Against my better judgment I watched the Cleveland Browns football game yesterday. I’ve watched a few of their games this year, hoping that we would see a change for the better.
Last year the Browns won a few games at the end of the season, and during the off-season the team made some personnel moves that made it look like this might just be the year when the Browns were respectable. Indeed, at least one analyst on one of the network NFL shows picked the Browns to make it to the Super Bowl, for the first time in the team’s history.
I should have known it was all part of the devious plan to elevate the hopes of Browns Backers everywhere. After years of sad, crushing failure, Browns fans had become almost immune to the inevitable losses — and the evil forces that control the fates of professional football, focused as they are upon inflicting as much pain as possible on the hardy fans of this ill-fated franchise, couldn’t have that. The hype was all a ruse to get us to start caring and hoping again — because hopes can only be dashed when they are raised in the first place.
So yesterday I found myself yelling at the TV as the Browns lost again, to the mighty New England Patriots, to fall to 2-5 on the season. Losing to the Patriots isn’t an embarrassment in itself — pretty much everyone loses to the Patriots — but it’s the dismal, humiliating, frustrating way in which the Browns lose. Turnovers on three straight plays. A terrific long run ending in a fumble in the red zone. Countless penalties (some of which seemed pretty iffy, by the way) killing good plays or putting the Browns in too deep a hole. And so, for all of their talent, the Browns are once more on the outside looking in and heading for another awful year.
Well, at least my Sundays are now clear for more positive and productive activities.