And they say I’m unreasonable…

Sometimes you just can’t figure people.

Odd, because everyone knows I’ve always fancied myself as a “people person.”

I mean, after going upwards of six months (which, if I’m not mistaken, is half a year) with nary a single negative comment launched in the direction of the Cleveland Browns owner, I write one mildly critical piece focusing on the managerial misdeeds of one Mr. Haslam, and people react as though I’m sitting around taking cheap shots at the Vatican. (Also strange, since everyone knows I’m a Popel person, too).

Anyway, I’ve had to endure several snide remarks from Browns fans who evidently actually believe that the Browns are on the verge of being really, really good in the really, really near future.

Anything’s possible, I guess, but to put it in a way that Browns fans will understand, I’ll say that – frankly – I will be really, really surprised if the Browns are more than really, really mediocre over the next half-decade or so. Really.

Honestly, one guy was annoyed enough with me to wonder exactly what I was basing my bias against Haslam on.

I thought it was pretty clear to anyone over the age of 6 (maybe 5) what the problem with the Browns was ever since that late October day in 2012 when Jimmy and his crew (no, not the Columbus Crew) took over the reins of the good ship Starting Over, also known by some as the Cleveland Browns.

While it seems perfectly clear to me that this guy had spent just (a wee bit of) too much time communicating with the mothership before opening his big yap, I decided to call this guy out and give him the “big picture” in a way that he and the other Browns stormtroopers could understand.

How about counting up the years with playoff games for all of the teams in our division starting with 2012 (Jimmy’s first season of ownership)? After all, a group that makes the playoffs generally must be doing something right, right? We’ll go in descending order, with teams having the most appearances down to those with the fewest (hmm … wonder who that could be).

Certainly, a surprise to no one, the Steelers, Bengals, and Ravens tied – each appearing in the playoffs six years out of the possible 11. But, it’s all perspective, right?

In Cincinnati, the Bengals have been on a two-season high, with nearly reaching the Super Bowl this year for a second consecutive season, after years of first-round playoff failure.

The Ravens, after winning the Super Bowl the first year Haslam was in Cleveland, have only won two playoff games since then, and fans are getting restless.

In Pittsburgh, success is measured only by conference championships and Super Bowl trophies, and there hasn’t been much dancing in the streets in Pittsburgh of late. In fact, 2016 was the last time Pittsburgh was in a conference championship game.

But, as we said earlier, it’s all perspective, and making the playoffs six of 11 seasons sure trumps the whopping two seasons the Browns have amassed since Haslam rode into town atop his Flying J stallion in 2012. But, for some, that still rates as progress and renders my criticism “unreasonable.”

Sometimes you just can’t figure people.

Jeff Bing

Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!

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Volume 15, Issue 2, Posted 10:10 AM, 02.07.2023