As I write this the Cleveland Browns are getting shellacked by the Pittsburgh Steelers, and when the day is done the Browns will be 2-8 — one of their worst records since they came back to the NFL 15 years ago. That’s saying something, because the Browns have had only one playoff appearance and lots of horrible records during that time period.
So, we’re in the midst of another awful year. Why should I care? I’m not watching the game today, because life’s too short.
But I do care, unfortunately. I care because the Cleveland Browns fans most definitely deserve better than the steady diet of crap they get from this failed franchise. But I also care because the Browns do have some good players, and I feel sorry that they are stuck on this perennial loser that never seems to improve, or learn from its mistakes, or figure out how to draft players who actually can perform as a team on the pro level.
So I say: let the Joes go!
I’m talking about Joe Thomas and Joe Haden, and I’ll add Alex Mack, too. All of them have earned All-Pro accolades, and all of them have spent their entire careers in Cleveland, living the same steady diet of crap that fans have endured. They’re true professionals, one and all, but they’ve never tasted the sweetness of a post-season win. The way the Browns look this year, that’s not going to change anytime soon. And if Mike Pettine gets the axe at the end of the year — which seems to be the standard response of the Browns’ front office and owner — we’ll just go into another rebuilding mode with a new system and an entirely new coaching staff.
Let’s be fair to these guys. The Browns front office should ask Thomas, Haden, and Mack whether they want to be traded. If they love Cleveland and want to stick it out in hopes that someday, perhaps, the team will be better, fine. But if they want to go somewhere where they actually have a realistic chance of playing on a playoff team, I think the Browns should honor their request and the fans should understand and thank them for their hard work. We owe it to them for their years of tireless effort in the face of constant, crushing failure.
When LeBron James decided to leave the Cavs and go to the Miami Heat, I think many Clevelanders understood his desire to compete for a championship. They didn’t mind the decision, so much as they hated the glitzy way he announced it. (LeBron himself understands that was a mistake.) I think Cleveland fans would be similarly understanding if Joe Thomas, or Joe Haden, or Alex Mack decided they wanted to shoot for the Super Bowl while they still can.
So I say, let the Joes (and Alex, too) go!