Boy, We Watched A Lot of Bad Browns Football

It's kind of surprising we made it through the abyss.

The Cleveland Browns are a good football team, in spite of their defense which seems intent on breaking my already fragile psyche by refusing to get off the field on any third-and-long scenario whether it’s Tyrod Taylor or Patrick Mahomes under center.

But I can’t complain too much, considering it wasn’t that long ago I was leaving Browns losses drunkenly chanting, “We Want Dorsey!” after Brandon Marshall and the Denver Broncos spoiled Brady Quinn’s debut as a starter on Thursday Night Football. Little did we know that, due to injury and Quinn’s overall shittiness, we would get to see Miami Hurricanes legend Ken Dorsey start later that season and we might as well have pulled the drunkest dude out of the Dawg Pound to throw the magic diamond around for us.

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One memory that is seared into my mind forever, is paying real money in 2011 to attend a Browns 6-3 victory over the Seahawks. Our kicker, Big Dick Phil Dawson, stroked two fifty-yard field goals and was the best player on the field that day by a wide, wide margin despite having two other field goal attempts blocked.

Quarterbacks Colt McCoy and Charlie Whitehurst combined for 275 passing yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions. The starting running backs combined for 139 yards.

Leaving the stadium, I felt that game was so bad it still somehow felt like a loss for having to spend three hours on a beautiful fall day watching two stumblebums fist-fight in a back alley over fifteen cents and a half-smoked Menthol cigarette.

Here is how The Herald in Everett, Washington, recapped the game

The score: Browns 6, Seahawks 3.

The location: Cleveland Browns Stadium.

The date: Oct. 23, 2011.

The headline in the next day’s paper: “How low can they go?”

Those are the basic details of the last game the Seahawks played in Cleveland, which stands as perhaps the most forgettable performance of the Pete Carroll era for Seattle.

It is a game, anyway, Carroll would like to forget.

“I don’t want to remember any of it,” the 10th-year coach said this week.

Me either, Pete. And yet here I am, recounting it with such detail while not even being able to remember what I ate for lunch this afternoon.

So Sunday, I got to wondering… what other insane ineptitude did other Browns fans have locked away in the trauma box of their minds as we staggered together through the hellscape that is NFL futility for two decades.

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Here are some of their lowlights. This is obviously an incomplete list so don’t be emailing me asking about some obvious moment of dipshittery that I didn’t mention.

You should have emailed The Rooster and made my job easier!

Some of these videos, you’ll have to click through to watch the misery. You can thank the NFL’s draconian media rules for that.

PERHAPS DRAFTING A VIETNAM VETERAN TO PLAY QB WAS A MISTAKE (2012)

The worst hangover of my life came when the Browns drafted 27-year-old Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden in the first round. My god, what were they thinking? I was vindicated by that rage when Weeden was engulfed by a field-sized flag during the mandatory pregame patriotism rituals. Probably was an omen that he was not going to be able to evade any defender in the pocket. What a bum.

DWAYNE RUDD SNATCHES DEFEAT FROM THE JAWS OF VICTORY (2002)

Before that Browns got good, there may have been no better representation of Cleveland football than when linebacker Dwayne Rudd threw his helmet as time expired in what would have been a season-opening win against the Kansas City “Chiefs.”) The fucking “Chiefs,” why is it always the “Chiefs?”)

Here’s how The Associated Press covered it:

BEREA, Ohio -- Dwayne Rudd's orange helmet rolled. His head won't.

Despite cries from irate fans who want Rudd released for his boneheaded play Sunday, Cleveland coach Butch Davis said his linebacker has been forgiven for throwing his helmet and costing the Browns a season-opening victory.

"First of all, he's not going to be cut,'' Davis said Monday. "Guys make mistakes, and he made one.''

Yeah, a whopper that shook even die-hard Browns fans who have grown accustomed to having their hearts broken. They've survived The Drive, The Fumble and The Move.

Now, they're living with The Helmet. All because of Rudd.

That's Rudd, as in Mudd.

"This guy stinks,'' Dominic Smith, of Garfield Heights, said as he pointed to a newspaper photograph of Rudd. "Dwayne Rudd needs to be cut because that was a stupid, stupid mistake.''

That’s Rudd, as in Mudd… thanks old-timey sportswriter for making that connection before reminding me reporters actually had to go out in the street to get the opinion of some random asshole instead of logging onto their Substack or other social media.

WE’RE TOO DRUNK TO SPELL (2016)

A level of ineptitude so breathtaking you can’t even get mad about it otherwise you might turn into The Joker.

NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL CHILDHOOD TRAUMA (2014)

This poor girl looked like she was staring down the barrel of thousands of dollars in therapy to work through that time her mother took her to a live-action snuff film.

BOTTLEGATE (2001)

You know how they only sell abominable aluminum beer bottles? That’s because the conspiracy that is NFL officiating put the screws to the Browns one time against Tim Couch the Brownies:

The inciting incident occurred in week 14 with the Browns sitting at 6–6, desperate for a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Down 15–10 with 1:08 remaining, the Browns were forced to try to convert on 4th and 2 at the Jaguars' 12 yard line. Tim Couch took the snap and passed short to Quincy Morgan, who caught the ball for a 3-yard gain and a first down.

Although Morgan appeared to bobble the football, officials called it a complete pass. Couch hurried the offense to the line of scrimmage and spiked the ball with :48 remaining. The officials announced that they would review the 4th down conversion two plays earlier and overturned it, giving the ball to the Jaguars.

We responded the only way our animal brains know how: By launching beer bottles onto the field in a desperate attempt to knock out the criminals responsible for this heinous deed.

Say what you want. I bet those refs thought twice about ever trying that again against the Browns, and I believe this to be prime evidence that referees have absolutely fixed American sporting events.

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ORLANDO BROWN BLINDED BY PENALTY FLAG (1999)

This was perhaps a canary in the coal mine for the misery to come. A lot of it was self-inflicted damage, but you never knew when some cosmic meteor of misfortune would also strike our pitiful football team. I can’t think of another example like this.

THE LAND OF MEDICAL MISHAPS

Who could also forget big-time free agent LeCharles Bentley never playing for his beloved Browns after shredding his knee in training camp. Then we gave him a life-threatening staph infection that became our medical department’s calling card in a league-wide scandal.

Knowing the Browns, we probably had two dentists doing all the medical surgeries in the back to save some money.

ANTI-PORN CRUSADER JOSH McCOWN COMES OUT THROWING DARTS BEFORE GETTING HELICOPTERED INTO UNCONSCIOUSNESS ON THE GOAL-LINE BY MAN WHO HATES CONDOMS (2015)

Another Week 1 doozy. People forget that Hue Jackson and Josh McCown were lighting up the Jets before McCown got dumped by Anthony Cromartie, a man who has so many kids he couldn’t remember all their names.

By the end of the season, I legitimately became uncomfortable knowing that McCown’s own children were out there watching their senior citizen father get pummeled every week in the name of a shitty football franchise.

BROWNS INVENT A NEW WAY TO GET KICK-SIXED (2015)

Thanks to Mike over at Bottlegate for sending me his article of the 20 Best Browns Fans reactions to that time the Baltimore Ravens blocked a potential game-winning touchdown and returned it for a win in another sterling example of late-game fuckery from the Browns.

All I remember was being at Meister’s Pub in Grandview — great spot to catch a Browns game, for the record — and just becoming more irate realizing that no Browns player was going to stop us from losing that Thursday Night game. I don’t think I said an entire word out loud for the rest of the night.

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BROWNS MAKE FLACCO BLEED BEFORE FLACCO SENDS THEM TO HELL (2016)

I don’t remember where I was for this game, but I guarantee I was drunkenly belligerent and shit posting on Twitter when we stormed to that 20-point lead only to have my arrogance stuffed down my throat like a gasoline-soaked rag for the next three quarters.

DAMN YOU, ART MODELL (FOREVER):

From reader Jared:

My grandfather was a lifelong Browns fan. And the hardest loss I’ve seen him take was Art Modell moving the team to Baltimore. The one loss that upset me the most was when the Browns couldn’t beat the Ravens on the day he died.

Rest easy, Jared. Your dad ultimately won considering he’s in heaven while Modell is undoubtedly suffering the rest of eternity in damnation.

BRANDON WEEDEN UNDERHANDED INTERCEPTION (2013)

HE DID THIS MULTIPLE TIMES THIS SEASON AND I’M STILL MAD ABOUT IT!!!!

BROWNS PENALIZED ON HAIL MARY, CALL TIMEOUT TO ALLOW INJURED QB TO RETURN AND THROW GAME WINNER (2009)

Twitter avatar for @funkybuttIovingMarty Fuchs @funkybuttIoving
@rooster_ohio
espn.com/nfl/recap/_/ga… Only team in history to get a PI on Hail Mary to end game. THEN take a TO w Stanford shoulder dislocated. Let him come back in to throw winning TD on final playBrowns vs. Lions - Game Recap - November 22, 2009 - ESPNGet a recap of the Cleveland Browns vs. Detroit Lions football game.espn.com

I have always loved Eric Mangini and still do, but this was not his final hour.

BROWNS SQUANDER HISTORIC STRETCH FROM NOTORIOUS WEED-SMOKING WIDE RECEIVER

From reader Nick:

Josh Gordon had 498 receiving yards in a two game span and the Browns lost both games.

I was at the second game, when he ripped off 261 yards and they lost to the then 2-9 Jaguars (and our good friend Chad Henne) at home. They should make Brandon Weeden open the Ark of the Covenant for the shit he put me through. 

Josh Gordon led the league in receiving yards after missing four games due to suspension and having a circus of clowns tossing him the football. It remains the most amazing athletic feat I have seen from a Browns player, which is why the League essentially tried to blackball him for smoking weed in his spare time.

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THE 0-16 SEASON

Hue Jackson went 0-16 and we brought him back to coach another season. I will say, however, fist-pumping a Week 17 loss to the Steelers that secured the No. 1 overall draft pick while eating at a Texas Roadhouse in Huber Heights, Ohio, with my ex-girlfriend’s family was one of the lowest points of my Browns fandom.

Was it all worth it for Baker Mayfield? Yes, because we’re going to the Super Bowl this year and all this pain and misery will be worth it.

THOSE WMDs. Why Jake Tapper never asks how we’ll pay for war… The tiny car from that viral Cleveland tweet had a saga this weekend…. My boyfriend wanted me to go to the gym more, so I did, and now he’s mad… We respond to tragedies all wrong… The liberation of Paris from cars is working.