Oct. 25, 2016
The Theater of Dreams
Being a football fan is one thing and being a Browns fan is another. Imagine being a fan of team with a home venue nick-named “The Factory of Sadness”. Could it mean Cleveland are a cursed team? Could it mean they have no chances of winning the championship or even making the play offs? Having a Cleveland Browns fan for 8 years now my life couldn’t get any worse. With the Browns currently sitting at 0-6 and can’t show any signs of winning this year might just go down like any other year in the life of a Brown’s fan. The first half of today’s game versus the Tennessee Titans looked suspiciously like the Cleveland Browns of last year and the year before that and so on. There was no pass rush or coverage by the cornerbacks. Overall, there was a general lack of communication from both Cleveland’s defense and offense. This is nothing new as it is something we hear every year after year.
After boasting a staggering 15 different starting quarterbacks from 1999 to 2013, the fans needed a change, the fans needed some form of consistency, and the fans needed a savior. The fans were fade up that one fan even went to the extent of having to advertise on craigslist just so they can recruit a consistent quarterback, someone who will bring them some sort of glory to the city of Cleveland. One of my favorite funny moments of the 2013 season it started when Brian Hoyer got hurt, and we had to watch back to back weeks of Brandon go full Weeden. You never go full Weeden, but he damn sure did. It included not one, but two flip passes both leading to interceptions by the opposing team. Brandon Weeden may go down in memory as the most reviled, generally ill-favored Browns quarterback of all time. From the start, many Browns fans hated the fact that the Browns blew their 22nd overall pick on Weeden because he was old, had very questionable accuracy and came from a conference known for inflating QB stats. That said, even the most cynical of us (myself included) couldn’t help but be surprised by just how much of a disastrous train wreck that Weeden turned out to be. So, the amount of people getting final shots in was epic.
That season came to an end with the Browns having a 5-11 record, their 6th consecutive 11 game loss season. This meant that the Browns will be picking early in the draft again. Could this be the year that the Browns found their quarterback, their hero and redeemer? Every year, teams with poor records try to stave the bleeding through the Draft and nowhere has this been more apparent than the Cleveland Browns. Over the last few years, the Browns have been revolving door at quarterback a position where most teams look for long-term stability. The NFL draft class of 2014 did not have too much talent at quarterback but surely did boast a few names with proven talent. To the players in the draft the Browns were viewed as a team that ruined every quarterbacks dream but the thought of playing in the NFL and change that fact lingered in their heads. Amongst the notable names were Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville, Dereck Carr of Fresno State and the 2012 Heisman winner Johnny Manziel. As the draft drew closer fans could not wait for the future of Cleveland football.
The draft was on, there I was just like many other Cleveland Browns fans sat behind the TV waiting for a moment that might change the franchise and also bring hop to this championship deprived city. The Browns had the 4th and 22nd pick in the first round. With the 8 pick the Browns went with Justin Gilbert a cornerback out of Oklahoma State. This had me wondering which quarterback we were going to end up with because our next pick was at number 22. Amongst all the quarterbacks in the draft class, I was slowly leaning towards the Browns picking Johnny Manziel the former Heisman winner in 2012. I had always enjoyed watching Johnny play during his time at Texas A&M. I watched all his games in his redshirt freshman year including the game in which he put up over 300 yards and made it look like he single handedly beat Alabama who were ranked number 1 at that time. Sitting on the edge of my seat, the Browns were on the clock and I was there waiting for Manziel to be called out, and just like I wanted the Cleveland Browns had selected Johnny with the 22nd pick. Finally it felt like Cleveland have a future but no one knew what lay ahead. Could this be another quarterbacks dream ruined at the hands of the Browns?
Johnny’s journey in Cleveland did not get off to a great start, during the preseason he was unable to win the starting job to then journeyman out of Michigan State Brian Hoyer. He was also fined $12000 by the NFL for a hand gesture. Many fans thought this was the beginning of worse things yet to come from Johnny. My wish of seeing Johnny start for the Browns had to wait a few more games. After a terrible start to the season the Browns decided to bench Brian Hoyer but the coach was still not confident enough to start Johnny Manziel. Johnny started 2 games for the Browns that year but much was left to be desired, so many unanswered questions. At the beginning of the 2015-2016 season Johnny checked himself into rehab for a few personal reasons. This raised more questions about the life of Johnny as a savior in Cleveland.
AS the regular season went on the Cleveland Browns were headed to another losing season that was headlined by different troubling events surrounding Johnny Manziel including allegations of Johnny hitting his girlfriend. This made me mad as a Browns fan and also someone who wanted Johnny to be drafted by the Browns.
Could this be more proof that the Browns are quarterback killing team, could have Johnny turned out different had he played for another team? With Cody Kessler prove otherwise? Stay tuned for another season at the factory of sadness.