Randy Lerner should sell his football team to Art Modell.
Face it, Browns fans. You were better off with the devil as the owner of your favorite football team and if he moves them to Beijing in 2041, the next 35 years still look better than what the future looks like now.
Art Modell, before Bill Belichick became his coach, was a very good owner. There, it is – one of the most bizarre true sentences about Cleveland sports ever written. You hate it, but it's true. Art Modell was a better owner than Randy Lerner. And it isn't even close. With a piece of crap stadium that we all loved more than home, Modell gave us a consistently winning team. Don't you hate facts?
The name of this occasional column is "The Mirage" and that is perhaps the best way to describe my favorite football team since 1999 – occasional and a mirage.
I grew up cheering for the Cleveland Browns when Bill Nelson quarterbacked on guts & guile, and the help of Leroy Kelly and Paul Warfield. Almost always – except for a Mike Phipps and Paul McDonald misstep – the Browns were good, very good.
But this team put before us since 1999 is not good. It's bad, very bad. And it's not the Cleveland Browns that I remember. No one cares. NO ONE. And you know it. Even as you read this and you care immensely, you know the truth.
This team is a joke. The ownership is the punch line.
The saddest part of it all is that the one guy who doesn't deserve to take the fall – Romeo Crennel – is going to be the first guy to go. He probably knows more about football than the rest of the organization (owner – doh! – general manager, players, and popcorn salesman) put together – although I give more credence to the popcorn salesmen than the owner or the general manager and the look-at-me players are too busy arguing…
I can see it coming and so can Ray Charles – and he's dead and blind. Romeo will be gone while everyone else will survive this catastrophe.
Yet I'd like to see it done the other way around. I'd like to see Romeo stay and the entire organization, including and especially the owner, fired. I'd also like to say goodbye to the general manager and all the players except maybe…nah, really get rid of all of them. This team reeks of the smell of zero. (Keeping the players mandates changing the color of the uniform. They don't deserve those colors.)
I am pretty sure I am not alone when I admit that I have not cared nearly as much about this version of the Browns as I did about the previous version when they were owned by, yes, Art Modell. It's not the same.
I am like one of those old farts from Brooklyn that you see on PBS talking in an Alzheimer's flashback about the Dodgers before they moved west. "Back then, it was special…"
It's gross, is what it is now.
The situation surrounding this football team is so sad that it's not even sad anymore and it's not laughable either. I'm numb but not comfortably numb and I can't imagine there isn't a fan out there that hasn't felt this way in recent years. It's not comfortable.
Jim Morrison once sang, "This is the end, beautiful friend."
Sell the team, Randy.
Sell it to Art Modell. It would be the ultimate comeback story and it couldn't be any worse than it is right now.
Brian Tarcy is the creator of the satiric website mixing politics, pop culture and the NFL - www.whatzgonnahappen.com - where he ALWAYS predicts the Browns will win.