want to keep buying into something so transparently hopeless? Even American Democracy has better prospects right now than this franchise. Watching the Browns is like watching the late stages of fentanyl addiction.

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Also, LeBron is outta there in 2018. He knows the Cavs are never beating the Warriors again. He’s no fool.

Did you know? Only one Browns players has ever been on the cover of Madden. That player was Peyton Hillis.

What might not suck: Isaiah Crowell was the great eternal daily fantasy bargain of 2016. I love him. I look forward to him tearing both hamstrings on the opening snap of Week 1. Also, they extended the punter. THEIR GREATEST WEAPON.

HEAR IT FROM BROWNS FANS! 

Josh:

We’re more likely to use four quarterbacks than we are to win four games. Far more likely.

 

Tim:

I’m from Germany and therefore relatively new to football. I was also absolutely free to choose any team in the league. Somehow, I ended up being a Browns fan owning, among other merchandise, a Johnny Manziel shirsey.

Fast forward to last Christmas Eve aka the day the 2016 Browns won their only game of the season against a team that now doesn’t even exist anymore. I was already properly shitfaced (in Germany, Christmas Eve is basically like Thanksgiving). I then forced the rest of my family to watch a sport they don’t care for played by two horrible teams and, much worse, to witness me running around the Christmas tree like a madman because a team owned by notorious criminal Jimmy Haslam won its first and only game of the season in week 16. In all of my cheerfulness (THEY MISSED THE KICK!!! THEY MISSED THE KICK!!!, or rather: ICH WERDE BEKLOPPT! VORBEI! DANEBEN!) I decided to load up on booze even more and ended up barfing my guts out. Somehow, I now think of Christmas 2016 as more depressing than Christmas 2015, when my grandfather died on December 23rd. Fuck me and fuck the Browns.

 

Alex:

The Browns are the Elon Musk or Steve Jobs of being terrible. We are pioneers of dogshit football. Each year they find new and interesting ways to just completely suck the life out of the fan base and make me curse the day the team came back in 1999.

The Browns currently are operating the franchise like they’re run by Bill Belichick and Rain Man’s love child. Its all about ANALYTICS now and HARVARD and VALUE. And this would be a great thing...if there was any evidence that the folks in charge of the Browns have any idea how to win football games. Every draft we trade down 2 or 3 times and get more and more picks. Which in theory makes sense! But then we draft guys like Johnny Manziel and Corey Coleman with those picks we traded for. I believe the folks inside of Berea are all running around like Gollum screaming “my precious” as they furiously masturbate to the idea of owning the entire NFLs 2020 first round picks. They’re so bad at running a team they don’t even have a catchy slogan like “Trust the Process” to trick me dumb ass into buying more and more of their shit even though I know they’re terrible and deserve no support.

You know that apartment building in London that burned down and killed all those people? THE BROWNS WRAPPED THEIR STADIUM IN THAT SHIT. The Browns suck so badly that our stadium is actually just one giant fire hazard waiting to burn the entire dawg pound to death during a preseason game.

 

Chris:

Jimmy Haslam is still calling the shots in a front office that couldn’t manage a lemonade stand.

Jordan:

This is how I watched my Browns last year: Turn on the TV. Wait until the other team scores a Touchdown (usually the opening possession). Turn off the TV and go do literally anything else. Did I ever once consider during the times I turned my TV off that maybe I should turn it back on and see if we made the game competitive? Nope, and it never fucking happened. I’m a die hard Browns fan and I don’t remember even 5% of last season and I’m glad. This team is so awful I can barely even watch football anymore. Fuck this team and my father for making me a Browns fan.

 

Devon:

My wife and I are expecting our first child, and Finish Line had Browns onesies on sale, so I bought three sets, for $5 each. Good deal, right? I have never seen her lose her temper faster than when I showed them to her. I may as well have showed her baby Klan robes, she was that disgusted. A few days later, she told me, “you know what, these are kinda cute.” Fucking Clevelanders. Generational Stockholm Syndrome will cause us to ruin this kid’s lifelong enjoyment of professional football, for no real reason.

 

Nick:

Because Dan Gilbert isn’t even the worst owner in this city

Because Johnny Football & Josh Gordon

Because this franchise is the NFL’s version of the 76ers, but no one actually trusts the process

Because they will inevitably trade two first round picks for KURT Cousins or Jimmy G

I feel sorry for Joe Thomas

 

Dr. Dink:

Seriously...being a Browns fan is like chugging a hot pitcher of razor-blade spiked despair every football season. How can it get worse? Try being a lifelong Browns fan whose work transplanted him to Baltimore. Fucking Modell and the fucking Ravens and their annoying fans, who are NOT yet over Irsay moving the Colts to Indianapolis, but sure as hell expect you to be over the Browns move to Baltimore because “you got to keep the uniform, the colors, the records”.

Yeah, that’s why my team sucks. There is no deeper muck to wallow in as a sports fan.

 

Rory:

The Browns suck because I pasted this on my Facebook wall on December 8, 2011 and meant every damn word of it.

“I’m calling it right now... I knew Colt McCoy was a winner at Dec. 8th, 2011 at 11:05 PM when James Harrison was about to lay a lethal helmet to helmet on him and he didn’t even blink as he made a pass and got leveled. Keep Colt!!”

 

Zach:

A guy with most of his hand blown off managed to pick-6 us, and that wasn’t even the biggest anti-highlight of the season.

Evan:

I have spent my entire life as a fan of the Cleveland Browns, chiefly because of my father, who has lived and died with the team since the late Seventies. Both my father and I have spent the great majority of our adult, teenage, and pre-teenage years being infuriated by the incompetence of the Cleveland Browns franchise, despite the fact we have no connection to the city of Cleveland or the state of Ohio whatsoever. He has never been to Ohio, and I have driven through it a grand total of twice.

Our opportunities to view the Browns are close to nonexistent, as we have always lived out of state. Once or twice a year the Browns will play a local team, and we’ll be able to watch our beloved fiasco cough up wins in ways previously thought impossible. For many years we lived in New York, where we would be treated to hushed tones and bowed heads from fucking Jets fans post-buttfumble. We stay invested in this team, despite the fact it actually requires effort for us to expose ourselves to the Browns, and we willingly do it when it would be far easier for us to adopt the local squad. We’re the fan equivalent of two people going on a tropical vacation specifically to contract malaria.

Keep in mind, due to the Process, this is the most excited I’ve been about this team since I was a naive twelve-year old talking himself into Kelly Holcomb. The Bernie Kosar Browns were in the 1990 AFC Championship game on January 14, 1990. I was born a few months later. The team immediately went 3-13 the season after my birth. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I honestly think I may be the cause of all of this.

P.S. I once legitimately talked myself into Connor Shaw as “THE ANSWER” despite the fact that I was, by all other evidence, a reasonably intelligent adult. That level of irresponsibility should go on my credit report.

 

Chris:

Injuries. Injuries. Injuries. Can we get players that aren’t made out of spun sugar?

 

Jim:

The greatest gift LeBron ever gave is never having to give a shit about Cleveland sports ever again.

 

Ryan:

September: First regular season game of the season, head out to the local Texas Browns backers bar, try not to notice that it looks like an orange-clad halfway house and/or Trump rally. Get vaguely optimistic when they’re up 10-7 at the half, leave crestfallen and drunk when whatever “star” that season’s success rested on gets decapitated in the second half or proves without a doubt to have the eye-hand coordination of three-toed sloth on Sizzurp.

October: Make some gallows jokes like “The Browns are on the clock.”, “We’ll get ‘em next millennium!” or “143 days until pitchers and catchers report!” and then still be vaguely surprised the rest of the season when I see their name run across the score crawl or see their brief “highlights” on Sportscenter.

In a recent podcast Malcolm Gladwell, as part of a quixotic screed against Big Country Club, introduced me to Plutarch’s Paradox of Theseus, which goes like this: if while Theseus is traveling across the sea, each day a plank from his boat is replaced with a new one so that when he reaches his destination no part of his boat is the same as when he left, is he still riding the same boat?

It begs the question: why, when there is no line of continuity between this team I was cursed to root for only by the misfortune of where I was born except the ugly-ass uniforms and helmets (that they are now even changing to somehow be even uglier) they wear, so much so that the team I rooted for actually plays in fucking Baltimore now, do I continue to give a shit? It’s Theseus’ Paradox if only also Theseus’ boat crashed into the rocks every time he went out on it and also gave him splinters, then fucked his wife and then took a dump on his rug.

 

Matt:

Myles Garrett is doomed, and I think he knows it. He is basically living an existential horror film.

 

Aaron:

Obviously they are bad, the worst part is however is that despite the fact that they’ve been arguably the most incompetent team since they’ve been back they are still the biggest draw in town. Yes even bigger than the Cavs. They get way more radio and TV time and it is a shame because that means one of the better Cleveland sports teams always gets ignored. Trying to get someone to go to an Indians game last year was like pulling teeth. Last year they were 28th in attendance at under 20K because all the nitwit browns fans wanted to spend their money watching the Browns lose almost every game. Browns attendance was nearly 65K. Why? “Because they are really poised to surprise people this year!” Which is the same thing they always say every year. Despite the fact that every single football throwing person is worse than a guy nobody in the league will sign because apparently rednecks’ feelings matter more than winning football games.

 

Kevin:

The Browns are shit. Shit is brown. Just rename the fucking team: The Cleveland Shits.

 

Max:

This story broke last week, and was a little too on the money.

 

Bryan:

It’s 1999, and the BROWNS ARE BACK! I’m 13, and I barely remember the old Browns in the early 90’s. My dad is pumped and he takes my two brothers and me to the first regular season game that they are back: a night game sitting in the Dawg Pound. We tailgate, we hear stories about how great the 80’s were, etc. We walk to the Stadium and it’s a glorious heap of concrete and steel. The introductions are cool, and then… the Browns get their shit kicked in by the Steelers 43-0.

And it’s been like that ever since.

 

Timothy:

The Cleveland Browns suck because of shoddy ownership, poor decisions and even poorer execution. The REAL question is why do Browns FANS suck. We have allowed all of this to happen. We perpetuate the sadness. We gas up the lemon every year.

 

Chris:

It’s possible that FirstEnergy Stadium, where the Browns gather eight Sundays a year to exacerbate the depression of northeast Ohio, is possibly built with the same materials as Grenfell apartment building in London. I can’t think of a better metaphor for this franchise.

 

Braden:

I was thinking the other day: who has been the best Browns player since they came back? After only a few seconds of debate in my head I decided on two players: Joe Thomas and Josh Cribbs.

That’s right. The two best players this franchise has seen since their return to football have been an offensive lineman and a kick returner. Holy fucking shit.

 

Vanessa:

The collective sigh of relief when the Browns won their one game last season was so powerful the wind gust blew Sashi Brown straight across Lake Erie into Canada. People celebrated as if it was our ticket to the playoffs.

The Browns currently have five QBs on the roster. Please go Google “Browns QBs” then look at that murders’ row that comes up. They look like the Duke Lacrosse team but in worse shape, and 1,000 times less intimidating. I don’t know if they make enough beer in the world to get me through the weeks of debate over “will it be Kessler or Osweiler?” So my choice is either Michael Cera or Aaron Paul? But I guess don’t worry, cause we’ve got DeShone Kiser riding the bench who is probably so fragile from Brian Kelly’s mental torture that he’ll have a PTSD episode on the 50-yard line and karate kick “Chomps” right in the face.

Kyrie Irving thinks the Earth is flat, wants to live in a commune and leave LeBron James to go play for the Knicks, and I’d still trust him more than any decision Jimmy Haslam makes.

 

Federico:

I am from Argentina and watch football since 2000. Fuck Art Modell.

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