Look on the Bright Side: You’re Not a Browns Fan
By Barry Scanlon
You are 26 and healthy as a horse.
Standing atop Mount Monadnock, you take in an awesome view. On the way down, however, you are bitten by a rare bug. Three days later, all your hair falls out.
You should be depressed. Looking into a mirror, though, you break into a huge grin when a thought strikes you: It’s OK because at least you’re not a Cleveland Browns fan.
(The Browns are 0-9 and the only winless team in the National Football League. Their second-year coach, Hue Jackson, has a 1-24 record. That’s not fake news. One win. Twenty-four losses. Only John McKay of the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-25) had a worse 25-game record since 1960).
You stand in front of 200 people. It’s your wedding day and in moments you’ll marry your soulmate. The minutes tick away. You nervously stand at the altar. Anticipation leads to awkward dread. No bride appears. The best day of your life becomes the worst.
Oh, well. You take comfort from one thought: At least I’m not a Browns fan.
(The Browns can’t even make a trade properly. Desperately in need of a quarterback, they agree to acquire AJ McCarron in a trade with another pathetic franchise, the Cincinnati Bengals. Except the NFL didn’t receive the details in time and the deal falls apart. Both sides blame the other. Who’s Cleveland GM? Snooki from “Jersey Shore” fame would make a better executive.)
You’re stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on Route 495. Snow begins to fall. Within minutes a raging blizzard blankets the area. There’s another problem. Your windshield wipers are broken. You can’t see a thing. You leave Route 495 and merge onto Route 2. At least you think it’s Route 2.
You’re as nervous as Mike Tyson at a spelling bee. Serenity replaces panic, though. It just occurs to you. You’re a Patriots fan, not a Browns fan. Things will be just fine.
(Since the 1999 season, when Cleveland rejoined the NFL, the Browns are 88-209. In their first game back in the NFL after Art Modell moved the team from Cleveland to Baltimore, Cleveland suffered a 43-0 loss to Pittsburgh at home. Talk about setting the tone. The Browns went 2-14 in 1999, 3-13 in 2000 and 1-15 last season. They have only two winning seasons since 1999 and no playoff wins.)
You are a local politician who has managed to avoid scrutiny despite decades of abusing your power. With retirement around the corner, you breathe a sigh of relief that your misdeeds will never be dragged into the public spotlight.
That is until the day when your secretary says you have a visitor.
“A ’60 Minutes’ reporter is looking for you,” she says.
Beads of sweat form on your forehead and you quote Nancy Kerrigan (“Why me!”) before pulling yourself together. You break into a laugh. Life is good. At least I’m not a Browns fan.
(For a team constantly in the running for the No. 1 overall draft pick, the Browns can’t seem to break out of the cellar. Drafting clowns like Johnny Manziel in the first round doesn’t help, of course. They change coaches. They change front offices. They change everything except for their losing culture. With seven more losses, the Browns will become only the third NFL team since 1944 to go winless (no ties). The Buccaneers went 0-14 in 1976, but they were an expansion team. The Lions went 0-16 in 2008.)
You’re having a worse week than Harvey Weinstein. You suffer a flat tire. You get a call from the IRS. Kevin Spacey lists you as a reference. Winter is coming and your boiler breaks.
It’s OK, though.
You aren’t a fan of the Cleveland Browns.
Follow Barry Scanlon on Twitter@BarryScanlonSun.