Browns Fans: Want Consistency? Start By Looking In The Mirror

The CoopCorrespondent IDecember 1, 2008

In a game truly befitting their franchise for the last 10 years, the Cleveland Browns found themselves on the wrong end of yet another gut-wrenching defeat on Sunday, this time losing 10-6 to the Indianapolis Colts at Cleveland Browns Stadium.


Only the Browns could hold one of the greatest offenses in the NFL history to less than 220 yards and still find a way to lose. But that’s what the Browns did, as once again the offense was predictable and ineffective and failed to score a touchdown for the second straight week.


Remarkably, you actually have to go all the way back to the opening play of the fourth quarter versus the Bills on Nov. 17 for the last time the Browns reached the end zone, when Jerome Harrison sprinted 72 yards for the score. Since that play, the Browns have entered the red zone eight times and have managed just five field goals. 


Sadly, Browns fans may soon be yearning for this type of offensive ineptitude.


With Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson now both lost for the season, the Browns may not score another touchdown until 2009. With all due to respect to Ken Dorsey (he’s yet to complete a pass since joining the Browns in 2006), it doesn’t look good for the Browns and their so-called “offense.”


Oh, and did I mention that the Browns close the season with games that include trips to 11-1 Tennessee, 6-5-1 Philadelphia, and 9-3 Pittsburgh, all of whom boast some of the most aggressive and suffocating defenses in the NFL? 


The Browns are headed for their eighth sub-.500 season since returning to the league in 1999, and this season ranks among the most disappointing in franchise history. From top to bottom, there is no doubt that the organization is in serious need of a significant makeover. But the Browns’ front office, coaching staff, and 53-man roster aren’t the only ones that need a serious, widespread change in personnel and attitude.


The Browns’ 2008 performance has been horribly inconsistent. But if Browns fans want consistency, they should start by looking in the mirror.


This thought occurred to me yesterday as a chorus of sarcastic cheers echoed around me in the stadium as Derek Anderson writhed in pain after being sacked and tearing his MCL.


To these alleged “fans”: Are you kidding me?


I have always been proud to be a Browns fan.  I live in Pittsburgh but have never been embarrassed to support my team in the heart of Steelers Country, even though the Steelers have dominated the Browns for what seems like forever. While the Browns have had their struggles and disappointments, I love—and will always love—the franchise for its history and tradition and the passion of Browns fans across the world.


But with each passing game, it seems like this passion has turned into ignorance and a lack of class and knowledge that really is embarrassing.


Everyone criticized the Browns’ problems with staph infections and turned it into an explanation as to why so-called “big name” free agents don’t come to Cleveland. That might be part of it, but how can we ignore this disgusting fan behavior?


What’s even more outrageous is the fact that this isn’t the first time this has happened! Just ask Tim Couch.


Read or listen to some players’ post-game comments. The cheering of Anderson’s injury did not go unnoticed, and players around the league will also become aware of this. Given that, why would players want to come to Cleveland and be treated in such a despicable way? Or why would the ones that are here now want to stay?


Or what about Phil Savage’s magic f-bomb in an e-mail to a fan? While some people I know didn’t seem to have a problem with it, others took the opportunity to criticize the Browns GM for displaying a lack of class and dignity. But go to a Browns game at the Stadium or to a bar where the game is on, and you’ll think that curse words are a natural part of the football lingo.


I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been known to drop an f-bomb from time to time. Watching the Browns probably makes priests and rabbis swear too. So what’s with the double standard?


Of course, the quarterback situation in and of itself has been a double standard from the get-go. Derek Anderson was loudly booed practically every time he threw an incompletion against the Colts.


Hell, he was even booed when he completed passes if they weren’t long enough for fans’ liking. And of course, the fans went ballistic when the Browns had to settle for field goals after all those trips inside the red zone.


But I didn’t hear too much booing or very many complaints when Brady Quinn did pretty much the same thing against Buffalo and Houston. It’s not like Quinn was lighting it up with downfield passes, nor did he display any special ability to get the Browns in the end zone.


But if you’re The Golden Boy and the Anointed Savior of the Franchise, I guess you get a free pass.


Look, I’m not saying fans shouldn’t boo. Usually the team deserves it, especially with the way they’ve played this year. But to pick-and-choose who gets booed and who doesn’t, when just about everyone is deserving of it, is ridiculous.


It’s really easy for fans to criticize the organization when they don’t have anyone criticizing them for their shortcomings, isn’t it?


Hey, I’ve been a Browns fan my whole life. I’ve got a cute little picture of me in an old Hutch Browns helmet just like the one we always have to see of Brady Quinn. And I’ve been suffering with Browns fans everywhere for a long, long time. I know we all want to see a winner so bad it hurts.


But if Browns “fans” are the type of people who cheer their own players’ injuries and perpetuate double standards, call me something else.


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