The Cleveland Browns’ new TV show “Road Tested” premiered last night on the Travel Channel and I have no idea if it was a good show or not. I know for a fact that I was riveted and couldn’t take my eyes off of it, but in terms of targeted programming there are very few programs that could be targeted any better toward me as a viewer. I’m left mostly thinking the show has potential, but needs to reign in its chaos just a little bit.
In fairness to the pilot episode of “Road Tested” there was a whole lot of ground to cover. In its inaugural episode the producers apparently wanted to introduce the audience to the Cleveland Browns and catch them up to the ownership change and where they are as a team today. The show is meant to give an inside look into preparing for a game and all the things that go on during the week. By nature that process is multi-faceted and chaotic, especially when the grounds crew is faced with hurricane Sandy remnants in field preparation.
Phil Dawson got tons of time in the first episode. We got an inside look on what it takes to prepare a kicking ball. We saw the world’s biggest shoe closet with various planting shoes and kicking shoes. We got an inside look at a couple of Texas families at a steakhouse when the Dawson’s and their kids went out with Colt McCoy and his wife. More on Dawson later.
I won’t recap the whole show, but overall I loved a lot of it. The emotional mid-field meeting between Bernie Kosar and a family that lost their son in the military was particularly moving. For all the flack Bernie takes for running one of the most unintelligible Twitter accounts on the Internet, it’s helpful to be reminded why Clevelanders love the former QB. He’s a big, compassionate guy who wears his heart on his sleeve and is eager to be a great ambassador. The show followed the storyline of Ravens week with a segment on the game and tying up the Dawson storyline with his five field goals in the loss.
As much as I loved the show, I felt it was just a little bit chaotic and unfocused. That leads me to wonder how the show played for NFL fans that are not Browns fans. This first episode had so many things packed in that I am not sure if any parts of it ended up being memorable to more casual fans. Then again, it was just the first episode. There’s certainly time to cover ground in a more methodical and cohesive way now that the groundwork has been laid. Even with some of the issues, I think the show is a big win for the team.
This show is going to humanize the Cleveland Browns and give them the kind of P.R. fluff that they haven’t been able to give themselves since 1999. I use fluff not in a negative way, by the way. We don’t want fluff in Pat Shurmur press conferences, but a produced TV show about the team? The more fluff the better.
For Browns fans this show should feel like a giant step forward or even an enlightening for an organization that is coming off of an owner who couldn’t be bothered to give an interview on an annual basis. It’s absolutely great for Browns fans and hopefully serve as a stepping off point for this team to regain some cultural relevance they’ve lost with all the losing over the years.
If they can just start winning on the field that will obviously help too. In the meantime, there’s nothing wrong with winning in P.R. and media. Can’t wait to see what they do next week with the Browns on the road to visit New Jersey.