I may be having that "Jerry Maguire" moment that doesn't go over well with most, but I'm going to put this out there:
It only has been a short while since our loss Monday night, in which I saw a very glaring problem. THE FANS. And the most obvious was at half-time, when the Browns had played their hardest, and the game was a 0-0 (much better than we thought), the fans in the stadium were booing the team off the field. Now put yourselves in their shoes, and imagine you are doing something you love to do. And you work hard, everyday, 12-16 hours a day, putting everything you have to become better at it. Then when it comes to game time, and you leave it all on the field, all you hear is boos. Now ask yourself this question, would you feel motivated to show up the next day, when you are so unappreciated. I know I wouldn't, as I have been in that situation in previous jobs.
I'll give you an example of where I see this happening, in Brady Quinn. Last year in the game against Denver, after the Browns suffered a heart-breaking loss, I saw a shot of Brady on the sideline, frustrated by the loss. But in that frustration, I also saw a desire in him to improve and get better. And tonight after the loos, I saw a shot of Brady and I saw nothing. He looked like somebody who had no motivation to improve. Perhaps this lack of motivation is because of the drama he has faced with the coaching staff, this is a very reasonable thought. But another very reasonable thought is that he felt unappreciated by the fans. The fans of a team he loves and dreamed of playing for. Now we have absolutely ZERO influence over how he is handled by the coaching staff, or at least it should be that way. But we have 100% influence on how we support him. And maybe that will bring a spark in him back to life. I know it did when I changed jobs from the one I felt unappreciated to the one were I was appreciated and motivated.
This is how I see my fellow Browns fans right now, myself included. I feel we are not doing the one and ONLY thing we have complete control over, which is to support and help motivate our team. We have done our "protest", and displayed our hate and anger over our QB's and our Head Coach. And to steal a line from American History X, "Has anything you done made your life better?". Or to put it into terms for the Browns, has anything the fans done, made the Browns better? Has anything we done made a rookie go out and play harder than he has ever played before? Has anything we done made a star free agent in his prime say, I want to help that team out?
We curse Mangini, saying that he has put the Browns back. And he may have, but have any of us thought that might have been the right direction to go? You have to demolish the condemned apartment building to build the mult-million dollar condos. It may not be a popular opinion but after reflecting on the season without being myopic, I'm starting to see the things Mangini has done well. He has built a defense that we can be proud of! Yet we curse him for the offense. He has gotten us 11 draft picks in what I have heard as one of the deepest drafts ever. Yet we want him run out of town.
This all came to me when I was getting ready for bed, and saw a book I have been reading called Leadership and Self Deception: Getting Out of the Box, by The Arbinger Institute.It's a great book if you have time. And that is when I realized that, we as fans are in the box. Meaning that since we are in the box, we do not realize we may be part of the problem. So I want to propose this as our job description as fans:
Lets get out of the box, support the owner, the coaches, and the players, so that we ensure that we are not a part of the problem.
Let the people who have dedicated their lives to football, and spend countless hours at the training facility in Berea, do what they are getting paid millions of dollars for. They know more about the abilities of this team than we do, and going by past statements seem to have a grasp on how they wish to shape the future.
I know I have broken these proposals in the past, but I promise to try and go by them in the future.
I will end this with a quote I saw in Jim Tressel's The Winners Manuel:
Progress always involves risk; you can't steal second base and keep your foot on first.