A Requiem for Obsolete Browns Jerseys. Time to Retire Them Forever.

Every home game, my blog partner and I play a little game called “Find the Most Obscure Obsolete Browns Jersey.” Believe me, in this game, no one is a winner.

browns jersey funny

It’s funny because it’s true.

Some of the jaw-dropping jerseys we STILL see at games include:

Brady Quinn
Trent Richardson
Charlie Frye
Chris Spielman
Jeff Garcia
Brandon Weeden
William Green
Peyton Hillis
Anyone named Brown except Jim
Tim Couch
Ty Detmer
Kelly Holcomb
John Jurkovic
Jamir Miller
Dennis Northcutt
Kevin Johnson
Gerard Warren
Derek Anderson
Trent Dilfer
Rueben Droughns
Braylon Edwards
Jerome Harrison
Kellen Winslow
Donte’ Stallworth
Jamal Lewis
Kamerion Wimbley
Montario Hardesty

And God help us if anyone ever, EVER bought a jersey for the Worst Browns Player Ever, Owen Marecic.

Of course, there are some safe jerseys that we see at the games. Classics like Kosar, Matthews, Mack, Byner. And relatively safe current players, like Thomas and Haden. But given the team’s constant ownership, coach, GM and player turnover in the past 15 years, it’s time to retire these obsolete jerseys forever.

If the management and marketing geniuses of the Browns are serious about creating a culture of winning, then they should seriously consider getting rid of these jerseys that remind us of 15 years of losing.

The time has come for the 1st Ever Cleveland Browns Jersey Exchange.

Imagine the crowd that would flock to Cleveland Browns Stadium to exchange their ratty old Darrin Chiaverini jersey for say, 50% off a new Joe Haden jersey. Or swap that Brandon Weeden dish rag for a new Joe Thomas jersey.

At the worst, the Browns would break even on the Jersey Exchange program. The positives, however, FAR outweigh the risks. The incremental sales of shirts, hats, sweatshirts, caps and other Browns stuff the team would sell when a thousand people visit the team shop to exchange their jersey would more than make up for the discounted jerseys. And the goodwill generated by this extremely fan-friendly gesture? Absolutely priceless.

Don’t think for a single second that money is the reason the team wouldn’t do this. In the last two years the team has paid out $16.1 million dollars for Pat Shurmer and Rob Chudzinski to not coach anymore. This does nothing for fan goodwill. This idea, on the other hand, does nothing but create fan goodwill.

Which of course means it will probably never happen.

Granted, the creativity shown by fans altering their obsolete jerseys is appreciated…

33browns_jerseyWinPlease

…but we’ve become the butt of our own joke. It’s time for it to stop.

If you think this is a good idea, spread the word via social media. Tweet the link to @browns and post it on their Facebook Wall, or Timeline, or whatever it is being called this week.

Automatic Otto – Part 2

Whatever happens in the NFL.com brackets to determine the best QB of all time, we know the truth. It is Otto Graham.

Otto-Graham

Sure. Maybe I am being a Browns homer here, but the fact is that Otto Graham is the only quarterback ever to play in the postseason in every season of his career. 10 seasons, 10 playoff appearances. Not only did he play in every postseason in his 10-year career, but he appeared in a record ten championship games! Four straight in the AAFC and then six in the NFL. And let’s not forget a record seven championships.

There are some who will say, “Who cares? It’s not a Super Bowl,” or “The AAFC isn’t the NFL.” Let’s not forget that the Super Bowl didn’t start until the 1966 season, and Graham played from 1946 – 1955. And even after the Browns joined the NFL, they were still a powerhouse. Hell, Graham was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame before the first Super Bowl even happened!

He was a champion in his era, and a champion is a champion.

By way of comparison, Terry Bradshaw played 13 seasons and won four Super Bowls. Championship percentage vs. number of seasons played – .307.

Joe Montana holds a 4-0 record in the Super Bowl. Joe played 16 seasons. Championship percentage vs. number of seasons played – .250.

Bart Starr led the Green Bay Packers to five NFL championships in his 16-year career, in 1961, 1962, 1965, 1966, and 1967, the last two being the first ever Super Bowls. Championship percentage vs. number of seasons played – .313.

Graham’s Championship percentage vs. number of seasons played – .700.

Greatest. Quarterback. Ever.

Automatic Otto

NFL.com is currently conducting their own bracket tournament. This one isn’t pitting college basketball teams against each other, but instead is trying to crown a champion as the best NFL quarterback of all time. In my opinion, this competition was over before it began.

He probably won’t win because of the age and lack of knowledge of so many of the voters, but the greatest NFL QB of all time is Otto Graham. Hands down, no doubt, why bother asking, everyone else sit the hell the down.

Yes, being a Browns fan and student of the team’s history, you could say that my opinion is a bit prejudice. I may have more knowledge of Graham than most, but I would like to think I would find his career just as impressive if I was a Steelers’ fan…I wouldn’t possess the brain functionality to work a computer and vote, but even a moron can recognize Graham’s ability and legacy to pro football.

There’s a reason he is the oldest QB in the bracket. He revolutionized the position. All modern quarterbacks owe an homage to Graham. The Cleveland Browns, led by Graham’s passing attack were the greatest show on earth in the late forties through the mid-fifties. Always ahead of his time, the offense that Paul Brown created made the passing game an art form and Graham was the Monet of the football world.

But not only was Graham an excellent passer, both short and long, he was also a strong runner and a smart, excellent field general. He was just an exceptional all-around athlete, also playing professional basketball while waiting for his first year as a Brown to begin.

Graham played professional football for 10 seasons, all with the Cleveland Browns. 10 years. 10 Championship games. 7 Championships. With Graham at QB, the Browns had a record of 114 wins, 20 losses and four ties, including a 9–3 record in the playoffs.

Grahams’ first four years of professional football were spent in the AAFC. The league folded, partly because the Browns were so dominant. The Browns were one of three AAFC teams merged into the NFL and surprisingly to most, dominated that league too, winning the NFL Championship in their very first year.

Graham would lead the Browns to two more NFL Championships before he retired. Graham was so respected around the NFL that in his final game (a Championship game on the road), the opposing team’s fans gave him a standing ovation as he came off the field. The year after Graham retired, the Browns failed to make the playoffs.

Not being born until the 70′s, I unfortunately never got to see him play. I did however get to see him in person at the new Browns’ Stadium. My brother and I arrived at the game early and were walking around the stadium when we noticed a glass enclosed reception area where there were a lot of Browns’ legends having a pre-game meal/gathering. Many of them were being honored at half-time. We were having fun trying to see how many we recognized, my brother is usually better at that than me. We stood there amazed at the legends we were seeing, while most people were just walking on by unaware that this was their best chance of seeing something impressive that day.

After a while we decided to walk away and head to our seats. I turned to my left and BAM!  There he was. The greatest of all Browns. Automatic Otto Graham was crossing my path two feet in front of me. I was frozen. I couldn’t say a word. My jaw agape, all I could do was nudge my brother and point. The greatest QB of all time was walking out amongst us peasants and most people walking by did not have a clue. If I could have moved, I would have fallen at his feet in a “we’re not worthy” moment. Luckily, someone else stepped up.

A silver-haired lady from the greatest generation walked up to him, took his hand and said, “Otto, I just want to thank you for all the great memories. You are the reason I am a Browns fan”.

Otto is the reason we are all Browns fans. Otto is the reason we love quarterbacks. God bless the greatest QB of all time. God bless Otto Graham.

Big Man Tate

Move over Roethlisberger, there’s a new Big Ben in the AFC North!

BenTate Cleveland BrownsWelcome to the Cleveland Browns, Ben Tate, we can’t wait to see you run. Even if it isn’t vogue in the rest of the NFL right now, we love to love running backs in Cleveland. Not just your regular “let’s get married” kind of love, I’m talkin’ about “buy the man’s jersey” kind of love. And in Cleveland, that is true commitment.

Motley, Jones, Brown, Kelly, Mitchell, E. Green, Mack, Byner, Metcalf, Hoard, Hillis, and both the Pruitt’s. We like to see them run, but we love to see them punish defenders and knock them on their asses.

We’d rather see a 10 yard run with 3 defenders writhing on the ground in pain, than a 60 yard pass reception. The vision of Kevin Mack busting through the hole with linebackers bouncing off those monstrous shoulder pads still gets my juices flowing!

In Cleveland we don’t download porn, we search the interwebs for old black and white Jim Brown highlight clips. If our ladies are smart, they have a framed Leroy Kelly picture hanging over the bed and wear a number 32 jersey at night instead of trying to discover the secret that Victoria keeps trying to sell them.

This is why we are excited about a free agent running back. We are old school, we embrace a good running game, it is our heritage. We admire a team that can grind out the clock and keep the opposing offense off the field. When the wind and snow is blowing around in December like a snow globe, a good running game is almost a necessity. We enjoy watching a good passing game as much as anyone, but we are smart enough to know that being able to run the ball well opens up the passing lanes, keeps the defense guessing, and takes the pressure off the QB.

Even though we have Ben Tate, I still hope they draft a great running back too, a team can never have too many. Although, I may be the only one that hopes that the Browns find a running back with the last name McMahon, so they can have the backfield of McMahon & Tate…Bewitched? Anyone?

Only time will tell if Ben Tate will be the next great Browns running back that we dream about.

But it is one fantasy we hope comes true.

 

Finally! Cleveland Isn’t The Punchline in This Joke!

The Dallas Cowboys signed Brandon Weeden to a two-year deal.

Weeden Face

Weeden will be the third-stringer behind Tony Romo, who has had two surgeries on his back in the last year, and backup QB Kyle Orton. Orton has hinted that he might retire. which means Weeden could be the starter for the Cowboys.

It gets better… It’s been reported that Weeden also talked to the Bengals and Ravens.

Yeah, teams that saw him play twice a year! Teams that knew that when #3 was under center they might as well write “W” on their schedule. Teams that have REAL quarterbacks! Teams that know better.

And we thought Jerry Jones was an iffy talent evaluator. Oh, wait…

The Season of Hope Begins

Last year proved that signing big name free agents does not necessarily equal success for the Cleveland Browns, but it sure is nice to seem them being so active again this year. Even when they aren’t signing someone, their name is popping up a lot as actively pursuing others.

This new regime seems to understand that in today’s NFL, they have to gamble on free agents as well as draft picks. No longer can a team exclusively “build through the draft.” It takes too long and in Cleveland, it’s already been way too long since we’ve seen a competitive team.

Signing Whitner and Dansby appear to be good moves both in talent and leadership ability. I’m not any kind of expert talent evaluator and I really don’t concentrate on the stats or abilities of players that don’t wear Brown and Orange (No, I do not participate in fantasy football). The way I judge if a free agent was a good signing is by listening to the chatter from the players previous teams’ fans. From what I’m hearing, these two guys are solid, and their teams and fans didn’t want to lose them. Let’s hope they are even better than the guys they replaced (Jackson and Ward were solid players in my mind), they buy in, and are successful in helping this team win.

As exciting as free agency is, I still wish it came after the draft. I think it would be better for the teams to be able to get who they can in the draft, then be able to fill in the holes in free agency. I know the players wouldn’t like it, but their paydays aren’t really a concern for me. I just want to see a more competitive Browns team, with solid players at every position.

Please find a way to keep Mack! Although with the release of Weeden yesterday…I think the Browns are already better. Sorry Brandon. Good luck.