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Jimmy Haslam’s Cleveland Browns get it all wrong

Banner (TONY DEJAK — AP Photo)

Banner (TONY DEJAK — AP Photo)

Hostages.

Cleveland Browns fans are all just hostages to a brand name that can do no wrong in Cleveland. Okay,that’s not quite right.  What I meant was, by doing no wrong in Cleveland, I really meant they do no right in Cleveland, which has just demolished the brand name of the Cleveland Browns.

But somehow, none of that matters.

Confused yet? Fortunately for all of us, confusion is the name of the game with the Browns since 1995. We aren’t all witnesses, we are all walking callouses.

Cleveland Browns fans are passionate about their team, and that may be the understatement of all understatements. It’s been a strange road that has only been enhanced by the team leaving back in 1995 when Art Modell owned the team. It was enhanced further when they came back, played badly, and drafted badly…over and over and over again.

Thoughts of Tim Couch still ring in my ears, and he may have been one of the better quarterbacks the Browns have drafted.

Seriously.

The Cleveland Browns brand-name is virtually untouchable, and the owner and the president and the GM know it. I have visions of these three sitting together during planning meetings just laughing, knowing that they could retire Brandon Weeden‘s number tomorrow, and still likely sell out the opening game of the season next year if they announced it as “Brandon Weeden day.”

It’s not just in Cleveland, but the market on the North Coast is so uniquely tied to this team, that there’s something special about this hostage mentality. Perhaps we all have some form of Stockholm syndrome, in which we’ve bonded with these idiotic front offices that we’ve grown to despise so much over the years.

Cleveland teams don’t win titles, but Cleveland fans want a title so badly, that these ownership groups really can do anything they want, and fans will keep coming back. In many ways, there’s been an embracing of the “what’s next” mentality, so that when weekends like this come up, fans actually say, “Meh, it’s just Cleveland.”
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