If you’re a Cleveland sports fan and have been listening to the radio for the past few months, you’ve no doubt heard what has become an endless debate; who should start at quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel?
Hoyer, as you may recall, supplanted the atrocious Brandon Weeden last year, quickly leading the team to two straight victories before tearing his ACL and missing the rest of the season. For a quick second, he had the entire Cleveland area ready to believe in football again. Now, he’s back and vying to win the starting position taken from him last season.
Manziel, on the other hand, is the Browns flashy new rookie, known as much for his on-field improvisation as he is for his off-field antics. However, his mere selection in the latest NFL Draft had Cleveland fans bursting with excitement over the idea of his charisma and talent helping lead the Browns to contention.
It’s certainly the biggest story-line for the team, one which appears to have divided the fan-base. Some believe Hoyer deserves to start based on what he showed in his limited time last year; accuracy, leadership and an ability to win. Others want to see Johnny Football end the long list of failed QBs who’ve donned the orange and brown.
Apparently, you need to pick a side. Do you want the gritty vet in Hoyer, or the exciting potential of Manziel?
Or, you could take my approach. You know who I think the fans need to root for in this latest Cleveland quarterback competition? How about the guy who gives the team the best chance to win?
Crazy concept, I know. Yet, you’d be surprised how little you hear it between debating fans. It’s either 100% Hoyer or Manziel, there’s no middle ground. Everybody seems to have a guy in mind for who they want starting in Week 1, and if the Browns start the other player, well they’re just going to lose.
Why are Browns fans getting so entrenched in picking a side here? In the long run, does it matter whose name is called to lead the team at the start of the season, provided he earned the job? If Hoyer proves he can put points on the board while Manziel shows he still has some learning to do, will some Cleveland supporters be upset? What if Manziel takes a huge leap during the preseason and just plain outperforms Hoyer? Will supporters of the vet claim the Browns are doomed because Manziel doesn’t have Hoyer’s — very limited — experience?
Personally, I refuse to pick a side, and if you’re a true Browns fan, you shouldn’t either. Because, in the end, the guy who wins the job deserves to start, regardless of who’s the fan favorite.
Cleveland fans aren’t privileged enough to be picky here. They haven’t seen a true winner at QB since the 80’s. Anyone who’s watched the Browns trip over themselves for 12 of the last 14 years should hardly be siding with either Hoyer or Manziel so emphatically they’d get upset if the guy they want loses the job.
If Hoyer shows the world last year’s brief appearance was no fluke, fine, start him. If he struggles while Manziel looks like a phenom, great, give him the spot. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. The “support the name on the front of the jersey, not the back” thing may be a tired sports cliche, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
As a longtime Browns fan, I’m tired of losing, and I want the guy who gives the team the best chance to win to be given the starting position. And if you’re a true Cleveland fan, you should, too.