Somebody had to pay for this mess.
The excuses for what has been the worst season since the Browns returned from NFL exile didn't resonant anymore. Their fans had tired weeks ago -- actually, seasons ago -- of seeing bad football in Cleveland.
They had put up with Chris Palmer, Butch Davis, Romeo Crennel, coaches who rode into town with credentials that inflated their ability. Yet as bad as each of these men was, all were better than the man owner Randy Lerner picked to replace Crennel.
But even Lerner was smart enough this time to realize the major problems with his Browns aren't inside their coaching ranks but in his front office. It has been as dysfunctional as the Clampett family in "The Beverly Hillbillies." His front office might be better compared to "The Addams Family," a much more frightful clan than Jed, Daisy May, Elly May and Jethro Bodine.
What Lerner had pieced together was a horror story with more of the Addams than of the Clampetts. And it's a story that had become more unsettling as the weeks went by. At some point, people had to wonder if Lerner, a rich man with a temperate disposition, would run out of patience with what he was seeing .
That time came Sunday in Chicago.