I grew up in Berea, which is the home of the Cleveland Browns. As a kid I used to go watch them practice at their facility on the Baldwin Wallace campus. I have been a lifelong Browns fan. Even when I moved away for 20 years in various radio markets doing morning shows, I was still a huge fan. Same with the Cav's and Tribe. And still am.
So the weekly Sunday fall afternoon dry-heaving about 4pm eastern that you experience during Browns season, is my experience too. The Browns have been a struggling franchise for a long time now. But the struggling would cease if NFL games were reduced to 59 minutes instead of 60. One scrawny, dinky little minute is all I ask. And Sunday's loss to the Ravens is more proof positive of that 23-31, as we lost with one lone minute remaining yet again. After the Browns played a pretty darn good game.
Forget all the stats on offense. The stat I really want to know is how many games the Browns have lost in my lifetime in the final minute. I am supremely confident that we easily lead the league. Regular season, post season, preseason it doesn't matter. And my guess would be... it isn't even close. I'm sure it's Google-able.
Ownership changes, coaching changes, decades of different players in different eras, heck even a different stadium and an actual different franchise. It boggles the mind. If games were 59 minutes long, I think the Browns may have won a couple of Superbowls. Tons of division championships, and played a boatload more post season games. Heck, we would be a dynasty. The Browns do it nowadays, but also did it when the franchise was great in the 80's and early 90's. This literally has been going on for 30 years.
Isn't it amazing how often this happens? I am not piling on here, because these kind of losses hurt, and demoralize not only a team but an area that is passionate about its Browns. But today I think I had to really ask myself simply this. How is it that this happens seemingly every single week? My friend Don texted me after the game today stating, "S.O.S." (you can translate). And he's right. My show partner Sue Wilson on WQMX has a theory on watching the Browns, that you only need to watch the last 5 minutes and you will see the entire game. And she's also right. But we watch the game anyway. From the anticipated 1pm start, to the brutal and appendix exploding 4pm finish.
Ever notice too that the Browns never seem to win a game in the last minute? That's because we're too pre-occupied giving up the final agonizing points for the loss. I am starting to think there is something far larger than actual competition at work here for this to continue. You've just got to keep thinking there is an eventual end payoff that will bring such glee to us Browns fans someday, that will make all this worth it. No area will enjoy a championship more than this one when it happens. And it will happen.
So next year when the NFL rules committee meets to discuss rule reviews and changes for the next season, I say send millions of letters to the NFL office and ask the Commissioner to consider a little mercy on our lovable Browns. Give us the keys to begin a dynasty so we can beat those darn Steelers, Ravens and the Patriots. Ask for the 59 minute game. Just one minute off the fourth quarter would be fine. One stinkin', tiny, minuscule minute!
Please Mr. Commissioner. Take the 60 minute boot out of our guts, and give our much damaged solar plexus' a much needed rest.