September 24, 2017
We see a humble tailgate in Indianapolis, Indiana. Children excitedly throw a football back and forth, but the adults are weary. They mechanically grill burgers and brats, occasionally glancing at the nearby football stadium with apprehension. The fans wear team colors, but their faces show no joy for they know that their beloved Colts stand no chance this day regardless of whom they are playing. The club’s struggles are great and their deficiencies many. Suddenly a brown and orange caravan rolls up to the center of the parking lot. It comes to a stop and large banners unfurl: “Come see the Cleveland Browns!” and “An NFL Elixir! The Cure for What Ails You!”
A 63-year-old Salesman with white hair and a smile exits the vehicle and steps onto a raised platform.
“Step right up ladies and gentlemen! Step right up! For we have a treat for you today, we certainly do. Have you had trouble with your offensive line? Is your vertical passing game leaving you in tears? No more! Those troubles are things of the past with new and improved Cleveland Browns Football!”
He holds up an orange, logo-less football helmet and continues as the crowd gathers around him.
“Tell me if this sounds familiar. You’re watching your team play Los Angeles or Arizona, but you just can’t get anything going offensively. First you manage only nine points then 13 a week later. But with just one dose of Cleveland Browns Football you too will be scoring 31 points for the first time in five games! Not only that, you will pass for a touchdown for the first time all season.”
The Salesman wears a gaudy orange suit with a brown tie. A top hat adorns his head and he spins a flashy cane as he struts and frets about the stage. A dubious Colts fan speaks up.
“Oh yeah? Well what about our defense? What can the Browns do for them?”
The old man’s eyes glint as he launches into his next sales pitch.
“That is a supreme question, young man! Supreme! What about the defense? Well how would you feel about two interceptions?”
The crowd lightly murmurs at this question.
“Not good enough for you, eh? Well then how about a third interception on the final play of the game to secure your team the victory?”
At this there is a smattering of applause in the crowd.
“Now we’re talking. That’s the Cleveland Browns Football guarantee – A Cure for What Ails You.”
As the crowd starts to warm to this stranger a dissenting voice calls out.
“Wait a second! This sounds too good to be true. What’s the catch, old man?”
The Salesman does not flinch at this accusation. He is used to it.
“That’s a fine question. What do we have to gain? What does it benefit me to engineer Cleveland Browns Football as a cure for the NFL’s ills while simultaneously providing neither benefit nor joy to northeast Ohio? Well, the simple honest to goodness fact is that I take great pride in what we do. I give my apothecary free reign to dispose of this Elixir as they see fit every few years and brew up a new one. Somehow, no matter which brewmasters I employ and which ingredients they use the result is always the same: You fine people benefit on Sundays. So why am I here telling you that Cleveland Browns Football will delight the fine people of Indianapolis? Because I get paid either way.”
Some in the crowd are moved to tears at the Salesman’s honesty and bravery.
“Now then, it is almost game time, and I know that you all want to get inside to see your victory. Step right up and get yourself a vial of Cleveland Browns Football: Your boys will run faster, jump higher, hit harder, and deliver to you a delightful afternoon. Not to mention the first Colts win of the season. Providing teams their first win of the season is our specialty.”
Blue and White clad fans storm the platform, each of them happily paying to see the wonders of Cleveland Browns Football, knowing full well that their ills will be cured and their ails balmed. With kickoff moments away the mysterious white-haired man pulls up the doors and packs up the caravan. He smiles, content with the good he is doing for the League. The same scene will play out all autumn long in Houston, Detroit, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. The Salesman knows they will all be delighted to see him, and he will receive a royal welcome in the Steel City.