The Browns Have Been So Inept They Once Accidentally Broadcast Porn On The Walls Of Their Facility
The Cleveland Browns have been the laughingstock of the NFL since the team was reborn in 1999. Their monumental display of ineptitude is crystallized in the team’s 95–224–1 record (.311) since their return, the team going 0–16 in 2017, and their 30 different starting quarterbacks since 1999 (no quarterback has started a full 16-game season for the team since Tim Couch in 2001).
However, thanks to a new VERY lengthy exposé published today by ESPN’s Seth Wickersham, we may have a brand new benchmark of just how dysfunctional the Cleveland Browns franchise has been over the past two decades.
Marketing executives wanted employees to see how fans were engaging with the Browns on social media, so they projected the Browns feed onto a giant wall at the facility. It was like broadcasting talk radio over the entire building, and one day in particular, it was worse than that. One of the marketing staffers entered a search for #dp — for Dawg Pound. The problem was, that hashtag carried a few different meanings, one of which triggered an array of porn to be broadcast onto a wall for the entire office to see for more than 20 minutes, until a tech employee killed the feed.
More than 20 minutes? Seriously? Just… what? Hit the freaking off button!
And that’s just one of the fascinating stories the extensive piece by Wickersham uncovered regarding the Browns since Jimmy Haslam took over ownership of the team in 2012. Here’s another one…
…the Browns had just lost to the Steelers, dropping [coach Hue] Jackson’s three-year record to 3-36-1, and after constant fighting behind closed doors, Jackson was publicly warring with his offensive coordinator, Todd Haley. So according to people briefed on the meeting, on Oct. 29, Haslam and general manager John Dorsey entered Jackson’s office and told him the team was going to move in a different direction.
Jackson asked why he was being fired.
The team quit on you, Dorsey replied.
At the time, four of the eight Browns games had gone to overtime.
“Get the f— out of my office,” Jackson said.
The story of Jackson’s hiring is equally comical.
After a few rounds of interviews, the brass voted. It was 4-1 in favor of Sean McDermott, the Panthers’ defensive coordinator, a coach who had crushed his interview and was known to be open to new ideas.
Haslam voted for Hue Jackson, the former Raiders head coach and then-Bengals offensive coordinator. Jackson was a respected playcaller and teacher, especially with quarterbacks. Haslam told the group he felt Jackson could relate better to players. Jackson knew how hard it was to get a second chance as a head coach, and he was nervous about the rebuilding plan. He would later tell friends the team undersold him on the extremeness of the rebuilding plan, a charge that Browns executives found absurd, given the level of detail shared during the interview process.
[Consultant Paul DePodesta of the New York Mets] wrote Haslam an email arguing that the Jackson hire went against many of the characteristics of successful coaches they had discussed. Brown met with Haslam — there’s always a race to be the last one to talk to Haslam before a big decision — and told him he thought hiring Jackson would be a bad call. “I hear you,” Haslam said.
Then Haslam flew to Cincinnati and hired Jackson, who would report directly to ownership.
And there’s so much more, including other head coaching changes, hiring a GM without ever interviewing him, their 0-16 season, passing on Patrick Mahomes, Mitch Trubisky, and Deshaun Watson, quarterback Brian Hoyer’s reaction, and how the team (mis)handled him when they drafted Johnny Football.
Haslam’s wife Dee pretty much summed the franchise up when she reportedly said, “We just don’t know what we are doing. If we’d known how hard it would be, we never would have bought the team.”
Definitely be sure to read the entire piece over at ESPN.com if you’re looking for some quality entertainment today.