Happy New Year, the Browns stink: While We’re Waiting


Happy Tuesday, WFNY!

And Happy New Year to you all as well!

Here we are. 2018 has arrived. I liked 2017. I thought 2017 was pretty decent. It wasn’t as good as 2016, though. I know, everyone hated 2016. But 2016 was the year the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Championship, so it will always be a great year in my mind.

2017 as a sports year gave us hope and reasons to believe, but ultimately fell short in every way. The Cavaliers failed to defend their title, the Indians didn’t make it back to the World Series, and most surprising of all, the Browns somehow managed to be worse than the 1-15 team we watched in 2016.

So, now we begin 2018 in a world in which the Cleveland Browns have joined the Detroit Lions as the only teams in NFL history to go 0-16 in a season. Super. Misery loves company and today Lions fans can feel a little less lonely in their infamy.

But hey, 2018 can only be better for the Browns, right? I mean, I know for a fact their record will not be worse next year (or, I guess, it’s this year now, isn’t it?), and I’ve never been able to say that before. The Browns have the 1st and 4th overall picks in the draft. With a horde of cap space to spend and tons of draft picks, this could honestly be a formative year for a successful rebuild.

Of course, we’ve heard all this before. From another point of view, the Browns have somehow unfathomably decided that at 1-31, Hue Jackson is worthy of returning for another season. Jimmy Haslam is still the team’s owner. I’ve seen absolutely nothing from either of those men to tell me they deserve my benefit of the doubt that they can be responsible for success in their respective positions.

I admire all of my Browns-fan friends who continue to cling to hope and optimism, I really do. But I feel none of it. I fully expect whichever QB the Browns inevitably take with the first pick to struggle and for one of the QBs taken later to thrive. And then a few years from now we’ll all look back and say “Man, if only the Browns had taken that other guy. I can’t believe they screwed that pick up.”

But you know what? I barely even care anymore. I didn’t watch the Browns game on Sunday. I’ve only watched one game in the last two months. I probably won’t watch more than two or three games next year. I bring this up not to be a downer, but merely to point out that as I’m now halfway through this WWW, I realize I’m so sick of talking about this franchise and can’t believe I’m doing it now.

I’ve had a great holiday break from work and I don’t feel like spending this time in the waning hours of my vacation talking about the Browns. But I don’t know what else to talk about. Isaiah Thomas’ return to the Cavaliers is definitely exciting, but I don’t have much to say about it right now other than pointing out that we shouldn’t rush to judge. It’s going to take a while for the Cavaliers to build chemistry on the court with him. Until we see him play, though, I just don’t see the value in speculating. If he’s healthy, I think he’s going to make the Cavaliers significantly better. I know, what a hot take!

I could talk about Ohio State football, I suppose. It was certainly fun watching the Buckeyes finally win one against USC. No, I do not care about Denzel Ward sitting out. Now that the playoff system is fully in swing, the tradition of Bowl Games is completely thrown out. That game was little more than a glorified exhibition game. If Ward wants to sit out and protect his future, so be it. I’d rather let Jeffrey Okudah get some playing time to develop anyway. And it was certainly bittersweet to watch JT Barrett’s final game with the Buckeyes. It was a fitting end to a legendary career. I know many prefer to focus on the things JT didn’t do well, but I prefer focusing on the things he excelled at. He was a great leader and he accomplished so much in his four years at OSU. I, for one, will certainly miss him.

And that’s about all the sports I have in me today. In other random thoughts:

  • I saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi over my holiday break. I absolutely loved it. It’s in my personal top three Star Wars movies for sure (somewhere with The Empire Strikes Back and Rogue One). It was funny reading some of the issues people supposedly had with the movie. So many of their issues were the very things I loved about the movie.
  • I also decided to go back and watch all the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I had only previously seen Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and Captain America, so I had a lot of catching up to do. Most of it has been as great as people say, but I do have a couple general thoughts. Ant-Man really surprised me the most. I thought it was so good. Ant-Man may not be an iconic comic hero, but Paul Rudd really gave the character a lot of spirit and life. Captain America: Civil War was incredible. It felt more like an Avengers movie, really, but it was so, so good. The action sequences were amazing and I like things that show the struggles that go with being a superhero. I think my favorite movie, though, might have been Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The first one was great, but I thought the second one was an absolute masterpiece. It was entertaining and funny, it hit on all the right emotional points, and stylistically it was beautiful to look at and it sounded great as well with a killer soundtrack. I know this is all old news to many, but as someone just now finally getting around to watching all these movies, I was really blown away by Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 the most.
  • Over the last several years, I have become less and less of a movie person. I don’t enjoy the experience of seeing movies in the theater, for the most part. But beyond the issues of comfort and convenience, I just like the way stories are able to be told over the course of several seasons in a TV series. So I’ve spent most of my viewing time on TV shows the last couple years. But watching so many movies the last couple weeks, I realized that there is still real value in the disposable time commitment of movies. I liked that I could just spend one and a half to two hours on a movie and then move on with my day. There’s something to be said for that, and I have taken that for granted.

Anyway, that’s really all I have today. Here’s to a great 2018 for everyone, even the Cleveland Browns.