Saturday was another lovely winter day in downtown Cleveland. With temperatures hovering around a balmy ten degrees and winds coming off Lake Erie at 15 mph, the wind chill stayed below zero for much of the day.
Most of us would stay inside on a day like that. For the hearty but fed-up fans of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, Saturday marked the first parade of its kind in professional sports. Several thousand Browns fans coordinated a celebration of their just-concluded 0-16 perfect season by taking to the streets to “celebrate” as the Browns became only the second team in National Football League history to complete an entire regular season without a win.
The Browns had their chances, though. In the final game of the season last week in Pittsburgh, the Steelers trotted out their second team quarterback and running backs (among others) and rested key players as Pittsburgh had already locked-up second place in the AFC playoffs. The Browns trailed early in the game but mounted a comeback late in the fourth quarter. On fourth down, while deep in Steelers’ territory with about two minutes to go and a chance to take the lead, Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer scrambled for his life and then found wide received Corey Coleman wide open on the 10 yard line. The pass was right on target. It also went right through Coleman’s hands. Game over.
With that loss, the Cleveland Browns joined the 2008 Detroit Lions and became only the second NFL team to lose every regular season game. Their head coach, Hue Jackson, is now 1-31 (that’s a 3.125% winning percentage). The Browns have not finished with a winning record in 11 years, and it has been 15 years since the team made the playoffs.
It’s been tough to be a Cleveland Browns fan of late. Paul Stark of Huron, Ohio, a life-long Browns fan, passed away in the final week of December. In his obituary, it stated: “HURON – Paul Stark passed away on December 27, 2017 of complications from a brief illness, exacerbated by the hopeless condition of the Cleveland Browns, at Stein Hospice, Sandusky.”
Thousands of Browns fans took to the streets Saturday to mock/celebrate/protest the sorry condition of their football team. Sad Santa (sporting an 0-16 coat) was there to bring hope to the crowd. Even Big Bird joined the parade wearing his Johnny Manziel jersey! The protest raised over $14,000 for the Cleveland Food Bank, so the heavy dose of fans’ sarcasm helped support a good cause.
But, more importantly, will the ownership and management of the Cleveland Browns get the message? Don’t count on it. The Cleveland Browns biggest problem is on draft day. Last season, the #1 overall pick in the NFL (picked by Cleveland) was Texas A&M defensive end, Myles Garrett. According to NFL.com, Garrett produced seven sacks and 31 tackles in 11 games this season. Pretty good for a rookie, but not exactly “as advertised”, either. The list of number 1 picks by the Browns for the past 11 seasons tells you what you need to know about decision-making capabilities of executive management of this franchise. Bad drafts beget bad teams which beget a winless 0-16 record, you know?
SwampSwami salutes your hearty protest, Cleveland! But, if you truly want to see change, stop buying Browns’ season tickets and merchandise. The parade was entertaining and loads of fun, but it is time for Cleveland’s Dawg Pound to keep their bones at home come 2018’s opening day.