The Plain Dealer’s 1999 Browns Season Preview: An Examination

A pop quiz on the occasion of me jonesing for the start of football season:

Which former Cleveland Browns Head Coach was described by The Plain Dealer as having “the sound of a winner”?

A. Paul Brown

B. Marty Schottenheimer

C. Chris Palmer

D. Bill Belichick

The answer is …(drumroll)… C-Palms!

My grandma recently gutted her attic and, in doing so, unearthed a stash of historically significant newspapers.  The front-page fodder was mostly political (JFK’s assassination, Clinton’s impeachment, hanging chads) with the exception of one event: the rebirth of the Cleveland Browns.  With hindsight being 20/20, I sat down and devoured a lot of information on the 1999 squad, all recorded before the first game – a 43-0 loss to the Steelers.  Here are my findings:

CHRIS PALMER AIN’T NEVER TOLD NO LIE

“Fumbling the football,” Palmer said one day in training camp, his eyes burning like lasers into the guilty party, “will get you cut.”

Tim Couch fumbled fourteen times – 14! – in 1999 and remained with the team until 2003.

LUGGING A WATER COOLER WAS ONCE THE HAPPIEST THING TO DO

Having read all these words on the expansion Browns, I am quite content to be in 2012.  But this full-page ad rendered me kinda sentimental about the 20th century.  All those times I promenaded down the driveway with my mom (egregiously underdressed, carrying some sort of breadbasket-purse hybrid) and dad (who was cool enough to gel his hair, but aware enough of the threshold he had crossed some years ago that prohibited him from frosting his tips), orange cooler in hand, readying myself for the Browns game but secretly excited for the pit stop at Kohl’s before the Browns game, which of course was the place to be when it came to showing my support for the team – those were the days!

FRAN PALMER, CHRIS’S DAD, SHOULD HAVE TEMPERED HIS EXPECTATIONS FOR THE 1999 BROWNS

“I’m not predicting nothing for this year,” Fran says.  “I just hope they win more than three games.”

The 1999 Browns finished the season with a 2-14 record.

THE 2012 BROWNS COULD BENEFIT FROM THE SERVICES OF LESLIE SHEPHERD, BECAUSE THEY NEED A PROVEN PLAYMAKER

On the receiving corps, which consisted of Leslie Shepherd, Kevin Johnson, Damon Gibson, Darrin Chiaverini, and Ronnie Powell:

Shepherd is the only proven playmaker.

Shepherd ended the year with 274 yards on 23 receptions, considerably smaller numbers than rookie Kevin Johnson (986 yards, 66 receptions) and Scrawl So Hard devotee Darrin Chiaverini (487 yards, 44 receptions).

OWEN MARECIC IS UPHOLDING THE TRADITION OF FULLBACK-LINEBACKERS IN CLEVELAND

Consider Tarek Saleh:

DAVE BURBA HAS PROBABLY LOST MONEY IN VEGAS

 

UMM…

Uprgrade: Palmer over Belichick.

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