Sunday, September 11, 2011

I really hate the Browns sometimes

Why do I do this?

The guy in the chair was probably a a Browns' fan.
Why do I put myself through numbing agony year after year with this Browns team? This franchise makes me the Victorian English sense where after watching a game I feel the compulsion to be dosed with laudanum and have my skull trepanned in some gloomy gothic sanitarium on the outskirts of London.

So, why do I do this?
It's a question that sounds philosophical but is in fact quite simple. Because there's nothing fun about watching this team dig into its playbook of despair and find improbable ways to lose season after season. Of all the disastrous games the Browns have had since 1999, today's effort against a wretched Bengals' squad was its latest. If you're counting at home, most likely with your fingers as you cackle maniacally, Cleveland fell to 1-12 in season openers since its illustrious return to the NFL.

The damndest thing is how similar today's team seems to the one that set the precedent for years of bad football on a deflating Sunday night 12 years ago. The 2011 Browns obviously have more talent than that joke of an expansion squad, but the sloppiness and ill-preparedness Cleveland showed against Cincinnati makes me want to party like it's 1999. Either that, or scream curses at the sky.

And that's what makes me despise this franchise with a fiery vengeance on days like today. You can say it's "only one game" but it's not just one game; it's a dozen seasons full of games just like the debacle we witnessed this afternoon. You think we'd be used to it, and in truth I kind of am, which ironically is the most galling aspect of the whole sorry business.

I just hate how weak-willed this team looks sometimes, and how scared it plays when it has a lead. I loathe its undisciplined nature, the bad play calling, the perpetual thinness of the roster and the schoolyard follies of thrown helmets and forgetting to get out of the huddle on huge defensive stands. These moments have piled up over the years so as to slowly suffocate my loyalty, and it's damned boring already.

It's easy and cheap to complain without pointing to fixes, but that's not what this column is about. In the rancid afterglow of another awful Kickoff Sunday loss, I have no answers to what ails the Browns, only questions. The foremost of which is, Why oh why do I do this?