I’m not watching the Browns next week. Or the week after that. I’m done wasting my time on Sundays watching the parade of miserable incompetence that is the Cleveland Browns franchise. Mike Polk called the Browns a Factory of Sadness, but I think he gives them too much credit. A factory of sadness at least consistently manufactures sadness, packages it and ships that sadness out into the world for profit. The Browns don’t consistently produce anything. They just appear on TV every week and play terrible football. If you’re a Browns fan, the regular season is nothing but a televised insult.
I can no longer think of a rational reason to give this team four hours of my week. All I do is feel bad while I’m watching the games and afterwards. And even when they win, it makes all of the other losses that put us out of playoff contention that much more painful, so even the winning isn’t fun.
I’m not asking for much. None of us Browns fans are. Just give me better than mediocrity, Browns. Give me almost-make-the-playoffs. It’s all I ask. I just want to sort of kind of feel relevance. I want to look forward to the highlights on ESPN. I yearn for playoff implications, damn it.
But we can’t even have that. We can’t even have a .500 team’s delusion of contending.
This franchise, since it returned in 1999, doesn’t deserve my attention. Or yours. Or anyone’s. I honestly don’t know why I watch anymore. Tradition? Nostalgia? No. The answer, to be honest, is food. I eat like a big, fat pig when I watch the Browns. Carbs are the only reason I have to watch this team.
So I’m quitting the Browns.
I’m not watching next week or the week after.
No, I’m not giving up for life.
But I am giving up for now.
I’m quitting the Browns until certain conditions are met.
The Browns’ record is two games over .500. Two games over .500 says that a team is good or at least headed in the right direction. Bad teams can be .500. Mediocre teams can be one game over .500. Two games over says a team has a chance to win every game it’s in and is a playoff contender.
The Browns make the playoffs. It’s possible for 8-8 teams to make the playoffs, and if the Browns did, it would mean they are in the upper half of the AFC, which is laudable.
This week was my last shift in the Factory of Sadness for a while.
I’m tired of wasting my time, and that really is the only thing this franchise does effectively—waste people’s time.
I’m not spending Sunday in front of the TV anymore.
Got better things to do.
What would that be?
Well, pretty much anything would be an improvement.
(Joe Donatelli is a Cleveland Browns fan who has reached his limit. He is the author of “Full Griswold.”)