I trimmed my beard Monday morning. Now, this is not a big deal in and of itself. I have always kept my beard pretty closely trimmed. However, a few weeks ago I decided to quietly have some “fun” and let my beard grow until the Cleveland Browns won a game.
I knew this was dangerous. Betting anything, no matter how playful and “fun”, on the Browns winning a game is a losing proposition. The Browns had a tough start to their schedule, too. So I knew this could force me to go quite some time without shaving my beard. I was fine with all of this. I fully expected the Browns to be 0-2 at this point in the season and I figured my beard would still be growing.
So why did I trim it? Because after the week we just experienced, I decided I’m done trying to have fun with this team. It’s not the losing. As I just mentioned, I expected the losing. No, it’s the how more than the what. It’s the fact that this team continues to find ways to lose that blow your mind and exceed expectations in ineptitude. It’s the ever-growing pile of fodder for jokes.
Plenty of teams lose, but nobody consistently loses in a spectacular fashion quite like our Browns. I’m still a fan, I still want the team to win, I’m still going to be in the stadium rooting my heart out for them on Thursday night. I just don’t want to do anything conditional involving this team anymore.
The Josh Gordon situation sure didn’t help things, either. I’ve always been a huge Josh Gordon fan and had been holding out hope eternally that he would get things together and be a productive member of the Cleveland Browns. Watching him play WR has been such a thrill, the rare times we got to see it. I just wish those times happened with more frequency. The combination of size, strength, speed, and skill was unparalleled and mesmerizing. In many ways, Josh Gordon represented the untapped potential of the Cleveland Browns in general.
In that way, I suppose it was fitting that his final game with the Browns came in a tie against the Pittsburgh Steelers. His performance in that game equally summed up his career. One catch for 17 yards and a touchdown.
That one catch, though, was a sensational grab that probably only a handful of receivers in the league would bring down. It was an amazing flash of pure talent that overshadowed an otherwise lackluster performance. It was a catch that secured a tie for the Browns. Not a win, not a loss, but a tie. Forever in stasis. So much potential, but going nowhere. Forever the Cleveland Browns.
I’m sure somewhere we’re supposed to be encouraged. They had every chance to beat the Steelers at home. They went into the dome in New Orleans and kept Drew Brees mostly contained. “Hey, if the Browns had a kicker, they’d be 2-0!” Maybe. But as Dwight Schrute once so eloquently put it, “If onlys and justs were candies and nuts, then every day would be Erntedankfest.” Well, I’m here to tell you that today is not Erntedankfest1 and the Browns are 0-1-1.
At some point, all of this potential needs to turn into something tangible. Namely, a win. I’ll feel good when this team wins. Until that happens, though, I’m going to keep being miserable and frustrated with this team. And, above all else, I’m going to keep trimming my beard.