Cleveland finally got their airtime a week ago, as ESPN continued its series known as 30 for 30. It chronicled the city’s rise and fall in the past fifty two years or so, as well as the performance (or lack thereof) by its professional sports franchises. I came away with three main points after sitting down and watching this film.
Feeling for Earnest Byner
The seminal moment for the program was around the 1987 AFC Championship Game and the fumble that prevented the Browns an opportunity to win over the Broncos. This was by running back Earnest Byner, who appeared as a man who is remorseful and still not over his mistake. I speak for all Browns’ fans when I say – Ernest gave 100% effort each and every play. It sucks what happened, but it’s just a game (nearly thirty years ago) and one play should not define a career (nor a man). Clearly, a championship will help erase the negative feelings – but he should not be the face of “not getting it done”.
No Change for Modell
David Modell, the son of the deceased former owner of the Browns, appeared on the program. And as expected – he came across as an ignorant moron. The man said we did not “lose the team” but it was more of a “pause without a team”. Obviously, the ill-informed guy is forgetting the coaches (like Bill Belichick), players, and executives (like Ozzie Newsome) who went to new places and found success elsewhere. Clearly the likes of Chris Palmer, Dwight Clark, and Carmen Policy are the same as the guys they replaced. And the long, sustained success of the past seventeen years is apparent – right David?
Exercised the Demons?
I really hope this document got everything bad that happened (in the past fifty years plus) out in the open and is part of the healing process for fans, players, and management alike. I obviously forgive Ernest Byner, heck I’ll even forgive LeBron James for his decision. The last part of the story is to get that title and collectively move forward. I would not be surprised if Believeland is the beginning of good things to come for this sports town.
Conclusion: I really enjoyed watching the film from ESPN last week. Sure it had its high and low points – but it was accurate and emotional. Outsiders should understand where Cleveland fans are coming from (and if not, I frankly don’t care). Meanwhile, the raw emotions from former athletes and fans alike – makes you feel more of a tight-knit group as a supporter of the Cavs, Indians, and Browns. Good things are on their way, and sooner than some might expect.