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Browns Browns Archive I Don’t Think Anyone Knows What It Means Any More
Written by Jeff Rich

Jeff Rich

Miserable MartyWhat is a miserable sports town? 

How about a city that’s never won a Super Bowl?  That’s something that’s certainly more miserable in this day and age than it was before the days of the internet or the existence of the Baltimore Ravens.  And, even then it stunk.  What about a few trips to the World Series in the last thirty years, but no World Championship banners to show for it?  Does that make for solid misery among sports fans?  Surely, if you factor in being “that city” that lost a professional sports franchise, people must immediately hear the name of your town and think, “what an awful place to be a fan”.

At least the weather here is incredibly awesome.  No, seriously, how could you not enjoy that weather on Sunday?

Okay, I admit it; that NFL game on Sunday was difficult to watch.  Only a Southeastern Conference apologist could justify anything about a 7-6 football game being great, but only when teams from ESPN’s beloved faction of college football are involved, certainly not an NFL contest between the Browns and Chargers.  Boy, the coach of that football team sure doesn’t look like he has a clue, and at the end of the day, he was the loser, regardless of what the scoreboard said.

BochyJust to throw gasoline on the fire, the man that played for, and managed the baseball team in town has two World Series rings.  Those World Championships were more than 500 miles away; maybe it isn’t a time focus on such matters.  It’s just those Championship celebrations; they look like so much fun.  What a joy it must be to celebrate the home team like that, but what does a miserable fan base like that of San Diego know?  They’ve never had that, not in 1964, not in 1948; not ever.

Unlike Cleveland, the NFL fans in and around San Diego can speak of an AFC Championship, not the Championship game itself, but the accomplishment of rooting for a team that’s actually won it.  Like the Browns, the Chargers have never won the Super Bowl, but their cameo in Super Bowl XXIX keeps the off of the infamous “never played in a Super Bowl” list that only includes the Lions, Jaguars, Browns and Texans.

That appearance happened in 1994, eight years after the Air Coryell Era came to an end, and seven years after Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts threw his final pass.  It was a Big 3 that included Stan Humphries, Natrone Means, and Tony Martin…but, really Junior Seau carried that team.  They lost to San Francisco by 23 points, and it wasn’t really that close.  Head Coach Bobby Ross led them back to the playoffs, with a 9-7 record, the following year, but it would be 2007 before the Chargers franchise would win another post-season game.

But, the Browns have made screwing up the NFL Draft into an art form; nobody can dispute that, right?  It’s hard to argue against the Browns as the worst organization in the draft, at least in the NFL, where the Indians can’t give them a run for their money.  However, even as bad as Tim Couch is remembered in comparison to Donovan McNabb, there’s always Ryan Leaf, the 1-A to Peyton Manning’s #1 status in the 1998 draft.  I know, the obvious difference between the Browns 1999 predicament and the Chargers selection of Ryan David Leaf is that Manning was never an option for the Chargers selecting second, whereas the Browns had literally everyone to choose from.  Kentucky’s Tim Couch was their choice, but wasn’t half the headache that the crybaby from Washington State was.

LeafIn the interest of providing the answer to the trivia question that no one’s asking, Eastern Michigan’s Charlie Batch was the third quarterback taken in ’98, to Detroit with the 60th pick.  Yes, he would have been a better option that Leaf, and probably better than Couch too.

For a fan in San Diego, more specifically someone in San Diego that would be a fan if they didn’t live in San Diego, where there are so many things to do that don’t involve living and dying with the Chargers and Padres, it’s so easy to tune it out.

“Hey, the Chargers are 3-4, and they just lost to the Browns.  And, Norv Turner is still employed…let’s go surfing.”

Meanwhile, Browns fans are waiting on hold to tell Greg Brinda how much they hate Pat Shurmur after a victory.  Those that can’t get through take to Twitter to gripe about Chuck Booms appearance on Channel 19.  It’s not that we have fans that simply care way too much; it’s just that there’s so many of us that do.  Even in Year Fourteen, we tolerate it; we practically live to bitch about it, and hope for better days.

In their little corner of Southern California, San Diegans are rolling out of bed around halftime, seeing the score of the game their team is playing somewhere in the Midwest, and either checking the Atlanta-Philadelphia game, or heading to Mission Beach for Coronas and brunch.

It’s just a different attitude about things.  We might be obsessed with the fact that Marco Scutaro won a World Series on Sunday night, twelve years after the Indians traded him.  I mean, this guy hit .316 for Akron in 1998, and they traded him for Bob Wickman?  On the flipside, a couple of avid Padre fans are going to go to a game at PETCO Park in 2013, and see Adrian Gonzalez playing for the Dodgers, and wonder when the Chula Vista native quit playing for the Padres.

Qualcomm aka The MurphIt’s not being a bad fan; it’s just a different lifestyle.  Their older stadium, The Murph, in Mission Bay, is described as a dump.  Having seen my share of San Diego Country Credit Union Poinsettia Bowls there, I don’t think it’s a dump, but I’m about the furthest thing from a stadium snob that you’ll ever meet.  They might lose their team to L.A., something that is legitimately a bigger hit than losing the Clippers to la la land after six forgettable seasons in the 80s.  It doesn’t matter to them.

They wouldn’t fight to keep their various shades of blue, lighting bolts, and storied 1963 AFL title in the 858.  If LaDainian Tomlinson wants to go in to the Hall of Fame as a Jet, so be it.  Everyone remembers Steve Garvey as a Dodger, that’s cool.  So, Seau wants to go chase a ring in New England, they hoped he’d get it; too bad he came up short.

I can’t speak for an entire fan base, but I can’t be that casual, even though I no longer live where I’m shut in by the cruel Northeast Ohio winters.  I’m actually a little bit pleased with the fact that Albert Belle, Kenny Lofton, Omar Vizquel, and Jim Thome couldn’t reach the top of the mountain with any other team.  They remain a part of us, in my opinion, by maintaining the Blutarsky when it comes to Championship glory.  I couldn’t see the City In Motion turning on Tony Gwynn, even if he’d signed with the Yankees after the ’98 Series, blatantly chasing a ring.

Me, I want to take a key to every car I see in the Pacific time zone, partly because of 2007, but mostly because I suspect that they wouldn’t recognize how Manny Ramirez, as tainted as he is, came up as a Cleveland Indian.  Or, maybe I’m just made at Manny for saying it wasn’t the end of the world if the Red Sox didn’t come back from 3-1 in 2007.  That’s such a San Diego attitude…so, of course they did exactly that, but it actually did spell the end of the world for Indians baseball.

The misery makes us bitter, while it just expands their apathy.  Why is that?

McCreeIt’s because people suck, and those people know how to get under our skin.  They enjoy watching us squirm.  Marty Schottenheimer’s coaching tenure in Cleveland and San Diego basically ended the same way, with a fumble that put the final nail in a playoff coffin.  In Cleveland, we’re tired of hearing about Earnest Byner, but mention of “The Fumble” is a declaration of invitation to “step outside”.  Out west, mention of Marlon McCree would elicit little to no reaction.

Their misery doesn’t exist because the fans don’t allow it to, even if the numbers suggest it.  Except for some meaningless games out Arizona’s way in March, the Indians and Padres don’t find themselves on the same scoreboard with the Padres, except in the rare case of an inter-league series, but they are in the same ballpark when it comes to how hopeless the future is for both of them.  To make myself feel better, I checked the history of both ball clubs, and the Indians history, just back to 1969 trumps the entire Padres history, with as many post-season appearances from 1995-2001 as the Friars have in their 43-year history.

What in the name of Dave Dravecky am I talking about?      

Chargers loseIt’s not baseball season.  We live in the era of the 24-hour news cycle, and it’s all about what have you done for me lately.  Our Browns are better than their Chargers, whether it’s by 1 point or 100 points.  We don’t give a damn about what their record is, or how ugly our win was.  Our fans are better than their fans because we sat in the rain to watch it, while their fans haven’t seen rain or Chargers touchdown in a very long time.  And now, we know that without their stupid non-inclement weather, they would be more miserable than us.

That said, if it weren’t so inappropriate, Ron Burgundy’s infamous teleprompter dictated sign-off that would have blown up Twitter, YouTube, and the E! Network would be so appropriate here.

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