You know the “Cleveland Browns quarterbacks jersey,” as those outside of C-town type into their Google search bars. It’s professional sports’ enduring symbol of fan misery. It’s the visual reminder of the embarrassing state of affairs that has been the quarterback situation for the Cleveland Browns since the team’s largely heartbreaking return to the league in 1999.
Of course, the matter at hand is really called the Jersey of Sadness, conceived and maintained by Tim Brokaw of Cleveland-based advertising firm Brokaw, Inc. (Neither here nor there, but what a brilliant bit of guerrilla marketing by the ad agency).
Originally a Tim Couch jersey, the glorified crying towel features some exceptionally undistinguished slingers of the pigskin. The truly sad thing isn’t how bad these guys turned out to be, but rather, how much false hope accompanied many of these gentlemen being named starter. Brady Quinn, anyone? Johnny Football? Yeah, football gods are cruel!
Additional names adorning the jersey: Ty Detmer, Doug Pederson, Spergon Wynn, Kelly Holcomb, Jeff Garcia, Luke McCown, Trent Dilfer, Charlie Frye, Derek Anderson, Ken Dorsey, Brady Quinn, Bruce Gradkowski, Colt McCoy, Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace, Brandon Weeden, Thaddeus Lewis, Jason Campbell, Brian Hoyer, Johnny Manziel, Connor Shaw, Josh McCown, Austin Davis.
But fans, the jersey is, in a sense, fake news at this point. For one, the official “jersey of sadness” was retired after the Cleveland Cavaliers won the 2016 NBA Championship. That’s right, the jersey of inglorious record is dead.
“It’s a new day in Cleveland,” Tim Brokaw wrote in an email after the Cavs’ improbable come-from-behind Finals win.. “We want to be a part of that. Not exactly how we planned it, but after last night’s historic performance, we realized all negative energy and bad juju should be eliminated from The Land. The dark cloud has been lifted.”
— Brokaw (@BrokawInc) June 20, 2016
Thus, the real jersey is no more. However, after more quarterback drama this preseason (thanks for nothing, Brock Osweiler), a photoshopped version of the jersey began making the rounds on social media. ESPN, with its usual keenness to push easy narratives disseminated the version of the real thing.
— Brokaw (@BrokawInc) August 24, 2017
Funny? Maybe. But that’s not a genuine jersey of sadness, folks!
DeShone Kizer, named the Browns starter after Brock Osweiler’s entirely Osweiler-ian pre season, has had enough of the dismal tally.
“You see that list grow and grow and grow and you hear the people and the chatter throughout the whole community, so now to be put on that list and hopefully ending that list will be an awesome, awesome situation for me, Kizer said per Marc Sessler of NFL.com.”
Kizer, who looks capable as an NFL starter, has had enough. The official jersey is no more, with Brokaw retiring it. Cleveland has cried enough tears to fill Lake Erie. Isn’t it time we let this damned story and reproductions of the garment die? Is there anyone, even the hated yinzers of Pittsburgh, who wouldn’t prefer the Browns find a franchise quarterback?
Let’s just assume the awaited-for messiah is DeShone Kizer and commit all phony versions of the jersey to the flames.