It’s been five years since the Browns had a winning record.
If it takes another five for the next one, Joe Banner will be worried about his commitment.
“I’ll be in a straitjacket if it takes that long,” Banner said during his introductory press conference, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The new Browns CEO said he was impressed by the resilience of Browns fans, who have enjoyed just two double-digit-win seasons since 1988, and he wants to keep them from suffering much longer.
“I know these fans have been through a lot of hopeful starts and I don’t want to sit up here and be the next promiser in their lives,” Banner said. “We’re just going to have to deliver. I know this: Nobody will work harder, nobody will have a clearer direction, I don’t imagine anybody could have more, maybe somebody else could tie, of a sense of the appreciation of the history of the fans and the city.
“It’s remarkable when you look at the last 18 to 20 years, the passion, the intensity and they’re still filling the stadium. So we’re just going to work as hard as we possibly can to reward that and put the best team on the field we can and just make it fun for everybody.”
Banner was careful not to put a date or time on when the winning would start, saying he hasn’t even broached the topic with new owner Jimmy Haslam.
“[But] I don’t think it should take very long before you’re all sitting here, and the fans watching the team are sitting there going, ‘You know what? These guys know what they’re doing. We’re on the right track. We can start to enjoy this. We’re going to end up in a really good place,” Banner said. “I think you’ll start to feel that reasonably quickly.”
The Browns are currently 1-5, 25th in team offense and 30th in defense.
There are an intriguing collection of prospects on hand, but with legitimate questions about quarterback and coaching, a fast turnaround seems optimistic.
Then again, with what Browns fans have endured already, optimism is something they’ll take.