The Mistake by the Lake
In the past four years, I have bemoaned the fact that I was forced to watch the Seattle Seahawks on a weekly basis. Perhaps because there are starving children in Africa who don’t get to watch any NFL games, God has decided to punish me by moving me 75 miles southwest of Cleveland, a.k.a. “The Mistake By The Lake” – where I am subjected to Cleveland Browns games every week.
It could very well be argued that the Browns are the worst team in the NFL. The Raiders have hope that Darren McFadden will eventually be a superstar. The Chiefs have a quarterback who nearly led a team to the playoffs last year. The Rams have Steven Jackson. The Lions have an exciting trio of play-makers on offense. Even the Buccaneers have won a championship in the last seven years.
The Browns, however, traded their two best offensive players (Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards), have a which-quarterback-is-less-awful controversy and have an aging Jamal Lewis at running back. The only exciting player on the team, Josh Cribbs, wants out. There are absolutely, positively, zero signs of life in Cleveland.
Which brings us to Monday night, November 16.
They play against the city that stole their team away. Normally, this would be a time for the city to unite against the villains who robbed them of their beloved Browns for three years. Instead, fans are just hoping that the loss isn’t a complete blowout.
One season ticket holder has had enough. “Dawg Pound” Mike Randall is encouraging season ticket holders to stay away from their seats at the beginning of the game. His hope is that football fans across the country, will tune in to the opening kickoff – and see an empty stadium. The message will be loud and clear – Cleveland fans are tired of losing.
Surely, Browns owner Randy Lerner and the NFL will attempt to foil the protest. Perhaps Lerner will stage a pre-game giveaway to get fans in the stands. Maybe the NFL will instruct ESPN not to show any shots of the empty stadium.
It’s about time for a fan revolt in Cleveland. Browns fans are tired of being Bill Murray in “Ground Hog Day,” where every season seems the same as the last. A 10-6 record in 2007 did nothing more than tease the fans into dreaming of a competitive team before sending them back to scouting the NFL draft in October.
The fan protest is something everyone can support. We spend too much time, money and emotion on the teams we love. Even if we don’t care about the Browns’ franchise, we know what it’s like to root for an awful team. I was a Colts fan in the early 90’s. I remember drafting Jeff George. I remember rooting for the only team in NFL history to have both the first AND second picks in a draft, only to come away with not one, but two busts (Steve Emtman and Quentin Coryatt). And so Cleveland fans, I know where you’re at. Maybe you’ll find your own Peyton Manning. But until management finds him, let them know that you’re not going to rest until things turn around.
The peasants in Cleveland are rising up. And it’s about time.