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This was a great book on how the NFL screwed the expansion Browns and goes up to the 2004 season I think
Not a documentary, but one of the few really respected Cleveland Media guys, Terry Pluto, wrote a fantastic book about it called False Start: How the New Browns Were Set Up to Fail, though he does get a bit personal with it, which is understandable because he's a diehard fan who took it personal.
EDIT: He spends a lot of time talking about how Tags and the rest of the owners dicked around with the bidding war that propelled the value of NFL teams by initially demanding that the Browns cost the ownership $1 Billion dollars, despite the Panthers and Jags costing $140M a few years prior. Eventually the bidding stopped at just over $500 million.
DOUBLE EDIT: Should note this book was written in 2004.
One of the local sportswriters wrote a book describing how the NFL fucked up the new franchise on purpose dooming us to lots of failure at the start https://www.amazon.com/False-Start-Browns-Were-Fail/dp/1886228884
So bottlegate didn't help, but they wanted us to fail from the start
It goes deeper than that. The Browns were one of the class teams in the NFL. What replaced them...isn't, starting with the fact that they had literally half as much time to rebuild the team as a normal expansion team. The NFL really set the Browns up for failure, and they've never been able to recover. Terry Pluto, who's covered Cleveland sports for ages, wrote a whole book about it
Yes, Baltimore went 13 years without an NFL team and Cleveland went 3. And that would TOTALLY suck - I can't even imagine. And I would never defend Irsay's midnight move out of Baltimore. Baltimore however inherited a pretty good team and Cleveland got the shaft with a hasty expansion process which set them up for failure. See Terry Pluto's book: http://www.amazon.com/False-Start-Browns-Were-Fail/dp/1886228884/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1359570198&sr=8-3&keywords=terry+pluto+browns
Our knee scrape has turned into a festering MRSA infection, while your broken knee cap has turned into a Super Bowl win and another Super Bowl appearance.
So now, it's been 17 years since the Browns left, while Baltimore got a Super Bowl win 17 years after the Colts left. Who got the short end of the stick again?
I don't believe we would have been successful, simply becuase we were fucked from the very beginning. I'm just going to copy and paste and old post of mine that goes into more depth about how boned we were...
>I was just responding to the ELI5 thread in r/NFL about the Browns Relocation, and I realized that a good number of our userbase, might not have been old enough to remember the '99 expansion. So here's that horrible twisted tale. Most of this info comes from Terry Pluto's False Start: How the New Browns Were Set Up to Fail. Here's my original post with nicer formatting.
>Really quick SparkNotes version?
>1: NFL dragged its feet on confirming Al Lerner as the owner of the Franchise in an attempt to drive up the price. they eventually confirmed Lerner in September of 1998. Less than a year before the Browns were legally bound to play their first game. This led to the Browns getting a super late start on hiring and building a coaching staff. p.s. the NFL forbade the Browns from hiring any coordinators who were under contract. So yeah. Which flows into points 2 & 3...
> 2: The Browns had nearly half the time to get ready from their Owner selection to their first game then any other modern expansion team. Just compare the number of days other modern expansion teams had to get ready... Texans (1,068), Panthers (677), Jags (642) versus the Browns (369). The NFL Owners were fine with this injustice though, because the Jags and Panthers came out and embarrassed the shit out of some of the old guard greats (i.e. they went to the playoffs in their second seasons of existence). So if the Browns floundered, no one would care. Just some added dark humor, the NFL spent 911 days from (almost 3x what the coaching staff had to prepare with) the Browns relocation before they gave ownership to Al Lerner (i.e. the legal ability to officially build a staff.)
> 3: With this truncated build up, there was no scouting staff in place. There was no research on what to use the extra picks that the NFL mercifully gave to Cleveland on. No idea forjust about any of it. The Texans in comparison, hired an entire GM staff in '01 so they had a complete year to scout everything for the NFL draft and the all important Expansion draft... which leads me to...
> 4: The fucking expansion draft was broken for Cleveland and the NFL didn't care. In case you are unaware, the expansion draft is a draft where a new team is allowed to take players from other teams. This isn't as good as it sounds. In 1999, the expansion draft involved each other team choosing 5 players to leave unprotected (i.e. the Browns could sign them off of another roster). Teams couldn't select punters or kickers as one of their unprotected players. If the Browns chose a team's player, that team was allowed to protect another of the remaining 4. The browns could not sign more than 2 players from any one team (this was 1 player less than the expansions Panthers and Jaguars were allowed to take). The bullshit sets in when the NFL allowed retiring/injured players to be kept on the expansion list, giving the NFL teams a de facto extra protected player slot. Furthermore, after watching Jacksonville and Carolina aggressively sign free agents that weren't tied up, other teams made damn sure that their major free agents were signed to long contracts. Before the Browns first Free Agency began.
Random aside, WFNY has a great article about the above part.
> 5: The Browns were set up to fail. As a result, it was inevitable that the first coach was going to be fired. And everyone knew it. In interviews for the position, coaches would say, "I'd love to be the second coach you're going to hire; but count me out for the first one. It's just not worth the risk." This starts the cycle where each head coach gets 2.9 years on average to build a winner or else they're fired. And it's not really any better for our GM. Constantly switching schemes and systems. We're just fucked. From day 1.
>There's plenty more, but you're going to have to actually pay for the book for that.
>I hope this gives you a glimpse into the bitterness that Cleveland fans have. Sure we kept our franchise but our team was taken from us, and in its stead, we got an ad hoc abomination that they slapped our colors and helmets on and claimed all was well. This is why we hate Modell so much. Through his actions, we were left to suffer through this fate. This is why we're convinced the NFL league office is out to get us... In our (new) beginning, they certainly weren't trying to make it fair.
>So yeah... That's the story, Wishbone.
They sort of are the people. There’s a whole book about it.
“False Start: How the New Browns Were Set Up to Fail”
We were, we even got a book:
The new Browns have always operated under a different set of rules.
Terry Pluto is THE Cleveland sports journalist and he wrote this book about the theory. Shrug.
Spoken like someone who doesn't know their history.
> It's like you've all forgotten that the only reason you (might) be relevant this year is because of the absurd amount of top 5 (if not #1 overall) draft picks
Trust me, no one has forgotten how shit the Browns have been since coming back in '99.
>you've been given year after year after year thanks to your constant sucking, until half you team is made of top 5 players.
Do you know how the NFL and the NFL draft works? This is kinda the crux of it. The worst teams get the highest draft picks so they have an opportunity to draft the best players. Seems like you might've been unaware of how that works.
Besides, the Browns were not exactly given a full deck to play with when they came back, so it's not like there was a chance of any kind of stability to help maintain a winning culture.
> It's like losing the 100 yard dash so badly that eventually the competitors give you a 70 yard head start, and then when you come in 5th place you start talking shit like you did it yourself.
Yeah, that is an absolutely terrible analogy. It almost makes me think you don't know how analogies are supposed to work.
If the Browns were being spotted a 2.5 touchdown lead in every game and still finished with the record they had in 2018, then yeah, your analogy would be apt because distance is to a race as points are to a game of football.
As it stands though, your version is terrible because the Browns did not get that head start in all their games, and in fact played with something of a handicap for half of the season with Hue & Haley at the helm, as well as rookies and second year players all over the field.
But it's all good! I'm definitely not going to make fun of a certain horse-faced GM who works for a certain horse-based team that can't evaluate QB talent for shit. That would be rude of me.
>Do you know how the NFL and the NFL draft works? This is kinda the crux of it.
You should read my post better. Because that's exactly what I was pointing out. In order to help shitty teams get better, the worst teams get the best draft picks.
>Browns were not exactly given a full deck to play with when they came back
That was 20 years ago. Every single player from back then has long since retired, and the Browns have had enough top draft picks in the ensuing 20 years to have fielded like four SB teams since then.
>Yeah, that is an absolutely terrible analogy. It almost makes me think you don't know how analogies are supposed to work.
Funny, I was thinking the same thing about you. Let's dive in:
"Handicapping, in sport and games, is the practice of assigning advantage through scoring compensation or other advantage given to different contestants to equalize the chances of winning."
The "bad teams go first" reverse draft order is structured to offer a "handicap" to the bad teams, to give them a better chance of winning. Likewise, giving someone a head start in a race is a way to offer a "handicap" to slower runners, to give them a better chance of winning. And in the same way it would be pretty weak game to talk shit about winning when you only won because you were given a 70 yard head start, it's also pretty weak game to talk shit about how great your team is when it's only good because you were given a "handicap" of top 5 (if not 1st overall) draft picks over and over and over for years and years to help you unshit your team.
You see? That's how analogies work. You should try to get them sometime.
The bottom line is: The Browns didn't repair their shit-hole team themselves, they were helped out by the NFL's draft "welfare" system that gives increased advantage to shit teams. And while other teams may take a year or two of bad records to get themselves right with the draft, the Browns needed two decades of near-constant help. Not sure that's a real brag-worthy thing for Brown's fans to get real cocky about. But I also understand they're... pent up. So here we go.