The following is an open letter to Browns owner Randy Lerner.
Dear Mr. Lerner:
Happy holidays! Tis the season, you know.
But while we hope the holiday season has been a happy one for you thus far, we know the football season hasn't. In fact, it's been miserable for everyone – you, your team, your organization and your fans.
The team is 3-11 and has looked worse than that doing it. It hasn't been pretty.
Things are looking up now, though. The Browns have played better as of late, winning two in a row, and that's never a bad thing. Plus the ability to land Mike Holmgren as team president has got fans excited – really, really excited. We need to underscore that. That can't be over-emphasized. It's the best thing that has happened to this team since the start of the 2008 training camp and those chants of "Super Bowl! Super Bowl! Super Bowl!" by the fans.
He's a proven winner, so that bodes well in making the fans believe he can make the Browns winners again, too.
That's what everybody wants, and that, among other things, is what you need to know.
Not sure if you've noticed in your recent travels – I'm certain we don't eat at the same restaurants nor shop at the same stores – but after the Browns beat the Pittsburgh Steelers two weeks ago, the pride began to return a little bit and fans started breaking out their team gear. It came out even more after last Sunday's victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Really, Browns gear has been everywhere.
That's an indication the fans haven't given up hope, and they haven't. You need to know that as well.
To be sure, this expansion era has been a nightmare. It's been painful. For a lot of reasons, it's not gone the way everybody hoped – and thought -- it would. A decade is a long, long time to have just two winning seasons and but one playoff appearance.
The reaction of the fans? As you can understand, they've become frustrated, disappointed, angry, irate, disgruntled, despondent, disillusioned and all the rest, but they haven't lost hope.
I can attest to that. I get asked all the time about the Browns, as I'm sure the other media members do who cover the team. The interest is definitely there. The flame hasn't been extinguished. It's been smothered and quelled a little bit, but it still burns. It always will.
More than anything, you need to know that.
These are Browns fans, after all. They're the best. They're tough, persistent, determined and unwavering, just like the community in which we live. They made history when they fought the big boys -- and won -- to get their team back. Nobody else in another town could have done that, or would have done that.
The fans are just waiting for something good to happen, and when it does, they react in grand fashion, as they have done following victories over the Steelers and Chiefs that are, quite frankly, meaningless in the big picture in that this season has already been dead for a long time.
As such, the fans have already started to look ahead to 2010, as I'm sure you have, too. If you can build on the momentum generated by the hiring of Holmgren, then 2010 will start to look a lot more hopeful.
In a lot of ways, after what has gone on this season, 2010 can't come soon enough so that everybody can begin putting 2009 behind them.
But things are never as good as they seem to be, as we all found out in the 2008 season. And likewise, things are never as bad as they seem to be.
So while this season has been horrible, there is the hope – the belief -- especially now with Holmgren here, that things can be turned around sooner rather than later.
This will be a big offseason for the Browns. They've got to get it right and get the ship righted.
You're the guy pulling all the strings, so we're rooting for you, just as we're rooting for Holmgren.
You really do need to know all that, too.
Sometimes, it's hard to sit at the very top and see all the way to the very bottom. There's a lot of distance between the two, just as there's a lot of distance between where the Browns are at now, and where they ultimately want to go.
But things change. And we're all hoping they change here.
It's been too long.
No one knows that more than you.
Let's hope the new year brings new results for this team – for your team, for our team.
Yeah, we mean that. We're all in this together.
Just thought you might want to know.