The Cleveland Browns have not played football for over a month yet the team seems to attract top headlines on TV, the internet, and on social media.
They had a very disappointing 2021 given the high expectations placed on the talented roster during the preseason.
Instead of building on the 2020 success, things fell apart beginning in Week 2 when quarterback Baker Mayfield first injured his shoulder.
Three elements mix to stir the drama.
They are as follows:
3. A Loyal Fanbase
You are probably thinking that a team’s loyal fanbase is never a disadvantage.
That is true, and the Browns fans are diehards that have ridden with this team through very rough years.
These fans ran “The Factory of Sadness” for years and had a 0-16 parade that was arguably more well-attended than the Rams Super Bowl parade last week.
The same group saw light at the end of a long and dark tunnel in 2020 so the bitter disappointment of 2021 was tough to take.
This fanbase and the city deserve a Super Bowl Championship.
2. Success Of The Cincinnati Bengals
This is one of those cases when misery loves company.
The Browns’ interstate rival also struggled mightily over the years.
Yet the Browns have owned them in the past two seasons, sweeping all four of their meetings.
For the Browns to falter as they did at the same time as the Bengals were emerging was almost unbearable.
The 4-11-1 Bengals won the AFC North and were AFC Champions this year. You bet your bottom dollar we rally for that. If you don’t like your own city so much go live in Cleveland, Jason https://t.co/YKKicSa8No
— Jack 💥 (@Cincinneumeyer) February 20, 2022
The Bengals drafted Joe Burrow with their No. 1 pick in 2020, and he was already flourishing.
In contrast, the Browns had a host of first-round picks including the No. 1 pick in 2018, Baker Mayfield, who has not yet achieved what Burrow has, and he has played two more seasons than Burrow.
1. Social Media Usage Of Players and Their Family Members
Without a doubt, the biggest source of the Browns drama this season has been the use of social media by the players and their family members.
The worst offender without question was Odell Beckham Sr. who released an 11-minute video disparaging the Browns offense and Baker Mayfield.
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) November 2, 2021
— MoreForYouCleveland (@MoreForYou_CLE) November 3, 2021
This created a lot of turmoil which ended Odell Beckham Jr.’s tenure with the Browns.
He landed on his feet quite well and won a Super Bowl which did not sit well with the entire Browns fanbase.
BaKeR MaYfIeLd Is NoT tHe PrObLeM pic.twitter.com/d18zaSy8lv
— Rams HQ (@LARAMSHQ) February 20, 2022
Baker Mayfield’s wife Emily also defended her husband on social media.
Then, there was frustration from Baker himself and Jedrick Wills.
— Brad Stainbrook (@StainbrookNFL) December 12, 2021
When the Browns finally limped over the finish line in Week 18 without a playoff berth, everyone hoped the social media mayhem would quiet down.
That did not happen as it seemed OBJ left a fractured locker room.
The final straw was this week when Jarvis Landry pled his case for staying in Cleveland on social media.
Jarvis Landry passive-aggressively trying to force his way out of Cleveland when all he has to do is post this year's salary-cap figure, because that's the real reason why the Browns are almost certainly going to grant his wish this offseason.
— Brent Sobleski (@brentsobleski) February 22, 2022
It was a mixed message that seems to indicate Landry would like to stay but will be fine playing elsewhere also.
Winning cures everything in the NFL, and the Browns will have a lot less drama when they start doing a lot more winning.
Browns fans hope that happens in 2022 because they cannot handle another season like 2021.