In the case of the Cleveland Browns, it may not be too hard to imagine this headline and excerpt from the future.
“Home Sweet Home : Browns Win Super Bowl L, 38-24 Over Packers
In the end. Cleveland Browns 2015-16 NFL MVP quarterback Brandon Weeden was too much for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl L, as the Browns would win their first-ever Super Bowl and ninth NFL championship overall.
Behind the 33-year old Weeden and his Super Bowl record 448 yards passing, four touchdown passes and Pro Bowl wide receiver, Mohamed Massaqoui‘s Super Bowl record 214 yards receiving and two touchdown catches, Cleveland would become the first NFL team to win a Super Bowl in its home stadium, 38-24 over Green Bay.
In front of a crowd of 78,000-plus at Pilot Field, The Browns would establish their NFL-record setting passing game early –February 7, 2016 : Super Bowl L”
While this is not set in present-day 2012, future Browns owner, Jimmy Haslam III took a big step forward in changing the landscape of Cleveland sports.
According to multiple media reports, Haslam III met with the City Of Cleveland about the possibility of adding a retractable roof to the 13-year old city-owned Cleveland Browns Stadium.
This is not the first time that “Cleveland Browns” and “domed stadium/retractable roof” have been mentioned before in the same sentence.
To many Browns fans—who are renowned for their die-hard loyalty and heartiness—the mere thought of a domed stadium is an insult, as many feel that a domed stadium is not “real” football and is played in the elements.
With due respect to my fellow Browns fans, but it is time to get with the program and move into the 21st century of NFL football.
Cleveland, for all of its great weather in late August and mid-September is great for football and passing offenses, but come early October through January, it is the graveyard for where NFL quarterbacks go to do die, as trying to throw a 60-yard pass in the cold and swirling vacuum—and lake effect snow machine—that is Lake Erie is about as easy as crossing Siberia.
Just ask Colt McCoy.
The point is this. Cleveland Browns Stadium is a wonderful state-of-the-art NFL stadium with immaculate sightlines and unobstructed views of the playing field, but in its current state, it is not being used to its full potential.
Consider this, other than the eight regular-season home games that the Browns play in it along with the occasional Ohio State Buckeye football game, “CBS”—as it is called by the locals—is a gargantuan waste of space and missed opportunities to bring the hard-luck sports-tortured and championship-starved city of Cleveland some much needed revenue.
Why a retractable roof makes sense is that :
A.) it would help retain the open-air tradition of outdoor tough football that fellow Dawg Pounders love and crave, and come winter, it could be closed so that the weather does not play a factor on offense and in the passing game for the Browns.
B.) Can you imagine how much money events such as the NCAA Final Four and/or Super Bowl would bring into Cleveland?
Browns fans need to look no further than 169 miles northwest across Lake Erie towards Detroit to seek the answer, as the “Motor City” hosted Super Bowl XL in 2005 and the NCAA Final Four in 2009.
And last time I check, money talks.
Money speaks loudly and VERY clearly in terms of visitors from around the world spending their hard-earned money in the Gateway and Warehouse Districts, gamble in the newly-opened Horseshoe Casino, dine in local restaurants, sleep in Cleveland-area hotels and buy merchandise from local vendors.
And the kicker is, Cleveland will get a lot of “face time” and positive attention for once, instead of the negative public perception of always coming up short—or cursed—and being bitter when star athletes leave town.
So for all the fans that say that real football is played outdoors and in the elements, give me a renovated 78,000-plus Cleveland Browns Stadium—or Pilot Field—some newly-installed “Field Turf” and some modern updates to the Browns already-classic uniforms and I am all set.
Time to embrace the future of NFL football, Cleveland.
Robert D. Cobb is the NBA Network Manager for Rant Media Network, Featured Writer of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Featured Columnist for the Cleveland Browns and Arsenal Gunners.
In addition to covering the NBA, I also cover MLB, NFL, NHL and Champions League soccer news, rumors and opinions, please follow me on Twitter at @RobertCobb_76