On Saturday the Cleveland Browns beat the Green Bay Packers in the teams’ first preseason game. To hear some fans afterward, you would have thought that the Browns had won a crucial game that qualified them for the playoffs.
This is a problem. Browns Backers have been wandering in the wilderness for so long, and have seen so many putrid performances, that they seize upon any decent outing and promptly begin to build sandcastles in the air. Colt McCoy looks sharp for a few series, and suddenly he is the reincarnation of Otto Graham. Josh Cribbs makes a good catch, and he becomes the answer to the team’s void at receiver. A few stops by the defense, and it is the Steel Curtain reborn. Watch Bruce Drennan’s call-in show, All Bets Are Off, on the Sports Time Ohio channel after a Browns game if you think I’m exaggerating. And the problem, of course, is that the Browns’ yo-yo always seems to go way down, and stay way down, after every hopeful upward movement.
So, I’m going to remember that the Green Bay game was just a meaningless exhibition. I’m going to bear in mind that this team finished far out of the running last year and plays in a division that includes two perennial playoff contenders in the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens. And I’m going to remind myself that the Browns have gotten my hopes up before, ripped my guts out, and stomped them in the dust. I’m not ready to make the necessary deep emotional commitment quite yet.
That said, you have to admit that Colt McCoy did look pretty good Saturday night.