With the team in meltdown mode, and the fans in meltdown mode (myself included), I decided rather than take out my frustrations in the comments section of this site, it was time for me to initiate the good ol’ Festivus tradition, the Airing of Grievances. So now, without further ado, to quote the great Frank Costanza, “I got a lot of problems with you people! And now, you’re gonna hear about it!“
“You, Kruger Lerner. My son tells me your company STINKS!“
I know you like spending time overseas watching your other football team, Aston Villa, play. I can’t say I blame you. I enjoy the EPL as much as any American possibly can (heck, I even root for the EPL version of the Browns, Newcastle United). And while Aston Villa is currently in 6th place fighting for Champions League qualification, or worst case scenario UEFA Cup qualifying, the team you grew up wearing pajamas of is in shambles. I know you don’t want to be a meddling owner like Al Davis or Jerry Jones, and believe me, I appreciate that about you. But enough is enough. If Phil Savage is unwilling to initiate change, then the duty falls on your shoulders. I know there’s NO WAY you’re happy about this, so can you please do something about it. What would you do if Aston Villa was in danger of relegation? I’m sure you’d pull out all the stops to save the sinking ship. I’m not saying you should fire Savage, but could you please give him a little nudge in the right direction? The Browns stink, and I’m sick of it.
“And at the Festivus dinner, you gather your family around, and tell them all the ways they have disappointed you over the past year!“
First of all, Phil, you didn’t listen to my advice and you went ahead and gave DA a long term deal and thus kick started us in this predicament. I have serious problems with what you did here. You screwed up the QB situation, and now the Browns cannot get anything in return for DA. Furthermore, you refuse to put any pressure on Romeo Crennel. In fact, last season you extended his contract after just one winning season and zero playoff appearances. To quote Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler, “Really!?!” You didn’t think it prudent to wait until after the coach had led the team to more than one winning season to give him a reward? Really!?! That’s like a person somehow miraculously nailing a half court shot during a halftime promotion at an NBA game, and then putting them right on the Olympic basketball team. Really. Maybe next time you might want to wait until you’re sure a team is winning because of their coach and not in spite of their coach. I applaud you on the Shaun Rogers trade and the drafting of Alex Hall, but you’re letting this coach you just extended ignore the QB you spent a first round draft pick on 2 years ago. I don’t get that. You need to fire Crennel, and you need to fire him now. This cannot go on like this. You’re tearing this family (Browns fans) apart.
“Cosmo Kramer: Is there a tree?
Frank Costanza: No, instead, there’s a pole. It requires no decoration. I find tinsel distracting.
Frank Costanza: It’s made from aluminium. Very high strength-to-weight ratio.
Mr. Kruger: I find your belief system fascinating.“
Indeed, Romeo….I find your belief system fascinating. Your resolute stubborness is like the Festivus aluminum pole, with its very high strength-to-weight ratio (yes, there’s a fat joke in there, but I’m not going to go there). HOW CAN YOU NOT BENCH DEREK ANDERSON? What’s it going to take, Romeo? DA started 15 games last year and has started 6 games this year for a total of 21 starts. Over that time, he has played 4 great games, 6 good games, 5 mediocre games, and 6 awful games. That’s 10 positive games to 11 negative games. As for this year, he has played 1 great game (NYG), 1 mediocre game (CIN), and 4 awful games (DAL, PIT, BAL, WAS), and that’s being generous by calling the Cincy game mediocre. DA is 1-for-6 this year in positive games. Why is that ok with you? Why won’t you make the change that EVERYBODY knows this team needs? I know there are some who will say “But, what makes you think Brady Quinn will do any better?” Well, that’s exactly the point. We don’t know, and that’s inexcusable. Lets find out. Show us what he’s made of. How many more pathetic games will you allow DA to play before you bench him? Are you really willing to throw your head coaching career away because of your stubborness? You’re 60 years old, this is probably going to be it for you as far as head coaching is concerned. You need to embrace this job while you still have it. You continue to just allow this team to make stupid mental mistake and commit costly penalties. All of it goes unchecked. You make questionable decisions all the time, you try to “ice” opposing kickers in the first half (showing a complete lack of understanding of how the theory behind icing kickers really works), your team lines up in illegal formations and offside, and you’ve shown no development in your understanding of clock management. The same problems that plagued this team in your first season as coach still plague us. You need to shape up or ship out.
“Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way.“
Don’t think you’re getting out of this, Rob. You looked like a hero last season. The offense was electrifying, dynamic, and efficient. The Browns put up points almost seemingly at will and exploited mismatches at will. Your offense sent DA, Braylon, K2, and Joe Thomas to the Pro Bowl. So what’s the deal this year? Did you suddenly forget how to coach, or how to draw up plays, or how to call plays, or how to exploit weaknesses and mismatches? Your worst performance yet was the Redskins game. Through the first 3 quarters, before you realized the Browns had to throw the ball to try to catch up and get back in the game, you had Derek Anderson throw the ball on 1st down 9 times. Of those, 6 of them were incomplete. On every single 2nd down you ran Jamal Lewis, usually leading to a 3rd and 6+ situation. I was reading this from my living room, and I know nothing about coaching football. If I can read that, I guarantee you the Redskins’ coaches picked up on it. There’s no imagination in that playcalling. And it certainly doesn’t set the Browns offense up to be in situations that are advantageous. There has to be another way. There has to be something you can do to stop this offense from looking so stale and predictable all the time. You used to look like the heir apparent in Cleveland. Now, I’m not so sure. You’ve got to show us that you can find another way.
“Betting Shop Guy: Hello again, Miss Benes.
Elaine Benes: What are you doing here?
Betting Shop Guy: Damndest thing. Me and Charlie were calling to ask you out, and, uh, we got this bagel place.
Cosmo Kramer: I told them I was just about to see you. It’s a Festivus Miracle!“
You know what else is a Festivus Miracle? Every time you complete a pass. I have never in my life seen such consistent ineptitude from a starting QB. EVER. No hyperbole, no exaggeration, no superfluous exclamations……you are playing the worst QB on a weekly basis that I have ever seen with my own eyes. You’re completing fewer than half of your passes, you’re throwing interceptions at the same pace as you are throwing TD passes. Ironically enough, though, you’re STILL on pace to throw fewer INTs (16) than you did last year (19). That just tells me that you weren’t as good last year as everyone thought you were. The only QBs with a worse rating than you have are Matt Hasselbeck and Tyler Thigpen. And yet you have the audacity to get mad at us for questioning you. You continue to sell us rainbows and lollipops while darkness and despair lingers all around. You accept no blame and you have no accountability. We all wanted so much to believe in you. We put aside our common sense, and we ignored all the blinking neon signs that were telling us we shouldn’t trust you. And now look where we are. Truly pathetic.
“George Costanza: No! No! Turn it off! No feats of strength! I hate Festivus!
Frank Costanza: We had some good times.“
Ah, yes, Braylon Edwards. We had some good times. I bought your jersey. You so impressed me the things you said when you got drafted, and then slowly but surely you put it all together on the field and became one of the best WRs in the league. You had it all. And I overcame my hatred of Michigan and bought your jersey. And this is how you repay me? You can still make the difficult catch, I’ll give you that. But every time a nice easy pass is put right on your numbers, you either bobble the ball or you drop it all together. I don’t know what’s going on with you, but you need to get yourself together. I’m guessing this hack coaching staff isn’t working with you, but you could always reconnect with your WR coach at Michigan or something to try to get back to basics. Just do SOMETHING to get over this case of the drops, because you’re killing us as fans and you’re killing your team on the field.
“I can’t take it anymore! I’m going to work! Are you happy now?!“
Shame on me. Shame on me for believing. Shame on me for putting myself through this every single year. I root for a franchise that does nothing to reward my loyalty. Oh sure, I get the occasional exciting victory that gives me chills and sends shivers down my spine (NYG MNF, etc) and makes me feel good for being a Browns fan, but more often than not, I get spit on time and time again. Fans of other teams laugh at me and question why I stick with the Browns. The answer used to be a lot easier than it is these days. I will never give up on the Browns, but these are tough times. As we are in the midst of a mini-depression in the economic market, we are in the midst of a mega-depression in Cleveland Sports. The Indians let us down. The Browns let us down. I shudder to think of what the Cavaliers are about to do to me. I’m not mad at myself for rooting for the Browns. I’m mad at myself for letting it hurt so much. For caring so much. For letting so much frustration get the better of me. This is the 10th year of the new Browns, and we have 2 winning seasons and 1 playoff appearance (another heartbreaking loss at that) to show for it. We deserve better. Browns fans are the most loyal fans you will ever find anywhere in the NFL. 10 years of mediocrity and misery, and yet every Sunday we put on our best Orange-and-Brown gear and head down to the Stadium for tailgating with other fans and for cheering on this team we all love so much. And through it all, I’ve come to realize one thing. I wish that I could change not my loyalty to this team, but the degree to which I care. I’m just tired of the disappointment. I’m tired of watching this team refuse to do anything different to try to get better results. These are dark days indeed. It wears on you to be so low one week, then so high the next, and then back to an even new low the week after. So consider this an exercise in grief counseling. I don’t really want to care less, I just don’t want to be disappointed. I want this to be a proud franchise again. I want to win. I want to go to the playoffs. I want to win a Super Bowl. So I will air my grievances, in hopes of another Festivus Miracle. May the Browns some day learn how to come out on top in their Feats Of Strength.
So give it to us, Browns fans. Air your grievances. Let us hear it. Get it off your chest. Who do you hold in contempt? Who do you blame? Who do you take issue with? Only after we’ve aired our grievances can we move on, and I gotta tell you, I’m feeling better already…