Do the Browns Need Superman to Win a Title?

Do the Browns Need Superman to Win a Title?

Rod Bluhm
2 years ago
4 min read
Baker Mayfield looks on during warmups before a late 2021 Browns contest

Even after a magical 2020 season, Cleveland Browns fans find themselves with one foot in the past, and one foot squarely in a future filled with hope. This is nothing new. Each monotonous new regime brought in since 1999 has beckoned us to recollect hope and to forget all past transgressions. The Stefanski-Berry-DePodesta regime feels different and has delivered with a playoff win, yet the past lingers like a creepy shadow in the darkness. The means to escape the past is to prevail over your demons. The Browns have fielded talented teams, but is that enough? Will it take someone beyond human to deliver us – turning The Land into The Promised Land.

June 19, 2016. The date is etched in the memories of all Cleveland sports fans. The Cavaliers claimed their first NBA Championship, and a weight that had burdened multiple generations was lifted from our city. The pain of losses suffered by the Cavaliers, the now Guardians and Browns was forgiven. That is how it felt, and it was true in many respects. 

LeBron James, the local kid from Akron, made good on his promise of “bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio.” James is arguably the greatest player in NBA history. His feats have often been more super-human than human. Six years later, the relationship between James and the city of Cleveland is not the same, yet he will always be the guy who held up his end of the bargain in fulfilling his promise.

“I’d love that. First things first, they’d get a winner. If anybody’s gonna turn that franchise around, it’d be me. I’d be able to put it in the right direction.”

-Baker Mayfield on potentially being drafted first overall by the Browns

Wanting to be the man is something that the fans in Cleveland appreciate. They’ve seen too many reluctant players over the years. Oh, and they can tell. They are a hard-working fan base. They bust their butts as hard as they will bust your chops. Seeing someone join the team who is not only brash, but excited about being here was refreshing. 

While Mayfield is not close to the football equivalent of LeBron James. He has made every attempt to be Superman in Cleveland. His first career appearance against the Jets was spectacular. Seeing him break the rookie touchdown passing mark made us all believers. Fighting through the injuries in 2021 was something that very few guys would have done. He has tried, but coaching changes, injuries and inconsistency have left Mayfield far short of superhero stature.

The 1964 Cleveland Browns were the last team to win a title in Cleveland before the 2016 Cavs. You knew that. That Browns team had multiple stars. None were near the caliber of Jim Brown. Calling the Browns running back Superman may be an injustice to the GOAT. The Browns won the title with a balanced team and Jim Brown. Scan his statistics sometime and marvel at what he accomplished in 12 and 14 game seasons. It’s possible that Superman has a Jim Brown tattoo.

My future son-in-law proposed to my daughter last weekend. I’m excited for their future together. All a parent really wants from their children is for them to find happiness in life. With happiness and a commitment such as marriage comes great responsibility. Those who enter this covenant had best understand this or the longevity of the commitment is in jeopardy. 

“I’m only a man in a funny red sheet / I’m only a man looking for a dream.”

Superman - Five for Fighting

If you’ve heard the lyrics to this song above, your first thought may be that it is about the woes of Superman the superhero. It is not. It really is an inspiring song about every man’s attempt to be Superman for his spouse, family, or someone important to him. The fact is that we (men and women alike) are all thrust into the position of needing to be a hero for someone at points throughout our lives. It isn’t easy. Some of us are more reluctant about it than others. Some of us have more superhero in us than others. However, the effort is really all that matters.

Baker Mayfield is Cleveland. You may not think that the Browns can win a Super Bowl with him at the helm, but you admire him. He loves the city, wants to win, and is willing to do anything within his power to make it happen. Baker is a more talented version of one of us. What would you give to win one for Cleveland? Most of us would do just about anything. Mayfield took his vows seriously in this relationship and is trying to be Superman in human form for us. You should admire that in him. 

Today’s NFL is ruled by electric quarterbacks and game-changing receivers. The question as to whether Baker Mayfield is good enough to win a title in this league remains unanswered. He may never measure up to the premier signal-callers in the league and will never be the equivalent of LeBron James or Jim Brown, yet we may not have seen his ceiling.

The Browns need to be smart about the quarterback position going forward. Middle ground is the best path. Mayfield is signed through the 2022 season and has a chance for a bounce back season. However, contingency plans should be in place. A strong backup is necessary on a contending team. A plan for the 2023 season that does not include Mayfield should also be considered. Drafting a quarterback in April is a possibility, although a weak class means this may not yield a long-term solution. All avenues should be explored in this business of professional football. There is no reason to give up on Baker Mayfield until we see what he looks like as a heathy player in 2022. A guy in a funny red sheet is always going to give his best and he just may surprise you.

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