Here goes, my first post on DBN.
First off, I'm an Australian, living in Queensland. It was around 13 years ago while visiting family in Seattle that I was introduced to gridiron (college football firstly... my uncle was a purist and hated the commercialisation of the NFL even then). Straight up I was hooked to the game. It had so much strategy and tactical interest compared to the free-for-all brawling in rugby league and aussie rules over here.
I think the Rams-Titans superbowl was the first game I watched here in Australia. After that I began following the Patriots for no better reason than I liked the logo and Drew Bledsoe. I followed them as they appointed Bill Belichick, drafted players like Matt Light and Richard Seymour, suffered the loss of Drew Bledsoe from that hit by Mo Lewis, discovered Tom Brady, won that playoff game in the blizzard against Oakland and went on to create history...
So when the Browns hired Romeo Crennel from the Patriots to become their head coach in 2005, I was fascinated. I knew that every team that played the Browns counted them as a "W" in their schedule. I knew that Policy and Davis had left the team a disaster. I knew that there was a world of difference between a winning organisation and a wanting-to-win organisation. I'd followed the Patriots as they'd made that shift in the previous 5 years. Was it as simple as hiring Romeo to get there?
Seven years later and you all know the history better than I do. I'm still following the Browns, and Romeo's still trying to build a winning organisation. But from where I started as an interested observer, I've somehow become addicted to following this team. I can't leave it now; I've invested too much time and attention already to say so long, have a nice life. (And since the spygate scandal left me feeling like a jilted lover, there's no way back the Patriots while Belichick is still in charge.)
So what will it take to get this organisation to become a winner? How many losses can this front office absorb? How many QBs will we draft and discard until we find "the one"? How many flapjacks will Almighty Joe have to digest before he finally gets to lift the Lombardi trophy? These are the questions that keep me awake at night...
Just one final comment: sure Joe is deity, but ownership is king, because the owner sets the culture of the organisation. I'm sure Randy Lerner is a great guy, but he just doesn't have the hard edge or the nous required to (a) get the right person, and (b) hold them accountable to perform. Hard to put a finger on it, but the state of Aston Villa since he's taken over has had the same sort of feel to the Browns organisation; plenty of resources but a lack of vision for the team. I only know what I've read about Jimmy Haslam (has anyone here met him personally?) but I like what I've heard so far, the man seems to be 'the man'. So for this reason, and probably this reason alone, I'm optimistic for the future. I'll ride out the bumps this season and the next, and the next, and for however damn long it takes; I'm committed to following this Browns team until it learns what it takes to become a winner.
Cheers lads, this is a great site. Go Browns.