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My Solution Best For Everybody: The Los Angeles Browns

I don't know how old you were when Art Modell stunned the city by announcing that he was moving the real Cleveland Browns to Baltimore. Maybe you don't remember. I do. I was old enough. I was in my mid 20s. I was devastated.The whole city was.

The NFL office in New York was crushed with phone calls and faxes. Fans did everything they could to make themselves heard. If you think this city loves the Browns now, you have no idea of the level of mania surrounding the team back in the 80s and early 90s. Browns football was the city's identity, the city's religion.

And that prick took it all away from us. Why? Because he was too awful with his finances to make money with an NFL franchise. He tried to blame the city and then-mayor Mike White, claiming that he had been ignored while the Indians and Cavaliers got new facilities. That was a lie. Turns out that he didn't want to be a part of the Gateway project.

The decent thing would have been to sell the team. But Art Modell wouldn't do it, claiming that he wanted to keep the team in his family. But what he wanted was the money that the city of Baltimore was ready to throw at him.

The fans here did everything they could to keep him from getting away with stealing their team. But in the end they were helpless. If the NFL stepped in and stopped him, they would have lost their anti-trust status. So Art Modell got what he wanted: The team and the money.

It wouldn't be long before he would lose both.

I hate that man. He's dead and I've grown old enough to know that sports, in the big scheme of things, is not all that important. I don't care. I hate him for moving that team.

All that ruckus the fans raised got us back a team, but faster than we should have. Nothing was in place. It was a mess from the beginning.

And as you can see, it still is.

Al Lerner owned the new Browns. He died and his son Randy took over as owner. It was too much for him and so he sold it to the current owner, Jimmy Haslam. Things were supposed to be different. They're not.

In the time between that Browns organization moving to Baltimore and this Browns organization returning in 1999, I learned to get on with life. I didn't cheer for another team. I actually stopped watching football. Turns out, I was fine. It really didn't bother me at all.

And after 16.25 seasons, I wish I could go back to that. But as long as there's a team playing on the lakefront, I just can't. So my solution is simple: Take this team and move it to Los Angeles.


The NFL would desperately love to put a team in the country's second largest market. The fans in Oakland, San Diego, and St. Louis, whose owners have expressed interest in filling that void, would be spared. And, best of all, I wouldn't have to watch this debacle that repeats itself season after season. The changes in Cleveland have been well-documented. The only consistency this team has is losing.

In the 1980s, we had legendary heartbreakers: Red Right 88, The Drive, and The Fumble. Those were all playoff loses.

The only heartbreakers now are Dwayne Rudd taking off his helmet prematurely and costing the team a win, and that offsides penalty on Sunday that cost the team a tie.

Who needs it? Who needs to watch the losing? Who needs to have people laughing at us every year? Who needs to watch the team misuse draft picks and spend money on defensive players that never work out?

Not me.

I want this team to turn it around. The NFL is designed to allow teams to do that and do it quickly. But this team can't. For whatever reason, losing our franchise to Baltimore just wasn't enough to appease the sports gods who apparently hate this city and this fan base.

Will it ever stop? The odds say yes. The results of 16 years of really bad football say no. Short of a miracle, this team will now play 8 straight seasons of sub-.500 football. The last time the Browns finished consecutive seasons with a winning record was 1988-1989. 22 seasons they've played since then, not counting this one. (Go ahead and count it as number 23 because it's not going to happen)

So please, Jimmy Haslam, Roger Goodell, Eric Garcetti. Get this team out of here. Rename them. Change their colors. I want my Sundays back. I want my sanity back. These aren't the Browns. These are imposters. Get rid of them.

You'll be doing us all a favor.


  
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About Rich Primo

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