Well, Cleveland Browns fans, what do you think? On Sunday, the team went out and got themselves a surprise win over the Minnesota Vikings. Everyone, including yours truly, was sure that they would be 0-3 at the end of the day. It was a pretty depressing thought.
More depressing was the question, “Is the team quitting on the season?” The team traded away the only healthy running back it had and announced it was skipping the second-string quarterback for the third-string quarterback to start the game.
So what happened? Only a scoring frenzy that saw them virtually double the points (31) that they had scored in the first two games combined (16). Heck, they outscored the team’s first two games before halftime. Add to that a march downfield to score the winning touchdown with less than a minute remaining.
Not only did the team score on Sunday, but the team did everything it could to score: a fake punt, a fake field goal and an end-around. I’m surprised they didn’t run the fumblerooski. As I said on Sunday, maybe the front office doesn’t care about winning, but the coaching staff obviously does.
After years of watching boring, losing football, how much fun would it be to see this team put together some wins? Especially after feeling the season was lost after just two games? After watching nothing bad awful football since 2007?
Now, stop right there, fans. Are you sure that’s what you want? Yes, in the present it sounds very good, but for the future, the team is going to need that franchise quarterback. And the further they move away from the first pick, the further they get away from that guy.
Don’t give me that stuff about finding one later in the draft, and don’t you dare point to Tom Brady as an example. If it were that easy, the Washington Redskins would have held on to all of those draft picks that they gave up for Robert Griffin III and grabbed someone else.
No, folks, if the team wants to get that guy and if they want him in a draft that is supposed to have two or three of them, they’re going to need to lose, and they’re going to need to lose big.
Maybe you’re wondering, What about Brian Hoyer? Maybe the team can coach him up. Maybe Norv Turner can make him the next Phillip Rivers. But I ask you this: did Turner make Rivers, or did Rivers make Turner? No one can answer that for sure and the truth could lie somewhere in between, but the question remains.
The reality is that the Browns need to lose for its future. But who wants to sit through another horrible season in hopes of the team drafting a franchise guy? What if they don’t? What if, instead of getting a Donovan McNabb, they get an Akili Smith? Maybe if they had a higher pick, they wouldn’t get to take a guy who turns out to be the next JaMarcus Russell? Maybe winning could help them avoid disaster.
So, what do you think, Browns fans? Win now and enjoy the season, or sit through another horribly boring season like the last half a decade? If you pick “win now,” are you going to scream at the front office when they don’t have a franchise QB a year or two down the road? If you pick “lose now,” are you going to be screaming for Mike Lombardi‘s head by the bye week?
If you were running this team, faced with the same professional responsibilities this front office has, what would you do? Do you mortgage the team’s future for immediate gratification? Or do you risk angering season ticket holders and alienating fans by having a sixth consecutive bad season and remaining the laughing stock of the NFL? What would you do? What would you like to see them do?
This, my friends, is the Cleveland Browns fans’ conundrum: win now, or lose now and hope to win later?