The Browns must be feeling like the kid who gets all the way to the front of the line to visit Santa Claus and then is stopped and told he has to wait as the jolly old elf goes off to feed his reindeer.
It's tough feeling like you're ready to take that next step and then have your hopes dashed. The little kid was ready to go sit on Santa's lap and the Browns were ready to return to the playoffs. The wait for the kid and the Browns will be a painful one.
Anticipation fueled by high expectations can be a bad combination if things don't work out. Nobody wants to wake up on Christmas morning and find a tree with no presents and Browns fans certainly don't want to hear anybody tell them to "wait until next year." We must admit though, that phrase seems to ring in our ears in December as much as Nat King Cole's "chestnuts roasting on an open fire and Jack Frost nipping at your nose."
December is a month for giving, and the Browns have certainly been receiving their fair share of criticism. Everyone has an opinion on the head coach and the quarterbacks and all the struggling number one draft picks. Not many of the opinions right now are happy ones, either. But in the spirit of the Holiday Season, and to adhere to my mother's advice to me as a kid that "if I don't have anything nice to say," I'm going to focus on the positives of this football team.
With apologies to the Twelve Days of Christmas, here are my Twelve Reasons to like the Browns.
1. The Lerner Family. Thank goodness Ebenezer Scrooge doesn't own this team. Mr. Lerner and now his son Randy have proven they are willing and able to spend to bring a winner to the town that deserves a champion like no other. The Browns last won a championship two days after Christmas nearly 40 years ago. That gift wasn't supposed to be of "the gift that lasts a lifetime" variety. We'd like another one, please.
2. The orange jerseys. Look at it this way. Santa has Rudolph to light his way on a foggy night and the Browns have those orange jerseys to serve as beacons in the mist and fog that rolls off the lake this time of the year. Santa has never missed a rooftop and hopefully, thanks to the orange jerseys, Browns quarterbacks will never miss an open receiver.
3. James Jackson. He is Rudolph. Nobody wanted to let him play in any football (reindeer) games because the team had a bigger, stronger and faster William Green. Guess what? While Green is lost in a snowdrift of issues, Jackson has come to the rescue.
4. Gerard Warren. He's a lot like Frosty the Snowman. He's happy and
huggable and come to think of it, it wouldn't hurt if he'd melt away a
5. The wide receivers. These guys should be related to the Heat Meister. There's more than one hot hand in this group.
6. Chris Gardocki. He's a little like Bob Cratchett. A good company man who is dependable and reliable and never misses a day of work. Or in Gardocki's case, never gets a punt blocked.
7. The young linebackers. They're a lot like the toys on misfit-island. Undersized and nobody picked them No. 1.
8. Browns fans. You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout. I'm telling you why. The NFL might take our team again.
9. Shaun O'Hara. He must feel like the elf who wanted to be a dentist. All Shaun ever wanted to do was play one position on the offensive line. Not all five.
11. Art Modell. The ghost of Christmas past will be invisible in Cleveland four days before Christmas present as his Baltimore team visits the plot where the old stadium once stood. Time has run out on his time here but you have to admit, it wasn't all that bad. Plus, if the Browns can beat the Ravens, the loss could knock Mr. Modell's team out of the playoffs. That's a good present.
12. Butch Davis. He's a lot like Santa Claus you know. He's a man who doesn't go by his given name. He had to move north, to cold weather, to finally be named top elf's mean head coach. Not many people have been able to get close to him. He knows all, and some people still don't believe in him.