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Volume 24 No. 156
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Browns' On-Field Struggles Affecting Attendance; Haslams Meet With Player Leaders

The Browns' 19-7 loss to the Jaguars on Sunday drew an announced crowd of 57,003 at FirstEnergy Stadium, but the actual attendance was "much worse," according to Kevin Kleps of CRAIN'S CLEVELAND BUSINESS. The team "might be fortunate to have had 40,000 people" attend the game. Announced attendance totals -- which reflect tickets sold, not the actual attendance -- have "routinely been at 60,000 or fewer, which, until recently, hadn't happened" since late Owner Art Modell moved the team to Baltimore. The Browns have started the season 0-10 after going 1-15 last year, and "not surprisingly, fans seem to have finally reached their breaking point." That has been "evident by the abysmal crowds that the Browns have drawn the last two seasons." Fans also have a "difficult time in even giving away tickets" (CRAINSCLEVELAND.com, 11/20).

GOOD DIALOGUE: In Cleveland, Mary Kay Cabot reports Browns Owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam met with team leaders last week "not only to express their appreciation for the continued fight, but also to solicit input on what needs to change to right the 0-10 ship." Browns DE Emmanuel Ogbah "acknowledged that he found it unusual for the Haslams to a call the meeting with the 12 or so players on the leadership council." Coach Hue Jackson, who is "confident he has the Haslams' support, was also present," though Browns Exec VP/Football Operations Sashi Brown "was not." With rumors "swirling that the Haslams will pursue Peyton Manning for a president-type role, they didn't shed any light on their plans with the players." Browns G Joel Bitonio said, "It was good dialogue, and I think we're moving in the right direction even though we haven't put a win on the board." Jackson also "appreciated the Haslams listening to the players" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 11/21).

CROSS OVER: ESPN.com's Pat McManamon wrote under the header, "The Road To 1-24: Browns Struggle To Maintain Structural Integrity." The hiring of Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta was "questioned by traditionalists but hailed by others who saw the move as groundbreaking and unique." DePodesta’s background in MLB was "heavy in analytics." He has "largely worked behind the scenes since his hiring, but he has become involved in personnel." DePodesta has "significant input, but he largely works from his home" in La Jolla, Calif. Coaches "see him on game days and perhaps one other day per week, which supports a viewpoint that he’s not around enough to make significant decisions." The "skepticism toward analytics" also "comes in part because football is not like baseball" (ESPN.com, 11/17).