Monday, December 2, 2019

Browns Dysfunction a Warning to Crew Fans

The Cleveland Browns have an organizational problem and that organization now runs the Columbus Crew.

In the last few seasons under Haslam's control of the team, fans have seen a noticeable drop in already poor results since the team came back in 1999. Five of Haslam's seven seasons owning the team have produced 5 or fewer wins with 0-16 and 1-15 tank seasons among them.

In the 21 seasons since the Browns re-formed they have only had a winning record twice (2002, 2010). You'll find the Browns, more often than not, winning somewhere between 4-6 games a year (11 times since '99), but there is something deeper wrong with Cleveland since Jimmy Haslam took over the team in 2012.

A clear outward sign of disfunction within team offices is that NFL Corporate is watching from their offices in New York. A few weeks ago a couple star players were wearing un-approved cleats that prompted the league offices to call the team and force them to remove the gear at half-time (they did). Now, uniform infractions happen in every game, but it usually handled afterward and results in a fine.

Anyone who has ever been in charge of a group knows it sucks when one of the higher-ups start watching your team instead of you. It means they have lost complete faith in you as a leader and cannot count on you to fix the issues. I've been on both sides of this.

The fact that the league was monitoring Cleveland tells me that they were/are being babysat. What that says is that there is much more going on that prompted the supervision that we do not know.

Turns out the league was correct in thinking something was seriously wrong in Cleveland.

Not long after the seemingly bland uniform incident, you had a Cleveland player threaten to kill a reporter and a fan on social media after a loss. The team eventually dropped him.

Fast forward a bit again and we see the frightening use of a helmet as a weapon on an opposing player. It ended up bonking him on the head and not doing any real damage (outside of probably bringing on dementia a year earlier?) - but had it hit another way, the player would have been on the ground with a bloody head that the NFL would see pictures of for the rest of eternity.

Seriously, imagine that image. It's possible it would have irreparably done damage to the NFL. A player on the ground, unconscious and bleeding from the head is the league's worst nightmare (or worse, an on-field fatality from the hit).

This past weekend, the Browns lined up against the same team in the Steelers. During the week lead-up to the game, Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens wore a shirt that said: "Pittsburgh started it," while Haslam's wife Dee, who runs the Crew, wore a skull cap with the number (95) of the player that was suspended for using the helmet as a weapon.

To add another head-scratching event, the team mysteriously left one of there pro-bowl players at home. No explanation was given. However, it is notable that he left a Pittsburgh player bleeding from his ear after an illegal hit shortly before the helmet swing.

If all of this is bewildering and difficult to understand, well, welcome to the club. From Johnny Football to hiring (and firing) a baseball guru to try and turn things around... Cleveland is a joke of an organization under the Haslams. It burns me up because my wife and her family are life-long fans of the team. Her dad is from Cleveland! It hurts my heart to see her Sundays week after week the last several years.


Dee Haslam appears to be the one in the room for Columbus Crew decisions.

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