On Thanksgiving the Cleveland Browns were 7-4, on the verge of their first playoff appearance in 12 years.
In the eight weeks since, everything has fallen apart.
The latest controversy came on Wednesday, when Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reported that the NFL could punish the team heavily as a result of an improper text message investigation.
According to Cabot, general manager Ray Farmer allegedly sent texts from the press box to coaches on the sideline about which plays to call during a game. Not only was that part of the reason offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan quit the team, Cabot reports, it’s also against NFL rules.
Farmer could be suspended and fined, and the team could lose a draft pick.
The list of terrible things that happened to the Browns since Thanksgiving is incredible:
- They lost all five games they played and missed the playoffs.
- Their offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, quit and their quarterbacks coach, Dowell Loggains, got fired.
- Their quarterback, Johnny Manziel, entered rehab.
- Their best wide receiver, Josh Gordon, got suspended for at least a year.
On Wednesday CBS’s Jason La Canfora wrote a big profile of the dysfunction in Cleveland. Here’s how he summed it up:
The culture in the Browns building is toxic, I’m told. Morale is beyond low. If you can flee, you are fleeing. There is no shortage of individuals throughout that organisation who would, like former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, get the hell out of there if at all possible. There’s an overwhelming sense of dread about the future and a fear that, come the end of the 2015 season, [owner Jimmy Haslam] will do the one thing he has managed to do with any consistency during his three-season reign — that is, blow up his entire building once again and fire everyone, in essence blaming all but himself for his sweeping failure.
In that same profile, an unnamed Browns source said of Haslam, “He’s like Jerry Jones, only without the football knowledge.”
No team is having as bad an NFL as Cleveland.
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