BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – The Cavaliers are NBA Champions, the Indians have a 1-0 lead on Boston in the American League Division Series, and then there are the winless Browns.
Since arriving in January, Browns head coach Hue Jackson has enjoyed rooting for the other 2 teams in town while being aware that his football team is bringing up the rear in the Cleveland sports scene.
He hopes that changes soon.
“It’s exciting and some day we hope to give our fans something to scream about too,” Jackson said. “It was awesome to watch the Cavs do what they did. It’s exciting watching the Indians do what they’re doing right now. I wish coach Francona nothing but the best and he knows that. I got to meet him personally and think the world of him.
“I’m pulling for them all the way.”
For Jackson, being the head coach of the Browns is about more than just his team. He’s made an effort to invest emotionally in the city and with fans. He was a regular at The Q during the Cavs championship run and if it weren’t for football season, he’d be at Progressive Field too.
“I am interested in more than just what we do,” Jackson said. “I’m interested in what everybody does and I have a real appreciation for our fans and for the city and what we’re trying to accomplish here.
“I know right now, it looks like we’re a ways off but I promise you we’re going to get there. I truly believe that.”
Since 1999 the Browns have amassed the league’s worst record at 87-189 while the Cavs have been to the NBA playoffs 7 times, reaching The Finals 3 times with 1 championship, and the Indians have won 4 division titles and played 5 times in the post season over the same span.
While this year’s Browns team is young, they continue to lose in the same fashion the franchise has consistently lost over the last 18 years – by blowing each of the last 3 games late with critical mistakes. Many fans are skeptical as to whether or not Jackson will even survive long enough to get a chance to turn the Browns around, but he made it clear Friday he’s in it for the long haul.
“I don’t want people to think I’m here for a cup of coffee,” Jackson said. “I plan on being here for a long time, contrary to what everybody thinks, I will be here a long time.”
While the Indians battle the Red Sox in the ALDS, the Browns will host the Patriots Sunday afternoon in a game marked by the return of quarterback Tom Brady from his 4-game ‘deflategate’ suspension. It’ll also be a reminder of what Browns fans wish they actually had to root for.
To put the Browns’ expansion-era futility in perspective, the Patriots have won 88 games since 2009 alone. Bill Belichick went 5-11 in his first season in 2001 in New England and not had a losing season since. They have set the standard, not just for the Browns but for the entire NFL. A standard that Jackson is anxious to meet.
“We all are envious of what they have. I know I am,” Jackson said. “I want our organization to model that someday. That is what we are chasing. That is why we do what we do. I’m not speaking for the other 31 teams, but I know that is why I’m doing what I’m doing. Someday I hope to have a relationship like that with our quarterback and have our organization hoist that trophy someday.
“Truly, that is what it’s all about, but they have done it as well as anybody in the National Football League.”
Thankfully for fans, they have the Cavs and Indians to keep them distracted and happy.