book shows how NFL fumbled the new Browns
By Zachary Dzurick
Published Dec. 8, 2004
didn't even make it through the first page of award winning Akron
Beacon Journal sportswriter Terry Pluto's latest book, "False Start:
How The New Browns Were Set Up To Fail" before I threw it across
that many readers have that reaction.
me they pick it up and then put it down then go back to it," Pluto
said. "It is like watching a train wreck. You sort of need to look
and know what happened."
The book is
billed as "the book the NFL really doesn't want you to read." Pluto
connects the dots and shows Browns fans why the NFL did not give
the organization an opportunity to succeed.
"False Start: How the New Browns Were Set Up To Fail"
By Terry Pluto
Dec. 13, 7 p.m.
Promenade of Westlake
30121 Detroit Road
Pluto will be
at the Westlake Borders on Monday from 7-8 p.m. to meet fans and
autograph copies of the book. Pluto has already made 15 appearances
regarding the book, but this will be his first in the Westshore.
"It has been
really cool to get out and meet fans," Pluto said. "But many times
fans line up and just shake
their heads like they are at a funeral."
Pluto said he
wrote the book because he believed fans needed to know that the
true villain in the Browns' departure and then mediocre return was
greed," Pluto gave as the short answer to why the NFL allowed Cleveland's
passion to leave town in the first place and then be set up to fail
in its return.
In the book
Pluto shows how NFL owners held up making a decision on new ownership
to bleed as much money as they could. As a result, the Browns were
not given enough time to start an organization.
and Carolina had 18-20 months to prepare. Houston had about two
years," Pluto said. "The Browns were given half of that."
Pluto shows that no matter who was hired to be the first coach,
they did not have a real chance to succeed because of the late start
and high unrealistic expectations of the front office and the fan
base plus a lack of talent. Pluto indicates NFL owners made sure
that the embarrassment of Jacksonville and Carolina making the conference
championship games in their second season would not happen again.
In the book,
Chris Palmer discusses why he made the decisions he did when he
made them. Palmer said if he knew he only had two years, he would
have insisted on more veterans and played Detmer. While Pluto doesn't
proclaim Palmer the world's best coach, he shows how Palmer was
a good, sincere man who didn't have a chance. Pluto doesn't slam
Carmen Policy; however, if you a Browns fan who wasn't fond of him,
you can come to your own conclusion on how Policy did more harm
letters from fans to highlight the passion of Browns fans and why
they stay loyal to the team. Pluto said those letters are from true
Browns fans which he believes are not the fans the national media
who wrote me are not the fans in the Dawg pound," Pluto said. "The
love of the Browns is passed down generations. They loved Bill Nelsen,
Brian Sipe and Bernie Kosar. It is not the fan who calls talk radio.
It is a fan who doesn't need a Super Bowl but wants a entertaining
and winning team. A team that might go all the way."
the letters to show how many fans started following the Browns because
they went with their grandfather or their dad or mom and now how
they talk to their own kids. Pluto notes how since the Browns have
returned, they have not been able to find one player that the community
has latched onto.
do you wear?" Pluto said. "There is not one player in six years.
Couch? Courtney Brown is always hurt. William Green had his troubles."
Even with the
recent Butch Davis mess, Pluto believes the true Browns' fans are
is sold out and TV ratings are through the roof," Pluto said. "One
guy wrote a letter and listed all the reasons not to follow the
Browns and then ended it 'What time is the next game?' If you stop
getting angry then you have a problem. It is like my old Cavs columns
-- no one would respond. I still get letters and emails about the
Browns that pour in. Browns fans are looking for any reason to fall
in love again."
that the Browns can be turned around. He said that the Browns' next
hire is crucial.
"If Randy Lerner
hires the right guy, you can get healthy in two or three years,"
Pluto said. "For the next general manger, they need to get a football
guy first where they did that backwards before. Carmen Policy even
admitted that Dwight Clark wasn't supposed to be the one to make
small-market Green Bay as a perfect example.
"No one says
Green Bay can't compete in the NFL because of market size like they
would in baseball or to a lesser extent the NBA," Pluto said. "In
football any city can compete, but you can't make big mistakes.
If you miss on a Warren or Couch it really hurts. A first or third
overall pick has to be a star and not just a starter to justify
their salary. If they bust, then you lose money to get other impact
said that "Our Tribe" was his most personal book, this book also
was personal because he was around for all of it.
"I grew up
in Cleveland," Pluto said. "I get it. It all depends on where you
grew up. If you grew up on the West Coast you don't get it. In the
Midwest in towns like Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit and Pittsburgh,
then sports are a bigger deal. It is the culture of the town."