The Cleveland Browns stink.
The Cleveland Browns have stunk for decades.
The safe bet — and why would you think anything else — is that the Cleveland Browns will stink into the future.
Think about this one…
Since the Browns came back as a franchise in 1999, they have had double-digit loss seasons 14 times in 18 tries. You would think they could win more — if even by accident. Imagine rooting for them.
What a futile and ineffective endeavor.
Wile E. Coyote might have a better success rate against the Road Runner than the Browns have against the rest of the National Football League.
Nonetheless, as a Pittsburgher, I have to admit that I am a little torn here as the Steelers get set to open the season in Cleveland against the woebegone and anguished Browns who are without their top draft pick and probably best defensive player and will also throw a rookie quarterback to the wolves.
Here is the quandary…
I think I might want the Browns to get better. Again, I’m on the fence, but it would at least create some buzz for these games against the Steelers’ most logical rival, a franchise that is just that short drive away. I mean, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger — an Ohio native — has had absolutely no trouble with the Browns as he looks to improve his record to 21-2 against the club this weekend.
All of the storylines, every single point of interest for this game, kind of revolves around the Steelers for me. There is little (really not any at all) hope that Cleveland will actually win this game against the Steelers, thus what I want to see is how Bell will run the ball, how the secondary will perform, how Vince Williams takes to his new role and the other familiar narratives people have been paying attention to throughout camp.
Again, I’m not in the least concerned with the outcome as Pittsburgh will win; I’ll watch the game and only pay attention to how the Steelers will perform at a few spots.
So it is with all of this that it might be in the best interest of Pittsburghers that the Browns — who were 1-15 last season and are 4-28 the past two years — start beating all the teams not named the Pittsburgh Steelers.
You see what I’m getting at here?
At least it would make this back into a rivalry again, the way the Turnpike Rivalry really was for small spans of time in the 1970s and 80s. Instead, as it is now, many Pittsburgh fans view this game against the Browns as a fifth preseason game and a tune-up for the real season, which will get underway at home against the Vikings next week.
I’d love to pay more attention to the Browns; I’d love to get more up for this actual opponent here — but that franchise has given me no reason whatsoever.
So I’ve got two ways to go with it and I can’t decide which one to take.
There is the part of me who wants to see the Browns get better and start to be more competitive so this can actually be fun, so Pittsburgh and Cleveland can truly give us something to pay attention to on the field.
But there is the other part of me. And maybe this is the part of me that should triumph as a true Pittsburgher.
There is the part of me that hopes the Browns go 0-16 every season and lose every single game 72-0. I think that’s the side of me that still prevails for now.
But maybe, just maybe, it might be nice to see the Browns be half-decent.
Who am I kidding. Let them wallow and flounder. It’s Cleveland.
Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weekdays from 5:40 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out his bio here.