This reflection was originally posted on November 30, 2015.
As any Browns fan would be, I am celebrating tonight’s triumphant return of Monday Night Football to Cleveland for the first time in six years by creating a uniquely Cleveland viewing experience: I am going to watch the game in a dimly lit exercise room in the basement of my apartment building, taking all of my visceral anger out on an elliptical machine, with a bag of day-old bagels for a prime snacking experience.
The Browns have lost 181 games since returning to the league in 1999, 24 of them to the Ravens—including a 16-0 shutout the last time Monday Night Football was in Cleveland. They have allowed 500 rushing yards to a single person in a two-game series with the Ravens, and then signed that same person and watched him average 70 yards per game over 40 games. Said running back is still the Browns’ leading rusher since 1999, and nobody is within 700 yards of him. (You can do the math.) A running back the Browns cut in training camp two years ago averaged 90 yards from scrimmage per game this year before getting injured.
The Browns are 2-8 this season. They’ve had 15 days to prepare for this game and their opponent has no skill players. Their chances of winning are pegged close to 50-50. After all, it wouldn’t be a Cleveland sports team if there weren’t some glimmer of hope given first.
Josh McCown: I hope you do well. I want you to succeed. But know that we’re already looking at the draft, and you’re in an impossible position. Whether or not tonight is loss #182, nobody likes you when you’re [starting quarterback #]23. Godspeed.