Nothing is Real Any More, All Hail the Matrix
December 1, 2015 7:44 AM   Subscribe

Last night on Monday Night Football, the Baltimore Ravens and The Cleveland Browns (both with terrible records and disappointing seasons) battled it out to stay out of the bottom of the AFC North rankings. The Browns seemed to have the game in the bag, as a series of Baltimore mistakes placed them within field goal range and a victory. However, the kick was blocked (a rarity in the NFL) and then returned for a touchdown (even rarer) for a 0 second win by The Ravens. Browns fans were upset (NWS: cursing). The media exposure of this unlikely series of events has caused renewed interest in a list that a fan compiled in October of this year: Every Browns Loss Since 1999, Ranked.
posted by codacorolla (63 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
I was at a bar in Columbus doing trivia, and the audience was split between Browns fans howling in pain and mourning the loss of something significant in their lives ... and Bengals fans who thought it was the funniest thing ever.
posted by ChuraChura at 7:59 AM on December 1, 2015 [6 favorites]


A lot of people are calling last night's game the Brownsiest of Browns losses, but I disagree. Last night, the Browns lost in spectacular fashion. The more typical Browns loss is one where they are already down 21 to 3 midway through the 2nd quarter and finish the game losing 34 to 10 after finally punching into the end zone on an irrevelant garbage time touchdown. That's your quintessential Browns loss.
posted by mcmile at 8:02 AM on December 1, 2015 [14 favorites]


That has to be the Brownsiest way of losing of game. That it happened to the Browns facing the team formerly known as Browns can't be a coincidence.
posted by lmfsilva at 8:03 AM on December 1, 2015 [20 favorites]


These are good people. I live in a place now where the sports fans are used to winning, or at least used to doing well. They are insufferable. As an Atlanta child in the 1970's, I learned the meaning of pain every April, when the Big Red Machine would come to town and beat us like a rented mule every Opening Day. (Why was it always the Reds? I don't know. )
posted by thelonius at 8:04 AM on December 1, 2015 [6 favorites]


Oh, God, I still remember watching this as it happened. No loss can ever be stupider.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 8:06 AM on December 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


They don't call it the Factory of Sadness for nothing.

Also, Matt Schaub threw an interception returned for a touchdown. He is the best at this.
posted by graymouser at 8:07 AM on December 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


The more typical Browns loss is one where they are already down 21 to 3 midway through the 2nd quarter and finish the game losing 34 to 10 after finally punching into the end zone on an irrevelant garbage time touchdown.

Not at all. The Browns have this genius for almost getting the win, but falling flat at the last moment. It's as if the Football Gods are not satisfied with the losses alone, they want to squash the very concept of human hope too.
posted by elwoodwiles at 8:09 AM on December 1, 2015 [8 favorites]


If you ever feel as though you are actually getting upset at the outcome of a professional sports game, do what I do: remember that each team (with the exception of the Packers) is owned by a billionaire, one who is very likely a horrible waste of human skin. This is particularly true in the case of the Browns, whose owner ripped off truckers for years until the FBI stepped in.

So, Browns fans -- it's not your team that lost last night. Jimmy Haslam's team lost, so delight in his failure and shame!

did that help I don't think that helped but you never know
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:11 AM on December 1, 2015 [25 favorites]


The Browns have this genius for almost getting the win, but falling flat at the last moment.

"Could have been worse. We could be Browns fans." -- any member of my family after yet another Lions blowout.
posted by Etrigan at 8:11 AM on December 1, 2015 [8 favorites]


Mr. Machine is a Ravens fan, and after Flacco's season-ending injury, Mr. Machine basically gave up on this season and begun hoping that the Ravens will play for draft picks, rather than trying to fight their way to mediocrity.

We live in a three floor rowhome. Last night, I was on the top floor. He was on the bottom floor.

When the end of the game happened, there was a lot of NO NO NO and YES YES YES and WHAT???????????? loud enough to be audible three floors away.
posted by joyceanmachine at 8:26 AM on December 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


Being a Browns fan is weird. There's so much history there and the fans are so loyal, perhaps the most loyal fans in sports besides Cubs fans. We appreciate that other football fans really hate the team, but the pity can get annoying and condescending.

did that help I don't think that helped but you never know

It didn't! What sucks so much is that it's really OUR team, through the good and the soul-crushingly bad. That's why it hurts.

That play last night...I laughed, I felt numb, I had a few drinks, but the sick part is I'm still looking forward to going to the Factory of Sadness next Sunday.
posted by girlmightlive at 8:28 AM on December 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


You cannot make this stuff up. The only way this could be more Brownsier would be if this occurred in an AFC championship game. I almost said if this occurred in the Super Bowl, but realized that would at least result in some residual feeling of accomplishment for making it to the Super Bowl. If it was the AFC championship, Cleveland hopes would be at their highest so dashing those hopes would hurt the most, and that is what being a Cleveland sports fan is all about - maximizing the gloom.
posted by Falconetti at 8:29 AM on December 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


What sucks so much is that it's really OUR team, through the good and the soul-crushingly bad. That's why it hurts.

Wouldn't that be nice if it were your team? Imagine if sports teams were run through some sort of municipal/private partnership. You could have a board of directors and shareholders, just like other companies that are traded on public exchanges.

There's really nothing quite like professional sports. Because of profit sharing, the very worst owners can field horrible teams year after year and suffer no repercussions (and actually make a tidy profit). This doesn't happen in any other business, so far as I know.

End the tyranny of generational/geographic fandom! Root for teams you like and choose a new team every year! It's actually super awesome and nobody gives a shit if you stop rooting for a team you used to root for!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:35 AM on December 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Wouldn't that be nice if it were your team? Imagine if sports teams were run through some sort of municipal/private partnership. You could have a board of directors and shareholders, just like other companies that are traded on public exchanges.

Is this not the Green Bay Packers?
posted by dogwalker at 8:42 AM on December 1, 2015 [9 favorites]


Wouldn't that be nice if it were your team? Imagine if sports teams were run through some sort of municipal/private partnership.

You know about the Packers, yes?

(Granting that they've been grandfathered in, and nobody else is allowed to follow their lead.)
posted by Shmuel510 at 8:43 AM on December 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


You know about the Packers, yes?

Hello, "Well Actually" Man! If only I had mentioned them in my first comment!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:44 AM on December 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Operatic loss. I kinda love the Browns, but only because I'm not a fan.
posted by echocollate at 8:46 AM on December 1, 2015


If only I had mentioned them in my first comment!

you made more than one comment?
posted by dogwalker at 8:52 AM on December 1, 2015


Technically speaking, aren't the Browns and the Ravens nominally the same team, insofar as the Ravens were originally the Cleveland Browns prior to moving to Baltimore? So the Browns literally lost to themselves.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:54 AM on December 1, 2015 [8 favorites]


Saw the clip on a morning news show with little context and it was just one of the you've got to be kidding moments I've seen.
posted by sammyo at 8:58 AM on December 1, 2015


Technically speaking, aren't the Browns and the Ravens nominally the same team...

Officially speaking, when the Browns were restarted in Cleveland, they inherited the old Browns' history, and the Ravens were ruled to be a new team as of their move.
posted by Etrigan at 9:00 AM on December 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


What's with people not reading the already posted comments? Is this some sort of game where we participate by not being able to interact properly with opposing participants, and in the end make ourselves losers, disappointing those who are spectating?

like the browns do each week
posted by cashman at 9:03 AM on December 1, 2015 [13 favorites]


I suppose if you wanted to play that game, The Colts are the Ravens, The Ravens are the Browns, and the Browns are an entirely new team formed out of the forehead of NFL upper management.
posted by codacorolla at 9:07 AM on December 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


like the browns do each week

"Hello, Cleveland Fire Department? I need to report a burrrn."
posted by Etrigan at 9:08 AM on December 1, 2015 [7 favorites]


I was up late making a cake and sort of half following along on twitter and when the play clip was posted I shouted so sharply I scared the cat from the room. Poor Browns. I'm glad there's a team out there that makes the Bills look lucky/competent by comparison.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 9:08 AM on December 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Cleveland has a football team? Sorry, I don't believe it. Not that I'm a sports person, but to go from what I see of Browns merch around Akron at this time of year, we don't actually have an NFL team anywhere near here. Now, Ohio State, nobody will shut up about them, but I'm pretty sure the Browns are a myth or possibly some kind of government hoax.
posted by Sequence at 9:11 AM on December 1, 2015


"Could have been worse. We could be Browns fans." -- any member of my family after yet another Lions blowout.

Browns, Lion, Bills. Why are Lake Erie teams SO AWFUL?! Swimming in the lake once I was hit in the face with a dead fish, which I guess could happen in any lake, but it's as good a metaphor as any for all three of those teams.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 9:14 AM on December 1, 2015 [11 favorites]


I'm a Browns fan....in a way. As you might expect, I kind of lost interest in football over the years. A combination of finding out that I was terrible at football and the Browns closing down and moving away. But I still have fond memories of watching Bernie Kosar, Webster Slaughter, and Kevin Mack in my childhood.
posted by Hoopo at 9:34 AM on December 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Not at all. The Browns have this genius for almost getting the win, but falling flat at the last moment. It's as if the Football Gods are not satisfied with the losses alone, they want to squash the very concept of human hope too.

In 1980 the Browns went so far as to actually win a few games in the final moments and pick up the nickname "the Kardiac Kids" before crushing their fans by throwing away the championship game with an interception instead of attempting a game-winning field goal from the 13-yard-line.

(Wow, if you ever doubted that football fans are as dorky as Star Wars nerds, browse wikipedia about football for a few minutes.)
posted by straight at 9:40 AM on December 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


The only way this could be more Brownsier would be if this occurred in an AFC championship game. I almost said if this occurred in the Super Bowl, but realized that would at least result in some residual feeling of accomplishment for making it to the Super Bowl.

Speaking as a Seahawks fan, that residual feeling of accomplishment is mighty thin after you lose the big game that way.
posted by kindall at 9:44 AM on December 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


You know something is amiss when photos of sad Browns fans begin to resemble the work of Dorthea Lange.
posted by mcmile at 9:45 AM on December 1, 2015 [7 favorites]


I finished reading #3 and actually said out loud "Wait, how could there be TWO losses worse than this?" #3 reads like they lost a game of Madden to a smug cousin at Thanksgiving, where everyone involved knows the win only happened because the game engine doesn't know what do do with an unusual game situation because it was last updated in 1994.

Then I read #2 & #1, and lo. I was wrong.
posted by Mayor West at 9:47 AM on December 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


You kids with your 'losses since 1999', pshaw!

Real Browns Fans know that The Drive is the worst loss, followed closely by The Fumble.
posted by Frayed Knot at 9:50 AM on December 1, 2015


Real Browns Fans know that The Drive is the worst loss, followed closely by The Fumble.

Yeah, I was confused when I got to the top five and still hadn't seen either of them mentioned. Then I realized that he had to restrict the list to the last sixteen years, AFTER the (then respectably competent) original team had abandoned their longtime home in a stunning fit of pique when Ohio wouldn't pay for $175 million worth of improvements to the (privately owned) stadium, creating entire swaths of major-league law behind them as Art Modell somehow convinced the judicial system that he could take the entire set of personnel with him while leaving behind the name.

Otherwise, this article would have run to 250,000 words.
posted by Mayor West at 10:04 AM on December 1, 2015


Just to clarify: Cleveland DID offer a stadium. They offered a NEW stadium. Clevelanders, God bless 'em, may have to suffer through the worst sports horror imaginable, but boy howdy are they willing to throw cash at the Browns. The Ravens leaving wasn't because we didn't love them enough, but because Art Modell had significant problems.
posted by miguelcervantes at 10:09 AM on December 1, 2015 [1 favorite]




After reading Every Browns Loss ranked, I am absolutely going to watch the last 2 minutes of Brown's games from here to eternity. I like how the guy who wrote the article immediately knew where last night's game ranked. beautiful.
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:41 AM on December 1, 2015


Note that the Browns Loss ranking was inspired by last week's game. It has been updated to note that last night's game would rank about #10.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:47 AM on December 1, 2015


Figures it'd be the one MNF I skipped this year, because, well, Browns - Ravens.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:55 AM on December 1, 2015


The guy saying "did that just really happen?!?" while obviously laughing is the best fan reaction I have seen yet.
posted by yhbc at 11:01 AM on December 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Figures it'd be the one MNF I skipped this year, because, well, Browns - Ravens.

Even ESPN Is Trying To Warn You About Tonight's Dreadful Ravens-Browns Game
posted by Etrigan at 11:06 AM on December 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was once in a conversation about Cleveland sports where somebody came out with "God hates Cleveland". I replied "That's not true -- he treats Cleveland sports fans just like he did his very own son".
posted by zipadee at 11:35 AM on December 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


ESPN was laying into Manziel and The Browns throughout the broadcast. I'm used to commentators approaching controversy (and the sport itself) with a saccharine attitude that treats both teams as potential contenders and always has a nice thing to say, but last night they were brutal.
posted by codacorolla at 11:55 AM on December 1, 2015


ESPN was laying into Manziel and The Browns throughout the broadcast.

What a brave stand, to criticize the backup to the backup quarterback. #HotTaek
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:01 PM on December 1, 2015


I just noticed, there's a missed block-in-the back on the return.
posted by dirigibleman at 12:10 PM on December 1, 2015


I am too young to remember this but Jim Brown played running back for one of the greatest teams in NFL history. And it was the Cleveland Browns. (That teamed moved to Baltimore because the city wouldn't buy them a new stadium.)
posted by bukvich at 12:21 PM on December 1, 2015



Technically speaking, aren't the Browns and the Ravens nominally the same team...


Yeah, I've always wondered at what point people will stop thinking this.

It's a cross between the Ship of Theseus that's had every part replaced, and Marvin the Paranoid Android who ditto, except for all the aching diodes down his left side.

Do the Ravens have a uniform #32?
 
posted by Herodios at 12:24 PM on December 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


I usually don't care about the Browns, but fantasy football does strange things to you. I was down by 5 in a head-to-head with Johnson on my team as the only remaining player in our matchup projected to get 10 points. This was somewhat of a twist of fate as I had picked him up off the waiver wire a few days earlier, after my opponent dropped him. With five minutes to go I was up by less than a point (0.2 to be exact) and my victory, while a cruel way to lose any matchup, seemed a fait accompli. But No!! Negative yards with 4 minutes to go took me back to the losing side of the points totals, where I stayed, until the faint hope of additional yardage in overtime was cruelly taken away by that play.

I'm not saying I know how Browns fans feel this morning, but I can sympathize with having defeat snatched from the jaws of victory in that game.
posted by TwoWordReview at 12:28 PM on December 1, 2015


This post is current as of Tuesday, October 27, 2015, at which point the Browns have 178 losses since 1999 (177 regular season, 1 playoff). I currently have no intention of updating this weekly, since changing all of the numbers by one every week would be an ordeal.

Now, see, here's an opportunity for a young whippersnapper to make up a great mobile / web application.
posted by joecacti at 12:30 PM on December 1, 2015


Now, see, here's an opportunity for a young whippersnapper to make up a great mobile / web application.

Losr.
posted by Etrigan at 12:32 PM on December 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


There were three blissful years here (1996 - 1999) when there was no pro football team in Cleveland (and the baseball team was competitive). Unfortunately, it couldn't last.

At the time, I heard that there was a lot of grumbling in Indianapolis and talk of moving that team again, so I thought, Well, if we have to have a pro football team in Cleveland, they ought to invite the Indianapolis Colts to move to Cleveland and restore balance and equilibrium to the cosmos. Unfortunately, it didn't happen, and the cosmos remains out of joint.
 
posted by Herodios at 12:35 PM on December 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


A vivid early memory for me is this spectacular Browns loss at the hands of Ahmad Rashad. I have to think it would rank pretty high on the list. Of course, as a Vikings fan I have an abundance of empathy for the agony of last-second losses.
posted by theory at 12:42 PM on December 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh man, as a Ravens fan I had finally come to terms with this trainwreck of a season--particularly when last night's ending seemed sealed by Matt Schaub being, well, the Matt Shaubiest he could be, before the Browns outdid him with their Brownsiest move--by rooting for the #1 draft pick. So now I'm torn between delight at the crazy excitement of the ending and moping that we've (perhaps only temporarily) moved out of the top 5 for the draft...
posted by TwoStride at 3:34 PM on December 1, 2015


What a brave stand, to criticize the backup to the backup quarterback. #HotTaek Given that it's Manziel's own relentless immaturity that relegated him to the #3 position a mere week after he was actually named the starter, it's worth airing the discussion of why their #1 draft pick is committed to being a fuckup and wasting his talent.
posted by TwoStride at 3:37 PM on December 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm also a Ravens fan, and I have to say that I'm similarly torn between wanting to start as strong as possible with a good #1 pick next season, and wanting to see them win. Last night's game was more like seeing The Browns lose, us lose by way of looking god-awful, and the officials lose (given how sloppy that last play was called by the refs).
posted by codacorolla at 3:39 PM on December 1, 2015


I'm also a Ravens fan, and I have to say that I'm similarly torn between wanting to start as strong as possible with a good #1 pick next season, and wanting to see them win.

Wishing for one draft pick to elevate a football team is a mug's game (especially when you're locked in to Elite Joe for another four years). It works in the NBA, where one superstar out of five players can make you a legit playoff team -- one guy out of 22 (not counting special teams)... not so much.
posted by Etrigan at 5:08 PM on December 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Ravens have been really, really good at drafting, so I don't think being a sixth rather than fifth pick is going to matter all that much.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:26 PM on December 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am a lifelong Clevelander, and, as is the tradition among many of my people, a lifelong Browns fan. There was an autographed Bernie Kosar football waiting for me in my crib when I came home from the hospital. As this puts my current age in my late 20's, the Browns were stolen and moved to Baltimore just as I started to reach the age of being able to understand and appreciate football. Which means nearly all my Browns memories are of the 1999 and on "new" Browns. Which have been 17 seasons of losing, terrible quarterbacks, and countless examples of "God hates Cleveland" moments such as that blocked field goal last night. Oh, and the Indians haven't won a World Series since 1948 (second only to the Cubs) and the Cavs have never won. And our weather is terrible, our economy is terrible, our crime is terrible, our politicians are terrible, you get the idea.

However, by pure probability, the Browns should eventually win it all. And I can't even fathom how big the party here is going to be. I just hope I'm still alive to see it.
posted by Man Bites Dog at 6:41 PM on December 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


At this point when the Browns win the Superbowl, the residents of Cleveland will burn their city to the ground and disperse into the wider world - knowing in their hearts the prophesy has been fulfilled. Children will sing of these proud and brave people for generations to come...
posted by elwoodwiles at 7:01 PM on December 1, 2015 [7 favorites]


Etrigan: "Could have been worse. We could be Browns fans." -- any member of my family after yet another Lions blowout.

Yeah, about that...
posted by tonycpsu at 6:54 AM on December 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


At this point, I'm fully convinced a Browns - Lions Superbowl would never take place because as the FBI raids the NFL headquarters, a toilet from a space station destroys half the stadium it would be played in.
posted by lmfsilva at 7:53 AM on December 4, 2015


Lions/Browns Super Bowl ends with the final score of 0-2 in OT.
posted by drezdn at 9:58 AM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, about that...

Sigh. There's always next year. LGRW.
posted by ghost phoneme at 9:59 AM on December 4, 2015


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