(Matt Sullivan/Getty Images North America)
(Matt Sullivan/Getty Images North America)

CLEVELAND – Thanks to another gut-wrenching loss to the hated Pittsburgh Steelers, the Cleveland Browns were finally exposed as the little brother of the AFC North.

Cleveland Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski would first utter the phrase after stating that the Browns have played the role of “little brother” to the other three teams, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Cincinnati.  If Sunday’s loss to Pittsburgh showed anything, Cleveland is more like an adopted bastard red-head stepchild that gets the leftover scraps at the proverbial dinner table.

Success against the Steelers, Bengals and Ravens has been virtually non-existent and atrocious which would be too kind in describing Cleveland’s futility within the rugged AFC North.

I hate to be that guy, but it’s time for the Browns to do a drastic reboot from top to bottom in the organization and decide what kind of identity they want to have as a team.  Two areas that may help turn the tide in the AFC North would be identifying its long-term coach and quarterback.

Love them or hate them, but the arch-nemesis Steelers have had three coaches since 1969, the Bengals have had Marvin Lewis—the second-longest tenured coach in the NFL after Bill Belichick—since 2003, and the re-located original Browns—the Baltimore Ravens—have had two in Brian Billick and John Harbaugh since moving from Cleveland in 1995.

Since coming back into the NFL in 1999, Cleveland has had Chris Palmer, Butch Davis, Terry Robiskie, Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Pat Shurmur and the fore-mentioned Chudzinski.  While Chudzinski has shown flashes of potential in getting the most out of a journeyman quarterback in Jason Campbell and local product and third-stringer—franchise savior?—in Brian Hoyer, Cleveland has gone thru 21 different quarterback and had over 40 quarterback changes under center.

What Campbell briefly brought to the Browns in three games was admirable, but only in a titled-starved town such as Cleveland, where mediocrity is the norm(see Cavaliers and Indians) would a nine-year vagabond such as Campbell be considered elite by the local media.

And don’t talk to any Browns fan about Brandon Weeden, that’s a whole other modern-day NFL Greek tragedy by itself.

The back-to-back losses to Cincinnati and Pittsburgh also finally exposed Cleveland’s glaring weaknesses in run and pass blocking, a non-effective running game, and inconsistency at quarterback.

Same story, same script in Cleveland.  What makes the “little brother” moniker even more humiliating for Cleveland, is that they are not even on the same level as Michigan State is with Michigan.

At least Sparty beats Big Blue on the gridiron from time to time.

The “little brother” complex also feeds down onto the blindly loyal–yet, brave and hearty–Browns fans that pay for and accept the awful brand of football on the shores of Lake Erie proudly as if they were members of  “The Night’s Watch” on HBO’s “Game of Thrones”

Loyalty is never questioned, and if one considers defecting or leaving, they are considered a proverbial traitor—fair weather—and not a real Browns fan.  While one will never be beheaded for wanting to change sides, it is a fate that one sometimes has to question and challenge out loud at their own risk.

And you don’t need George R.R. Martin—nee, GRRM, a Jets AND Giants fan, none the less—to tell you that if Cleveland was its own novel, it wouldn’t be called “A Song of Ice and Fire”, but more likely, Factory Of Sadness: A Sad Cursed Hymn Of Despair and Defeat”. A short story destined for the proverbial dustpan of obscurity.

If Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Cincinnati are the proverbial White Walkers, what are the Browns? Samwell Tarly?

One can only be a little brother—or in the case of the Browns and the Game Of Throne’s Jon Snow—an illegitimate child, that no one never fully accepts or acknowledges as blood.  If Cleveland hopes to change the perception of being a “little brother” then they need to grow up first.

Winter is coming, right?

Robert D. Cobb is the CEO/Founder/Senior Editor-In-Chief of The Inscriber : Digital Magazine, please follow him on Twitter at @RC_TheInscriber and email him at robert.cobb@


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