One of the most storied franchises in all of football, the Cleveland Browns have been the laughing-stock of they league since their return as an expansion team in 1999. Year after year, the Browns blow through quarterbacks like bad car salesman blow through “ups” on the lot. When Jason Campbell made his first start as a Cleveland quarterback, it marked the 20th different starter since 1999. It was the 43rd “change” by game. How could this possibly be? Is this just bad luck or are the beloved orange helmets truly cursed?
There is a widely known photo that surfaces from time to time that sums it up. You know the one, it is a Tim Couch no. 2 jersey that has every starting quarterbacks last name on it since Couch. Each name is crossed off until it reaches the current starter for Cleveland and the list goes to the bottom of the jersey. Want to relive the nightmare? Here are those names:
Couch, Detmer, Pederson, Wynn, Holcomb, McCown, Garcia, Frye, Dilfer, Anderson, Quinn, Dorsey, Gradkowski, McCoy, Delhomme, Wallace, Weeden, Lewis, Hoyer, and Campbell.
Why does a team like the New England Patriots have just three main starting quarterbacks (Drew Bledsoe, Tom Brady, and Matt Cassel) in that same time frame? Why do the loyal Cleveland fans endure the pain every year? Why can’t we just hit on one of the many signal callers that has graced the most important position in all of sports? How and why does this team flip management every few years? And finally, why are Cleveland fans forced to look at a team that has compiled just 77 wins in 13 years?
As fans watched the Browns put up one of the worst efforts in recent history against their arch nemesis, the Pittsburgh Steelers, it was easy to tell that the team is still two or three main pieces away from the playoffs. The most dire – quarterback. Even when Campbell was in, things didn’t look smooth on offense.
With five most likely unwatchable games left, the Browns as a team must pull it together and find two or three more wins to at least salvage the once hopeful season. It was just three weeks ago that fans across the league were mentioning Browns and playoffs in the same sentence. All of that has flown out the window and is eighteen blocks down the street after poor performances against division rivals.
Who knows, maybe we will see the newly signed quarterback trick artist, Alex Tanney before the season is over. So while the Browns have started 20 different quarterbacks since 1999, the real concern is who will be the 21st? And, will that precious 21st starter be the long-term answer once and for all?
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