Professional basketball teams play 82 games a year, and for baseball it’s nearly double that. If the Cubs lose 14 games in the month of July (they did) it’s not a big deal and they could always make up for it with a lot of wins in August (they did) and go on to finish with the best record in baseball (they totally did). It’s a game of averages, exposing the true value of a team over time. If you think about it, the difference between the best team in baseball and the worst is that the worst wins one out of every three games, and the best wins two. A single day at the park is almost meaningless: just another statistic to throw on the pile for later analysis.
But in football, every game is a big deal. There are only 16 in the entire season and you need to win about 10 of them if you think you’re going to the playoffs. It makes each game feel like a performance art of sorts. Dropping a few in a row can set off the panic alarm among fans and pundits. If you’re a normal team you handle your losses in stride- maybe tell your fans to R-E-L-A-X and then go on to lead the league in scoring.
But not my Browns.
With three games left, we sit at an impressive (though not the good kind) 0-13 record. That’s zero wins and and an ocean of failures. Yikes. If we look back at last season as well, Cleveland has lost 23 of their last 24 games. Obviously that wasn’t counting this year’s four preseason exhibition matches, where the Browns lost…let me look it up…oh that’s right: all of them. If you’re not a football fan you likely don’t appreciate just how historically bad this team is. Someone will write a documentary about this one. Ken Burns is probably licking his chops right now.
The thing is, I just love the goofballs. I can’t be mad. The Cleveland Browns remind me of family and childhood and road trips. I grew up watching them bumble their way through Sunday afternoons and I’ll likely die the same way (soon if they keep losing like this). They serve as a reminder that things don’t always go the way you’d like and you don’t have to win to be loved, but you’ve got to keep pounding away at that wall and at least you’re not a Steelers fan. Hallelujah.
As the weather gets colder I realize that I gave away all of my winter clothes with the lone exception of my hooded Browns sweatshirt. The condolences I receive wherever I wear it are precious to me. They give me an opportunity to remind folks of our team motto: We’ll get ’em next year.
Hope springs eternal. Go Browns.