Ouch! The sting, the pain, the grief. As widely known as it now is, it was first local, then statewide. Now it’s become a league embarrassment; which means when you live in a football crazed country such as ours, it’s national.
I don’t know about you, but in that final Brown’s drive, on fourth and two, when DeShone Kizer passed to Corey Coleman, my hopes suddenly surged. I knew then that my beloved Browns would finally shake that embarrassing, single season, 0 and 16 threat; that fifteen game losing streak. I just knew they’d prevail and emerge victorious in Pittsburgh of all places, against our pigskin arch enemy, those dreaded Steelers.
And Coleman dropped it!
"ARRGGHHH! Not again," I said to myself - and then a bit louder; probably loud enough that half the city of New Franklin may have heard - and some who live across the lake in the city of Green; even if they suffer from hearing loss.
How could it happen? After Kizer escaped a sack on the Steelers’ 35 yard line, he threw to his wide receiver. The throw was right on the mark and Coleman, waiting on the Steelers’ 11 yard line with 1 minute and 46 seconds to go, was wide open. It was right in his hands. Game!
And then the drop!
Good grief! When will it ever end? Red Right 88, The Fumble, The Pass, Michael Jordan, John Elway, the Indians’ Curse; what’s a sports fan in Northeast Ohio have to do in order to get from fall until spring training each year? Thank the Good Lord for LBJ and the Cavs or we’d all end up on the funny farm.
For about an hour or two that Sunday I tried understanding how such a thing could happen, even what had happened or whether it could ever happen again. To the first two I had no answer. To the third, knowing the Browns and their most recent history, I knew it was inevitable.
Why? Because one of the problems is, they’ve been using these games to train a 21 year old; a quarterback with a decent red shirt sophomore record from a prestigious university, South Bend’s Notre Dame, who also managed a lack-luster four and eight record as a junior. Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy, Ara Parsegian and the rest of those greats must have been turning over in their graves.
Now, after two years of college ball, this 21 year old kid is thrown into the fiery jaws of the NFL, expecting to survive among the very best of the very best. With limited protection (if you can call it that), and wannabe receivers (and I’m being generous there) around him, this unskilled professional, whose only winning seasons as a starting quarterback were with his sophomore college year and his Toledo high school teams, is expected to win games for an NFL team.
Sorry, but DeShone Kizer is just not ready. Those incompetents who drafted him; what were they smoking?
Because it’s nearly impossible to coach a game from the sidelines and serve as an offensive coordinator, Coach Hue Jackson must share some of the blame. In football, you do one thing and do it well. He also should have been adamant about keeping one of the more experienced QBs to share the ropes with the rookies. But that blame may be limited because he could only work with what the front office gave him - which was nearly nothing.
Finally, all the blame can not be placed on just the shoulders of Jackson and Kizer. Many others behind the scenes also helped set the stage for such a disastrous year. After all, that Oh and 16 record was a real team effort.
With few exceptions, the Bumbling Browns have been a daily reminder that inept cartoon characters walk among us.
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