The Cleveland Browns are really bad. Like historically bad. Like worse than they’ve been ever bad. And that is saying a lot. You know who else was really bad five years ago? Your World Series Champion Chicago Cubs. Five years ago the Cubs went all in on a rebuilding strategy, a five-year plan to make things better for the longest championship drought of any professional sports franchise. 108 years the Cubs went without a World Series Title. The Browns haven’t won anything since 1964, were the definition of heartbreak in the late 80’s, were a thing of the past in the 90’s and ever since rejoining the NFL in ’99 have been a laughing stock of the league. But that is all going to change. Similarly to the Cubs, the Browns have a front office that is now committed to a rebuilding strategy, and while going 1-15 is a result of this plan, there are brighter days ahead in Cleveland.
First: the coach. The Cubs went out and brought in Joe Maddon, a players coach that got his guys to believe in him. Hue Jackson, while without the pedigree of success as a head coach, had his guys playing hard every game. He was the one who got the game ball after their lone win of the season, and the team rallies around him and the culture and attitude he brought to Cleveland. While the Browns and Hue aren’t to the point where they can use the phrase “just try not to suck” because well, they did suck this year, they have developed a culture of belief both in the building and in the fan base. Now with the addition of Gregg Williams as Defensive Coordinator, the Browns have added someone with Championship pedigree and experience to the staff. Someone who has been there before and done it before. The next piece in this puzzle.
Second: the roster. The Cubs went out and got young talent and built through the draft. Now, I am not saying the Browns have drafted sure fire Hall of Famers like Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber, or a dynamic duo up the middle in Russell and Baez, but there is something to be said about all 14 of the Browns draft picks in the first year of this regime making the final roster. And due to injuries as well as overall belief in their abilities, a good amount of them saw the field in one way or another. Now, having secured 2 picks in the top 12 in the upcoming draft, this front office has the chance to use the analytics background (commonly seen in baseball) to hit two home run draft picks. Not to mention the Browns have 4 in the first two rounds and up to 10 in all seven rounds, they can add some much-needed young talent to this roster.
Third: a loyal fan base. These Browns fans, while they openly will make fun of themselves or accept the way of losing in which only the Browns can are starting to understand the process up ahead. The Dawg Pound never dies (even if sometimes they forget how to spell it). On Christmas Eve, they rejoiced as if Santa came early, knowing they just won in the “most Browns” way possible in their lone victory this season over the Chargers. Cubs fans waited 108 years, went through multiple setbacks of their own, and the Browns can only hope that they can feel the same joy of success (hopefully in less time).
To put this into perspective the Cubs finished last in their division from 2011-2013, with an average of being 30 games under .500. In 2014, they were still 16 games under .500. Then it clicked, the young talent developed, they reached the NLCS in 2015, but they were swept by the Mets. We all know what happened in 2016. Chicago erupted when the Cubs won the World Series. 5 million rejoicing what many never saw in their lifetime. Be patient Cleveland. Trust the process. The Browns Super Bowl Parade may not be as far off as you think. 2021, you heard it here first.