Inspired by Mike Polk Jr and his comedic Cleveland Browns videos, I’m going to give you my version through my words. Enjoy!
As I watched and listened to yesterday’s press conference with new owner James Haslam III and Joe Banner, I found myself getting a headache from my grinding teeth that were clenched inside my distraught mouth as their words spewed out. It was easy to see that both gentlemen were feeding the loyal fans and media another line of complete garbage. The ink isn’t even dry on the new ownership papers and Browns fans are already getting the runaround.
All credibility you were trying to gain went out the window when both of you started saying the word “continuity”. The sad fact is that you were the ones that picked Chud and you were the ones that pitched the fans on your perfect scheme. You were the ones that wanted fans to be patient and let the “process” take its course. You were the ones that wanted that continuity and not a rebuild like previous years. Yet, here we are in the same spot when you took over. You couldn’t even listen or follow your own advice. Oh, and keep saying that fans have every right of skepticism, you did that – not them.
If you thought that the team should have miraculously turned into the Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs, or Philadelphia Eagles, then why didn’t you put the offensive pieces in place to do so? Oh yes, there’s your answer, my mistake – Willis McGahee 2.7. How could I ever forget. Say it with me now, Super Bowl!
Let’s talk about this past draft. You didn’t take one worthy offensive player that had an impact in 2013. Oh I’m sorry, Chadron State graduate Garrett Gilkey in the seventh round! I forgot that the instant formula to success – seventh round guards get you to the playoffs! In fact, you didn’t find one solid starter out of this past draft. Give the fans a break, you knew all along that this year was not a one year turnaround. So, don’t act all high and mighty claiming that this team should have been like the three successful teams fore mentioned.
And tell me again, how has the team regressed? If you mean by one less game, then I will give you that. But, if you’re talking talent, personnel, and depth, then you are sadly mistaken and didn’t watch this year.
Despite spotty quarterback play and virtually zero running game from an out-of-football running back you signed, Josh Gordon (in which you inherited) had a break out year and emerged as one of the best receivers in the NFL. And, let’s not forget the former bench warmer and inherited diamond in the rough Jordan Cameron. Just two examples of cornerstones of a good team if given a consistent franchise quarterback. I guess possibly six Pro Bowlers means nothing.
And while you sit there and look at me with that crap-eating grin on your face Mr. Banner, where were you when your so-called losing graph was heading on the decline. Speaking of that, where were all of you guys the entire season during press conferences? Michael, are you out there? Hello… If you were so concerned about the team’s direction, why didn’t speak up earlier or make a bold move to change it then? You’re no better than the Walrus that milked this city, team, and fans for everything he could.
Keep smiling and keep telling us that everything is going to be ok. But, don’t tell us that we are the reason that you’re doing this and pat yourself on the back for making this move early. Although I’m embarrassed for Chud and his family, it’s not completely the fact that you fired him after one season and didn’t put him in a great position to win. It’s the pure fact that you picked up a dismantled proud franchise in disarray, then dismantled it again right in front of our faces.
News flash too, despite what you may think, you upset a lot of current players that will most likely not be in the roster in 2014 because of your hypocritical thinking. Some of these players had a strong connection with the fan base too. But, you know something Joe, you’re great at shipping off solid veteran players who pour their hearts into their team and city they play for, so I’m sure you’ll do what you do best. Get ready Joe, 2014 could blow up in your face, but you have that covered because you have ten picks in the upcoming draft. Give me a break.
Finally, please don’t talk about how much this is going to cost you and how expensive of a decision this was. It was your choice. These fans bought in to what you told them and now literally paying the price too. They are the ones that buy your merchandise, pay ungodly amounts for season tickets and PSLs only to give them a way at the end of the season if they can find someone to take them, and candidly, support this team that has won just 77 out of 240 games played in 15 seasons. These fans are the blue-collar workers that make up this great area, not billionaires like you. Without them, your “new” business venture would not thrive and surely would not produce the ridiculous profit you consume off of them. At the end of the day, you’re still multi-billionaires and they’re just middle class to you.
You have added another disturbing chapter to this once proud and great franchise. Like a volume car dealer that never has enough deals, you’re greedy and you could care less about the fans or your customers. You will gladly sit back and ask for thirty million dollars from the economically beaten city of Cleveland to put in your escalators and oversized flat screens in the stadium. You have no clue what this town and these people have gone through.
So while you’re sitting there figuring out how to “get it right”, know that with each day, a younger generation moves in that only knows the losing culture that this organization has fielded since 1999. You will not gain anymore fans, you will lose them. And, despite your willingness to change that culture, you may already be too late.
Ryan Ruiz is the Cleveland Browns Beat Writer for The Inscriber: Digital Magazine. You can follow him on Facebook: Ryan (BrownsWriter) Ruiz and Twitter @ryanpruiz24. Ryan is also a Browns correspondent for The Sportsfix. Tune in every Friday at noon on www.thesportsfix.net. Have a question or comment for the “ASK Ryan” column on Fridays? Email Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org