What in the world is going on with Cleveland's inferiority complex these days?
The Cavaliers are going to be in the playoffs, the Indians are off to a roaring start, but Browns fans bitch and moan about their team's involvement in the 2006 prime time television schedule in the National Football League.
One appearance. One stinking appearance. And that's on a Thursday night. On the NFL Network.
The paranoia is out of control.
Complaints rage from several threads on the topic and the bottom line seems near unanimous. The Browns are getting screwed by the NFL. Again.
The Monday Night schedule is disgusting. The Sunday Night schedule is repulsive. The Browns get no respect. The NFL is against the Browns. Paul Tagliabue is sticking it to the Browns. He doesn't want to see them on prime time TV. It's just another way to plunge a knife in the fans' backs.
Poor, poor Browns. Unloved Browns. Disrespected Browns. What do they have to do to get national recognition?
Stop it. It's unbecoming.
I can hear it now. "Don't tell me what to do," you say, outraged that you would be rebuked for such silly behavior. "Who are you to tell me what to do?"
Grow up already. Get past the crying stage and move on.
What difference does it make whether the nation sees the Browns? Is that what you need to feel better about the team? Get them on national TV and everything will be all right?
Sure the 4-12 Green Bay Packers and 4-12 Oakland Raiders get some face time in front of the nation. So do the 4-12 San Francisco 49ers. So what? Consider yourself fortunate that the league gave the Browns a Thursday night gig in Pittsburgh on the NFL Network.
And for those fans in the Cleveland area who can't get the NFL's PR machine, a.k.a. the NFL Network, you'll still get to see the game on one of the over-the-air stations.
For those who can't get the NFL Network elsewhere, tough. Go out and buy DirecTV.
Be more concerned that the club's defense will be better this season. Be more concerned that Charlie Frye can step up and be the quarterback you expect him to be. Be more concerned that Kellen Winslow Jr. can play at a high level after virtually two years away from the game.
Be more concerned that Maurice Carthon can call an intelligent game. Be more concerned that Romeo Crennel finally gets it and has his club ready for the Steelers, Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals.
There's much more to be concerned about than a national TV appearance.
Sure, it would be nice for the nation to see the Browns. But let's face it, not many people want to watch this club outside of you guys. They're a turnoff.
Programmers love ratings. Certain teams give them ratings. Cleveland is not one of them. Locally, yes. Nationally, no. Not with this team.
Among the losing teams on the national schedule, the Packers have Brett Favre (maybe), the Raiders have Randy Moss, the New Orleans Saints play in the Superdome for the first time since Hurricane Katrina and the Arizona Cardinals have a new stadium. All are attractions to programmers.
Yes, the Philadelphia Eagles are on twice. They're not a 6-10 team this season, not with Donovan McNabb healthy. As far as Baltimore and the New York Jets are concerned, chalk that up to East Coast bias.
Not sure what the 49ers bring to the table, though. They offer nothing. OK, that's a point in your column.
What the hell are the 49ers doing on the schedule??!!
Look at it this way. It could be worse. A lot worse. The Browns could have been overlooked entirely.
You could be a follower of the Detroit Lions, Buffalo Bills, Houston Texans or Tennessee Titans. Fans of those teams didn't even make the first cut. Not one game. Nada. Zilch. Shut out. The ultimate diss.
Call them the not-ready-for-prime-time teams.
But there is a bright side. Should the Browns get off to a good start and maintain that level of performance, there is a good chance they will be strongly considered for prime-time duty on a Sunday night when the new flex schedule kicks in just past the midway point of the season.
Now if that doesn't make you feel better, nothing will.