End of the Scheiner/Banner era.
Okay. You’re a trust fund billionaire and daddy played for a national championship football team. You love football but you don’t live it day-to-day like you do the truck stop/convenience store/bankruptcy dumpster-diving acquisition game. No. Your mastery of the highly-nuanced volume based pricing/rebate business model only goes so far and may or may not translate to successful ownership of your new NFL franchise. You don’t want to fuck up because ego and also, after all, you just paid a billion dollars for your new toy.
You need a team of Respected Football Men1 to guide you. At the annual Palm Beach-Scottsdale-Boca Bilderberg-esque NFL owners meeting, you present financial statements as well as your concerns. No problem says the clique of like trust-funded gents, we know some guys in our network. We’ll hook you up.
“Howsabout Joe Banner and Alec Scheiner?” they say.
You say, “Oh-kay. Thanks. See you in Hawaii for the ProBowl… lol, ProBowl. You guys are the best. Welcome mat’s always out for you at Sankaty Head. Call ahead and I’ll have the slip ready for your yachts… sails only… keep your gauche motorboat out at the Vineyard, Shahid.. hahahah.. Cool, talk later.” You leave the paneled boardroom.
Door shuts behind you. You hear the room erupt in laughter as you walk down the hall, but you write it off because Mike Brown with his ‘monkey walks into bar’ joke repertoire has been killing all weekend.
Yep, you’re feeling good because if you can’t trust other NFL owners to recommend to you the absolute bestest execs to get your franchise headed in the right direction, who can you trust?
First rule of NFL Owners’ meetings: If you can’t spot the sucker in your first half hour at the table, then you are the sucker.
Oh. My. God. That is our putz owner three years ago.
And after a 14-24 record, three coaches, three GMs, five bust first found picks, and Dwayne Bowe it took your fucking wife who cut her teeth on animated children’s books and Tri-Delt community service to alert you to the possibility that perhaps that nice Steve Bisciotti might not have the Cleveland Browns’ best interests at heart and maybe there was a reason Jeff Lurie didn’t offer a recommendation on Joe Banner and Bob Kraft doesn’t just sound drunk but IS drunk and that probably, maybe, no… with 100% certainty Jerry Jones would still have the world’s largest scoreboard even if Alec Scheiner was still crashing Sloan Conference Happy Hours on Boylston Street.
If only Johnny Football had been texting your wife and not Dowell Loggains, you think.
That explains the stems and seeds in the film room after the Scheiner-Farmer MMQB sessions, you think.
Danny Shelton wearing pajama bottoms to the draft wasn’t just an endearing idiosyncrasy, wasn’t just ‘the price of talent,’ you think.
Cam Erving, you think, and you just shake your head and re-focus on things that matter.
Do we need to take inventory of the inestimable damage done the beloved home team of millions? The goodwill pissed away thanks to the advice of castoff executives from Philly and Dallas? We probably should but not too much because it is a bore. The interesting aspect is that hapless football performance is actually the least of the problems. The Panthers last year demonstrated (and the Raiders next year will demonstrate) that the football part can be turned around. Can be regained.
What cannot be reclaimed is this.
No not Jim Brown. You were bequeathed the history, the soul, the essence of the Cleveland Browns. It is a history that Tampa and Jacksonville and Tennessee would pay any price for but can never have. Jimmah, do you remember asking Alec why Green Bay hasn’t changed their uniforms and he and his Nike ‘consultants’ smirked at you. SMIRKED! “They’re rubes… we need colors to pop and an edgy look for the kids,” he said. “Just look at the analytics from our focus groups. Don’t you worry about the 100% of fans in Cleveland who love the old uniforms…we’ll pay off a couple radio types to call them ‘get off my lawn’ types and they’ll shut up. And don’t worry about the cost, Cleveland radio types will pretty much say or do anything if you tempt them with on-field access to the Berea camp in July. Also, I have MBA.”
And this is what Nike sold us.
We actually bought that color scheme and redesign and thereby actually forced our fans to buy them trading on their pathetic irrational primitive Cleveland tribalism.
You wonder if Alec’s next stop will be in Beaverton.
Speaking of for the kids… Alec went all in locking down the five-year-old market segment.
Actually, when you look at the accomplishments Banner/Scheiner era it’s clear that everything has been form over substance.
Well Jimmah, not gonna sugar coat it: you’ve been the absolute worst owner in the NFL and probably all pro sports so far. You were bequeathed a franchise with the most passionate pro football fans there are2 and you went off with your consultants and MBAs and did your best to make the Browns into the Atlanta Fucking Falcons. If it took your hard charging ‘business woman’ wife to suss out the weak organization and lack of leadership and misplaced priorities that even some guy in New Hampshire can see… well good.
And don’t worry about your wife coming under any kind of scrutiny because no matter how many mascots you trot out, no matter how you tweak the ‘wordmark’ on your pant legs, no matter whether you get a skinny defensive lineman or a morbidly-obese nose tackle with your top ten pick… not to worry… I’m sure you can count on the customary insightful critical analysis from the heirs to the legacies of Chuck Heaton and Hal Lebovitz. Haha, just kidding. Nah, you’re in good hands — and they know a thing or two about squandering bequeathed goodwill and bar-lowering.
But I gotta tell ya: you have made me miss Art Modell and I don’t mean the 1964-era, bon-vivant, scotches-all-around-at-The-Theatrical-on-Short-Vincent Art Modell. I mean the 1995-vintage, loans-in-his-wife’s-name-to-pay-Andre-Rison Art Modell.
No small feat there Jimmah. So get your shit together — the bar cannot be any lower.