December 20, 2004

Thawing

I guess there was never really any doubt that Cindy and I would venture out for the final Browns home loss today, but I'll admit to questioning my own sanity as we packed on layers of clothing to face the bitter cold to watch a bad team get predictably drilled. The day was miserable, the worst in recent memory for a Browns home game. Temperature at 8 degrees with a wind chill at about -10. Snow, high winds, and a 21-0 score. We lasted until the end of the 3rd quarter, and better than 60% of the crowd beat us to the exits.

But enough about the game. The occasion did allow us to wish Merry Christmas and goodbye-till-August to our friends in Sec. 129 who have suffered through six years of mostly bad football with us. We shared a few laughs about injured reserve lists, draft choices spent on long snappers, and potential ticket price increases, while the wind raked our cheeks to a bright crimson color.

The product on the field, much less the game result, mattered less to us than what became a fan solidarity demonstration in the stands. Because this is what we do on home-game Sundays in the Fall in Cleveland, even if that means we deserve to have a big "L" tattooed on our foreheads as punishment.

For Browns fans there is some sick satisfaction that in 2004 we have achieved the firing of our coach, a near-complete purge of our front office, an acknowledgement that we have very average talent, and the corresponding opportunity to pretty much start over again. Again.

That is cause for optimism in Brownstown. It means high draft position, and the possibility that the owner will hire someone with a clue about what to do with it. Looking across the field today to Marty Schottenheimer of the Chargers, Browns fans were facing the guy who got them closer to the Super Bowl than any other coach ever has. The fact that his team has completely turned its fortunes around in one year must also give Browns fans hope that it need not be a five-year plan we're about to begin with our new G.M. and coach next year.

Next year.

Around here, there are lots of experts on next year. It's what we do in Cleveland sports.

Posted by dan at December 20, 2004 12:46 AM