There are some really important decisions to make about front-office personnel, coaching and stadium issues, but I have some less relevant things that Jimmy Haslam should probably tackle when he finally officially becomes owner of the Browns. Here they are in non slide show format…
5. Start an obsolete Browns jersey trade-in program
I don’t know what the appropriate denominations are to make this program work, but it is high time that Cleveland Browns fans everywhere be given special amnesty for the hosts of bad jerseys that have been purchased over the years. Even a fan favorite like Chris Spielman is an utter debacle from the perspective of consumerism. Additionally, and more seriously, the obsolete jerseys running around the circles of Cleveland Browns fans is reinforcing the exact culture that Jimmy Haslam is coming in to change. It doesn’t do anyone in the world any bit of good to be at the same tailgate with some guy wearing a much-too-bright-and-clean Jake Delhomme jersey. Even worse, what team with Trent Richardson needs to be reminded of the failures of William Green, Travis Prentice, and even Peyton Hillis? Offer a voucher to get at least a high percentage of those bad boys off the street.
4. Improve training camp seating and maybe capacity
Cleveland Browns training camp is run very well right now. It’s free, the players make themselves accessible and the staff is generally pretty nice. Even the walk up the street from Baldwin-Wallace, while not ideal, is far from an issue. Once you are inside and want to see some practice action, it is much more difficult. The space along the side is tight. The bleachers are extra tiny and the lack of elevation makes it almost impossible to see for many of the fans.
I don’t have the solution for this. I don’t know if the Browns should move their training camp, or if they can improve upon the facility in Berea to make it bigger and easier to see. All I know is that I am jealous when I see pics like the ones from Bills training camp at St. John Fisher College in Rochester.
3. Create a singular brand identity for the team
The only thing worse than not having a real identity as a football team is enduring the constant debate about it. Should the Browns be the Dawgs? Should the team really be able to capitalize on something that was created organically by a couple of players and wholly embraced by the fans? Should they bring back the elf? What color jerseys are the Browns going to wear and when? I think these can be somewhat important questions, but indecision and throwing a bunch of things against the wall is not any kind of answer. The Browns need to figure it out, be decisive and go with it. If it’s the Dawgs? Fine. If it is the elf? Do it. Just do something and try to tick off as few people as possible. Just end the silly debate on the topic, please. It has almost nothing to do with football and this fan-base is forced to reckon with it because ownership hasn’t been able to do so.
2. More web streaming
Maybe this is a little too specific for an online writer who covers the Browns but gets shut out for access once training camp ends, but it would be nice to have more accessibility to live press conferences. Cleveland Browns fans have a voracious appetite and having been to camp live, I’ve seen how the players and coaches are corralled by the media. It really wouldn’t take much to bring a few more events to the podiums that are connected to the website. They have a media room and set up a media tent during training camp. If it is in Jimmy Haslam’s power, he ought to use it all more. (Either that or allow certain online entities more access to the team.)
This seems like an easy one. I know Jimmy Haslam is coming over from Pittsburgh and they don’t have cheerleaders, but so what? Haslam also made the rounds visiting both the Patriots and Cowboys recently, if I’m not mistaken. Both of those teams have cheerleaders. The Patriots cheerleaders even have a swimsuit calendar for sale. Obviously this doesn’t actually matter, but it can’t hurt either. It’s an extra group of attractive people in the community on an annual basis. We’ve seen the Cavaliers dance squad, so we know it can be done in Cleveland.
And that’s the end of my list. Certainly the list of important things would never stop. Can you think of any non-essential things that I missed? And yes, this whole topic should avoid comments like, “I just want the team to win.” It’s too obvious and meaningless to say that. Every team wants to do that whether they’re qualified to do it or not.
But you see, even a team that is unqualified to win can start a cheer-leading squad.