The Eras That Just Can't Seem to End

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistJanuary 27, 2017

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 22:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots reacts against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

In hindsight, 2016 waved farewell to more than a handful of notable eras.

Kobe Bryant with the Los Angeles Lakers? Gone. Tim Duncan with the San Antonio Spurs? Sayonara. Alex Rodriguez and New York Yankees dominance? A thing of the past. David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox? An era concluded.

This goes beyond individuals, too. The Cleveland Cavaliers shattered years of futility, in a basketball sense, thanks to LeBron James. Of course, the best example is the shattering of a 108-year curse after a miracle run by the Chicago Cubs.

Long story short, 2017 has some work to do. Eras ending can be good and bad. Not all eras are a storybook ending, like some players finally being freed of miserable franchises.

Regardless, it is not hard to find notable eras that just won't seem to go away, for better or worse.

    


    

Cleveland's Football Futility

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 24:  Head Coach Hue Jackson of the Cleveland Browns on the sidelines during a game against the San Diego Chargers at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 24, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  The Browns defeated the Chargers 20-17.  (Photo by
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

LeBron can't save the Cleveland Browns.

Well, maybe he can. But he's not strapping on cleats anytime soon.

No, LeBron's winning a title for Cleveland doesn't change the fact the Browns are stuck in an era of mud. Since becoming a thing again in 1999, Cleveland has two winnings seasons. Funnily enough, those were the only two seasons the franchise finished .500 or better. Make it six years in a row the Browns have finished at the bottom of the barrel in the AFC North.

There is a potential light at the end of the tunnel. Despite winning one game, the Browns have kept head coach Hue Jackson and decided to build around his plans. Talents such as Terrelle Pryor are starting to emerge. The team also has a pair of first-round picks in the top 12 of the 2017 NFL draft.

Yet, even given some of this positive momentum, it is hard to feel like this miserable era will come to an end. The team still has to find an NFL quarterback (five attempted passes last year) and field a defense (the unit allowed 28.3 points per game).

Cleveland fans won't want to hear it, but the Browns making this list again next year seems likely. Everybody loves an underdog story, though, so it'd be nice to see a turnaround.

   


     

Johnny Manziel and Tim Tebow

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 05:  NFL player Johnny Manziel in attendance during the UFC 196 event inside MGM Grand Garden Arena on March 5, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

It. Just. Won't. End. 

The sporting world seemed done with Tim Tebow when he washed out of the NFL, beating his chest about only playing quarterback. His role as a television analyst was a welcome addition.

Then he popped up in baseball to much fanfare before hitting .194 in the Arizona Fall League.

Johnny Manziel also washed out of the NFL after off-field problems. Just when it seemed like we were done hearing about his every escapade big and small, the man decided to announce he's ready to make an NFL comeback.

Not only that, then Manziel discovered some Twitter fingers and took aim at President Donald Trump.

The Manziel era isn't going away. Neither is Tebow, who will surely give it another go at the plate sooner or later. These two seem like they're fading only to reemerge with more momentum.

    


    

The Crying Jordan Era

Look, it was fun. Truly.

The Crying Jordan meme gave us some truly magical moments such as these:

Still, it feels like the thing has been around about 60 years now.

While Crying Jordan is the peak of internet innovation, at least in a way, it is also a reminder the internet latches on to something and doesn't let go. It's high time to find something else like this and trot it out rather than keep beating this horse.

Look at it this way—there are people hard at work right now editing up their best Crying Jordans for both the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons. And that's sort of sad.

     


    

The Current Iteration of the Colts

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 01:  Andrew Luck #12  of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates after throwing the game winning touchdown durling the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 1, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Somebody please free Andrew Luck.

Yes, the Indianapolis Colts just showed general manager Ryan Grigson the door. But something is off when owner Jim Irsay took entirely too long to do the move and head coach Chuck Pagano, director of consecutive 8-8 seasons, is apparently safe.

As the link above shows, a handful of players seemed to tweet out celebration notes when Grigson got fired, which is about as dysfunctional as it gets.

On the field, Luck suffered 41 sacks in 2016 while playing in 15 games. He took another 15 over seven games the year before. In a full season in 2014, 27.

The same old issues haven't changed in Indianapolis. Good luck figuring out where recent first-round picks such as Donald Brown, Jerry Hughes and Bjorn Werner are these days, which is a far cry from early first-rounders from the 2000s such as Reggie Wayne, Dwight Freeney and Dallas Clark.

Competing in the AFC South isn't impressive, and Luck isn't getting any younger.

     


      

DeMarcus Cousins in Sacramento

AUBURN HILLS, MI - JANUARY 23: DeMarcus Cousins #15 of the Sacramento Kings looks on while playing the Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills on January 23, 2017 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Sacramento won the game 109-104. NOTE TO USER: User express
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

While we're on the topic of freeing players, could someone please get in DeMarcus Cousins' ear about not signing an extension with the Sacramento Kings?

It sounds like Cousins wants to for financial reasons, which is fine. Except it isn't fine for his legacy or playing career, not with the way the Kings keep trying to build the roster.

Cousins and the Kings keep burning through head coaches. The building effort around Cousins keeps looking odd at best, the latest effort to get him some help in the form of Rudy Gay, who looked like an iffy fit at best before playing like an iffy fit.

Don't even get started on draft picks. Actually, go ahead. Sacramento has the best center in the game, so naturally the team drafted center Willie Cauley-Stein at No. 6 in 2015. That wasn't enough, though, so the Kings went with center Georgios Papagiannis at No. 13 in 2016. Don't forget Skal Labissiere at No. 28 in 2016, who is a 6'11" "forward."

Maybe this miserable Kings era turns around some day while Cousins keeps churning along. But it doesn't seem anywhere close to ending right now.

     


    

Anthony Davis in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 30:  Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans drives against Joakim Noah #13 of the New York Knicks during a game at the Smoothie King Center on December 30, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly ackn
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

What do you mean Anthony Davis has only been with the New Orleans Pelicans since 2012? 

It's an era. And it's a bad one. And it needs to end.

Since Davis joined the Pelicans as the top pick, he has posted career averages of 21.8 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game on 51.3 percent shooting from the floor.

New Orleans has won 27, 34, 45 and 30 games as of late. For those who feel like asking about this year, the record stands at 18-28.

Drafting hasn't exactly worked for the Pelicans. Austin Rivers was the pick at No. 10 in 2012. The team selected Nerlens Noel in 2013 and traded him. Buddy Hield was the first-round pick this year.

There is little to speak of around Davis right now. This endless loop of poor additions around Davis while stuck in a never-ending rebuild isn't going anywhere.

     


    

The Marvin Lewis Era

CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 1:  Head Coach Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals watches a replay as his team takes on the Baltimore Ravens during the second quarter at Paul Brown Stadium on January 1, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Gett
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Jeff Fisher and Marvin Lewis would be pretty good friends. 

The Los Angeles Rams finally parted with Fisher, though the Cincinnati Bengals haven't done the same with Lewis.

Lewis has coached 14 seasons for the Bengals now, a span including just seven winning seasons and no playoff victories. His latest effort was a six-win campaign a year removed from an embarrassing postseason exit after an emotional meltdown by the players.

To his credit, Lewis has helped mold the Bengals into a respectable franchise, at least compared to the miserable 90s. He's a quality talent evaluator as well, though he clearly falls short in the discipline realm as he often doesn't seem to have control over his own locker room.

Now, despite this and a six-win season, Lewis has talked with the media about a possible contract extension. More than a decade of "prove-it" deals for Lewis seems like it could add another soon.

    


     

The Tom Brady Era

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 22:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots stands under center against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

This happens every single year lately. Brady and the Patriots make the playoffs, and before every game, somebody asks the whopper: "If the Patriots lose, is this the end of the era?"

Spoiler alert: no.

The Brady era in New England isn't going anywhere. This much was apparent after the 39-year-old quarterback returned from a four-game suspension this season to throw 28 touchdowns and just two interceptions while helping the team hit the 14-win mark.

Now the goal posts have moved. Folks likely wonder if the Brady era is over should Matt Ryan and the Falcons pull off the Super Bowl upset.

Same as above. Brady isn't Peyton Manning. He hasn't showed any signs of slowing and has had a relatively healthy career. And no, he isn't hanging up the cleats if he wins, either. We're talking about a guy who just threw 28 touchdowns over 12 games, a mark at or higher than eight of his past seasons, not counting the one-game 2008 campaign.

Age is but a number to Brady, just like his 199th draft slot in 2000. Brady's era isn't going anywhere, which is something most fans should appreciate for what it is—historic, if not the best ever.