The Cleveland Browns are starting to look like the NFL’s JV team, its time for an intervention.
The 0-13 Cleveland Browns are well on their way to becoming the second NFL team ever to go winless in a 16-game season. They have successfully notched their 9th consecutive losing season, winning only 37 games during that span. By comparison, the Patriots have 35 wins in their last 3 seasons, and will likely surpass that number since they still have 3 games left to play. It has been 14 seasons since the Browns’ last playoff appearance and 19 seasons since their last playoff win. Any way you look at it, the Browns have been an embarrassment to the NFL for the last 2 decades.
Cleveland, you’re currently on top of the basketball world and you were a game away from winning the World Series, but it’s time to have an intervention for your disaster of a football team.
Let’s start with head coaches. The Browns have had 5 of them in the last 7 seasons, and that’s a major problem. As a head coach inheriting a bad team, you can’t expect immediate results. It takes time for a head coach to implement his new system and culture. So when you fire your head coach after every season, you’re simply hitting the reset button and going back to where you were a year ago. The Browns are the equivalent of that guy who buys shitty exercise gadgets from infomercials that promise to make you lose 30 pounds in 2 weeks. They’re looking for a quick fix to a problem that takes time to solve. The Browns need to settle on a head coach who they trust and show some patience. Give him time to rebuild the team.
Anyone who knows a thing about football can tell you that you need a good quarterback to win in the NFL. Unsurprisingly, quarterback has been the Browns’ most volatile position over the last 2 decades. They’ve started 12 different quarterbacks in the last 6 seasons, and 26 since they rejoined the NFL in 1999. Compare that to the Packers, who have started only 5 quarterbacks since 1992 while remaining one of the league’s winningest teams during that span. The Browns simply cannot find someone to play the game’s most important position, despite having experimented with an entire of army of different starters. Brandon Weeden, Jason Campbell, Colt McCoy, Brain Hoyer⎯none of them have been even remotely successful. Finding a steady quarterback should be priority number one in Cleveland. It’s no surprise that Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Ben Roethlisberger have all won Super Bowls in the last decade. You need a quarterback to win, and the Browns have failed miserably at the position.
Still wondering why the Browns are so bad? Look no further than their draft history. You would think that with so many high picks, the Browns would be on their way to a respectable rebuild. Nope. 6 of their last 9 first round draft picks are no longer on the team, being either released or traded for a late-round draft pick. Some of these all-stars include Phil Taylor (21st overall), Barkevious Mingo (6th overall), and Justin Gilbert (8th overall). Ever heard of them? Didn’t think so. The Browns have almost an uncanny ability to draft busts. You could also argue that their rookies are less likely to develop while playing for a team with a losing culture.
To tie the two points together, the Browns have used four first-round picks on quarterbacks since 1999: Tim Couch, Brady Quinn, Brandon Weeden, and, of course, Johnny Manziel. In drafts during that time, they’ve passed on Ben Roethlisberger (2004), Aaron Rodgers (2005), Andy Dalton (2011), Russell Wilson (2012), and Derek Carr (2014), to name a few.
Something needs to be done about the Browns. Maybe it’s time for the NFL to adopt a relegation system like in the English Premiere League. I’m all in favor of sending the Browns down to the NCAA or the CFL until they can form a team that’s respectable enough to play in the NFL. If they do go winless this year, let’s have them play a season in the Big 10 and see if they can beat Ohio State and Michigan. Or, another idea⎯maybe one of the Browns’ cheerleaders can play quarterback. At least she would be less injury-prone than RGIII. I don’t care what they do, as long as I don’t have to see this embarrassment of a franchise on my TV on Sundays. It’s getting seriously hard to watch.