Rich's Rant: Price Increase a Bad Move

Rich rants about John Collins' increase in ticket price, the Browns new DC, and more...

So much to write about since leaving town for a week. So little space.

Never a dull moment with the Browns. Whether they are making news or whether news about them is being made.

In no particular order . . .

Reportedly, the Browns are going to modestly raise the price of their tickets for next season. What in the world of P.T. Barnum are they thinking?

Barnum didn't really say there was a sucker born every minute, but . . .

To raise ticket prices after a strife-ridden, coach-firing, talent-stupefying season is the height of chutzpah. That's nervy, baby.

I don't care if it's just a few bucks here and there. This move defies any logic.

The rationale is that even with the raise, the Browns will still have the third-lowest ticket structure in the National Football League. Well, la dee da. Doesn't that just warm your heart? And wallet?

Last time I looked, the Browns sell out every game. And then there's the money from concessions and parking. And the zillions they get from television revenue. Where in the name of Paul Tagliabue is all this money going?

Are operating costs so high that the Browns have to put their hands out? Is business at MBNA a little slow these days? Did Randy Lerner have to give Butch Davis that $12 million parting gift?

Why should the fans pay any more of the freight if the product doesn't improve? Isn't that the way it usually works? Give them a reason not to be ticked off. Fans would be far less reluctant to part with their money if the product warrants it.

Lots of people pay good, hard-earned cash to watch the Browns play 10 Sundays a year. They pay to watch something better than the expansion-type team they witnessed last season.

Browns President John Collins, a poor man's Carmen Policy, told Hal Lebovitz of the Lake County News-Herald that raising prices will "cover the expenses of many things we're now doing and the several fan-friendly promotions in the planning stage. . . . We want to get closer to the fans and I know raising ticket prices might seem counterproductive . . . but we have to pay the bills for the many upgrades we're planning."

"Fan-friendly promotions?" Like taking out of the pockets of the fans FOR the fans?

"We want to get closer to the fans?" You can't get any closer to these fans than you are now, John. These people live and die with you.

"We have to pay the bills for the many upgrades we're planning?" Pay the bills? The Browns are making money hand over fist and they're having problems paying the bills? What's wrong with this picture?

How about planning for a decent football team? Doesn't putting a quality product on the field count for anything anymore?

"I know it won't be a popular move, especially at this time," Collins said, "but we've got to remove emotions from running the business side."

That part of it he got at least partially right. It's not a popular move.

In the weeks leading up to Romeo Crennel's coronation as Browns coach, speculation was rampant on whom his coordinators would be.

Was Eric Mangini going to lead the defense? Or Pepper Johnson? Would Bill Belichick let either go?

And who was going to lead the offense? That field was skimpy at best.

Rumors took wing that Mangini was headed here. In some quarters, it was considered a done deal. After all, Crennel was his coordinator at New England. He was married to Indians General Manager Mark Shapiro's sister.

It seemed a perfect fit. That's why teeth gnashed when Mangini chose to stay with Belichick in New England.

Then came the announcements that Maurice Carthon got the job on offense and Todd Grantham the defensive gig.

In Carthon, the Browns get an offensive coordinator (at Dallas) who has yet to call his first play. That's how much faith Cowboys coach Bill Parcells had in him.

And in Grantham, they get a defensive coordinator with no experience coordinating.

Neither did Mangini, you say? True. But at least Mangini is familiar with Crennel's philosophy on running a defense. Todd Who is coming from the expansion Houston Texans, where he was defensive line coach.

Of course, he's rooted in Dom Capers' 3-4 philosophy, which might or might not be the same as Crennel's 3-4.

And unless Todd Who brings an aggressive approach to the defense and Carthon an aggressive approach to the offense, they could very well wind up as the Dave Campo and Terry Robiskie of the Crennel era. Time will be their greatest judge.

They are risky hires. And they come at a time when this club needed a huge shot of feel-good and missed the target.

Read where ESPN The Magazine recently ranked the top 90 franchises in the four major sports.

The Cavaliers (34) and Indians (42) held their own. The Indians, if you can believe this, ranked higher than the World Champion Boston Red Sox. And the Cavaliers finished ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers.

So what shlub team finished last? Why it was your Cleveland Browns. And the only reason they weren't 92nd was that The Mag did not count the expansion Houston Texans and Charlotte Bobcats because they've haven't been in existence for the required three years.

Now what does this all mean? Nothing.

It's just another way for The Mag, using a complicated eight-category formula, to generate something to talk and crow about.

It is to be smiled at. Nice try, guys.

See ya later, Jeff Garcia. Don't let the door hit your rather ample ego in the hind flanks. Your separation papers from the Browns were delivered yesterday with the collective sigh of relief by Browns fans 'round the globe.

Garcia fit in here about as well as Michael Jackson at a Hell's Angels convention. It was a bad fit from the start and got worse in training camp, the exhibition season and then the regular season.

This was one move that had to happen at the beginning of the Phil Savage era. It was a clinical case of addition by subtraction.

Opinions expressed by columnists may not neccessarily reflect those of Bernie Kosar or the staff of

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