The NFL’s Fading Franchises
Some teams within the National Football League are living on past glories. The performances delivered regularly would make a scout team blush and people should feel cheated when coughing up large amounts of dollars to watch them.
I’m going to take aim at three particular franchises here – the Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Performances from all three teams have been disgraceful for almost a decade and the immediate future doesn’t look all that great for them either.
The Cleveland Browns
The Browns have become the basket case of the NFL. They have only managed one 10-win season in the last decade (and still didn’t make the postseason) and have forever been locked in the basement of the AFC North. They have even stooped to becoming the Bengals’ punching bag in the ‘Battle of Ohio’ matchup twice a season. Head coach and quarterback issues have also plauged any notable progress.
One would think that after so many draft picks, that quality would slowly rise to the top. Owner Randy Lerner has bankrolled millions and surely now he must be getting frustrated with the mediocrity that is served each season. The Browns have good players. Players like Josh Cribbs and Sheldon Brown are elite, they just don’t receive the support they deserve.
It may be time for the NFL to reconsider realigning the Browns into another division or even conference. It would be a drastic move, but unless the culture and on-field improvement progress, little hope looks in sight.
Kansas City Chiefs
Out of all teams, I feel sorry for the Kansas City Chiefs the most. They have one of the league’s best stadiums and great fans, but are forced to have their hearts broken annually. When attending a Chiefs v Broncos game in ’09 at Arrowhead Stadium, I was amazed that how friendly and approachable the fans were. Tailgating there can’t be matched (apart from Lambeau), but the quality on the field is a sad product. That day I saw Cassel throw three or four picks and he was benched for Brodie Croyle in the third.
Performances like that havn’t changed for the Chiefs. Cassel has already been sacked eight times (five against the Bills!) and has also thrown three picks. Their running game is excellent under RB Peyton Hillis, but this dominance is going unrewarded. Is Cassel the man to take the Chiefs forward? I don’t believe so and the amount of rage being generated in the state of Missouri is increasing by the day.
The Chiefs have to get better on defense. Set reasonable targets and be competitive in games. They have made the postseason once since 2003 and Chiefs fans have had a gutful. It’s time for ‘RAC’ Crennel and his old NE buddy Scott Pioli to get results and make the Chiefs noticable again.
The Jags would have to be the most irrelevant in all of pro football. Despite efforts from the new owners, they are going nowhere. No-one watches them, they fail to perform in big games and let’s be honest – they will not win a Super Bowl with Blaine Gabbert as quarterback. Selling games in London is a last-ditch opportunity to get some more supporters. I see them being the only real option for when the LA team is formed; they will relocate and leave behind a tale of woe. Even with signing Paul Posluszny on defense, the Jags still leak more yards than the Titantic does water when sinking.
In the best interests of the competition, I hope these three franchises can turn things around. No-one likes to see teams floundering, it hurts. People get fired, owners lose millions and fans walk around angry. In the Browns’ and Chiefs’ cases, they have been strong in the past (50′s/60′s) but never in the modern era. Prove your relevance; prove why you are an NFL franchise. Deliver on the big stage and your fans will be greatful for the reduced blood pressure levels between September and December.