The Cleveland Browns opened the 2015 season on Sunday with a 31-10 debacle on the road to the New York Jets. Even with a pair of high-powered binoculars, a magnifying glass, and an electron microscope, it was unlikely anyone would discover any evidence of a winning football team. The Browns lacked hope, pride, and apparent interest on Sunday. Also notably absent was general manager Ray Farmer, who began a four-week suspension for texting the sidelines during games in the 2014 season, a violation of the NFL’s electronic device policy.
The suspension forbids general manager Farmer from not only attending games, but also interacting with the coaches and visiting the team’s practice facilities in Berea — the result of a total misunderstanding of the concept of “punishment.” Farmer has since made comments taking ownership of his actions and accepting his suspension. Whether Farmer takes similar responsibility for the team he assembled remains to be seen.
Due to Farmer’s bizarro-world anti-punishment,1 no insights will be gleaned from Farmer on the podium this week, where he would undoubtedly be pestered by a Cleveland media sick with concern over their Browns. But due to to a rare and fortunate (for us fans, and in this solitary instance) gift exclusively bestowed upon Cleveland Browns employees, Farmer immediately forgot the mistakes leading to his predicament, and continued his frivolous and compulsive texting during Browns loss to the Jets on Sunday. Waiting for Next Year obtained Farmer’s texts from various sources,2 and is sharing them with you now not out of journalistic integrity or the desire to get Farmer suspended for the rest of the season,3 but for your personal amusement.
Farmer’s texts reveal a feckless goofball not unlike your roommate in college who would eat Cheez Whiz straight out of the can, a man that stands in stark contrast to his stern and bookish public persona. Some would say this provides profound insight into our dual natures: that of the public representative we present to the public and that of our truer, more authentic selves which leaks out in personal interactions. Others may say the texts more accurately reflect the thoughts and feelings of the blog contributor who made them up and not Ray Farmer. I’d say it’s open to interpretation.
Sunday, 12:45 p.m. ET, the Cleveland Browns are set to kick off to the New York Jets in less than thirty minutes.
After kicking off to start the game, the Browns force a Jets punt after they convert one first down.
The Browns offense is surprisingly effective on the first drive, converting multiple (!) third downs, and moving the ball into the red zone. In the midst of a 19-play drive, Ray Farmer decides to mock former Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. The drive ends with zero points when quarterback Josh McCown fumbles the ball helicopter-ing into the end zone.
Josh McCown leaves the game with an apparent concussion after fumbling on his dive toward the end zone. Johnny Manziel enters the game and throws a touchdown pass to Travis Benjamin on the first drive, the first of his career. The Browns kick a 45-yard extra point after a penalty on the first two attempts. Former Browns general manager Tom Heckert takes the opportunity to gloat, having been responsible for the Browns drafting Travis Benjamin the 2012 draft.
The Browns enter halftime trailing the Jets 14-10. Farmer takes the break in the action to text his wife Vernet.
The second half of the Browns game rapidly devolved into bad comedy. The offense was ineffective and turnover-prone, Manziel was unable to make rapid decisions or stay in the pocket, the running game was nonexistent, and the defense permitted Ryan Fitzpatrick to move the ball at will. Ray Farmer’s texts manifest his frustration and disgust with the team he had worked so hard to put together.
Waiting For Next Year may have more texts from Ray Farmer from this Sunday’s Browns opener against the Tennessee Titans, perhaps of a more positive tenor. That will depend on the Browns quality of play, and whether the author of this post buys lunch at Lola for a certain employee at a certain nondescript telecom building in downtown Cleveland that is definitely not a repository for information collected as part of a government surveillance dragnet.
But in any event, many Browns fans will be in attendance on Sunday in what is sure to be another uplifting performance while Ray Farmer will be at home or golfing.