CLEVELAND (CBSMiami) – Miami sports fans often lament at the dysfunction of the pro sports franchises not named the Heat. But, Miami fans should take heed that it could always be worse, as fans in Cleveland continue to find out each year.
The latest stunning move in sports has once again come from Cleveland and this time involves the Browns. After firing head coach Rob Chudzinski after just one season, the Browns front office is now in complete chaos.
Chudzinski’s firing was stunning and the Browns then set out on a quest to find a head coach. The job was given to general manager Mike Lombardi and CEO Joe Banner. After being rebuffed by most candidates, the Browns settled on Mike Pettine a few weeks ago.
Now, Pettine is the last man standing. The Browns on Tuesday announced the firing of Banner and Lombardi after just one year with the team. Stepping into the place of Lombardi is Ray Farmer, who declined a second interview to take over the Miami Dolphins as general manager.
What’s unknown is how safe Pettine’s job is now. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Farmer wasn’t present during the head coaching interviews that ended with Pettine’s hiring. Farmer is well-regarded around the league, but now has to clean up a mess in Cleveland.
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said the “purpose of these moves is to unify our team with one, unequivocal goal: Provide our fans with the winning organization they have long deserved.”
For Browns fans, they have seen this act before. Since the team returned in 1999, they have been through countless head coaches, general managers, and multiple owners. The team has not been to the playoffs since Butch Davis was on the sidelines and collapsed last season once again.
But it’s not just the Browns that continue to give Cleveland sports fans, some of the best and most dedicated fans in the country, heartache.
The Cleveland Cavaliers were expected to take a step forward this season and contend for a playoff spot. There was even talk the Cavs could make enough moves to lure NBA MVP LeBron James back to the team in the 2014 offseason.
Instead, the Cavs have collapsed in epic fashion and just a few days ago fired the general manager, Chris Grant. The team has been a mess all season long though.
The Cavs brought in Andrew Bynum who became such a distraction and so disillusioned with the team that he was paid to stay away from the team before being traded for Luol Deng. Since Deng arrived in Cleveland, reports have said he sees the team as completely dysfunctional with some players refusing to practice and threatening not to play among other problems.
The team’s lone remaining star, point guard Kyrie Irving reportedly has an attitude issue and guard Dion Waiters has become so problematic that the Cavs are having trouble getting rid of the once promising young player.
The Cavs owned the number one overall pick in last year’s NBA Draft, but stunned all onlookers when the team drafted Anthony Bennett. He’s been labeled a bust and has produced little to no impact on the team this year, but has also had to develop in the constant turmoil in the Cavs franchise.
Things hit rock bottom for the Cavaliers last week when the team was playing the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers literally ran out of players to put into the game, yet still managed to beat the Cavaliers.
Remember, this was an owner who put out one of the most infamous statements in recent sports history after LeBron left the Cavaliers. Gilbert guaranteed Cleveland would win a title before LeBron did in Miami.
If there’s one Cleveland franchise though that most of the nation would enjoy seeing success, it’s the Cleveland Indians. The Indians have made the World Series in recent decades, but have struggled to keep up with the arms races in the American League, as most teams have with the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, and Rangers spending unlimited money on free agents.
The Indians haven’t won a World Series since 1948, one of the longest streaks in Major League Baseball. But the Indians still have rabid fans and just last year finished with a record of 92-70 and lost in the AL Wild Card round, but the future at least appears bright for Indians fans.
Cleveland’s fans have continued to patiently wait for that next championship as owner after owner has run franchises in the city into the ground. Now with a fresh start for the Browns, the Cavaliers looking to start over, and the Indians appearing to be on the upswing, perhaps that patience will finally be rewarded.