Being a life-long Browns fan, and priding myself on NFL history – I have been dismayed by the excitement by so many who feel this current regime of Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi is the hope for the future.
Joe Banner is a business man first, and last. In Philly, he only cared about filling the stadium and generating profit. From a business standpoint, he succeeded. That approach was also his Achilles Heel; he didn’t care about championships, not even the Super Bowl – that was not his job. Banner never cared about the fans in Philly and never will in Cleveland either. Banner held Philly back for many years with his selfish ways with the team salary cap and hard-nosed negotiating when it came to player contracts. Guys like Jeremiah Trotter, Brian Dawkins, Terrell Owens, David Akres, among others all felt his wrath over the years. In Joe’s eyes players that stepped on the field were just a number to him.
Banner’s business acumen and his profit successes, makes perfect sense why Jimmy Haslam hired him. Banner never cared about fans, Haslam never cared about customers.
In fact, Joe Banner never had any football experience – working as a clothing merchandiser before Jeff Lurie, Banner long-time friend, hired him.
Howie Roseman and Andy Reid built those Eagles powerhouse teams, not Joe Banner. In the end however, in lieu of the poor 2011 Eagles draft and the over-paid Dream Team, owner Jeffrey Lurie absolved Roseman of blame for the 2011 draft, and sent Reid and Banner packing. While 2011 wasn’t the sole reason for the management change, it was the end-all.
Mike Lombardi, while many credit him for the JaMarcus Russell blunder, others absolve him. That controversy aside, Lombardi has a long history of draft blunders, one after another, while grabbing Free Agents not worth mentioning. As Mike Lombardi’s personnel and draft history was being written, he became more of an NFL hindrance than an asset, which ultimately landed him in front of a camera for 5 years, and out of the NFL. Despite six teams in need of a GM over that span, Lombardi was not ever a serious consideration – that is, until Joe Banner hired his long-time friend.
Truth be told, no one in Berea has ever drafted meaningfully; no one in Berea has constructed a winning team. Just as the teens were afraid to go to sleep in Nightmare On Elm Street, I’m afraid for the future of the Cleveland Browns.
The people in Philly rejoiced upon Banner’s departure, and many wondered why the Browns chose Lombardi. Considering Rob Chudzinski had never drafted anyone, and struggled to achieve any consistent success as an offensive coordinator – I wonder, why so many are so excited about the upcoming draft, and the hopes of an NFL championship. Now matter how it gets twisted, it doesn’t bode well for the future of the Cleveland Browns. If Lombardi couldn’t figure it out sitting in the headquarters of NFL teams, he certainly didn’t hone his skills sitting in front of a camera.
Unfortunately, this is authenticated history, and a sad future for Brown’s fans world-wide.