Thursday, November 22, 2012

Inflatable flag fiasco

What in the world are the Browns thinking?

The so-called wise heads in the club’s marketing department have allowed themselves to become a part of one of the most hair-brained ideas in quite some time.

Fans entering Cleveland Browns Stadium for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers will be handed inflatable white flags. Except, of course, those 20,000 or so Pittsburgh fans sporting a bright yellow Terrible Towel.

It appears to be a part of a promotion with the NFL Ticket Exchange.

Isn’t it bad enough the Browns are 2-8 and going nowhere for the umpteenth time in the last 14 seasons? Isn’t it bad enough the club’s record makes it enough of a laughingstock without this kind of distraction?

All someone in the club’s marketing department had to say to the National Football League was no, thank you, that’s a stupid idea.

Words fail me as to how embarrassing this is. Brian McIntyre of Yahoo sports couldn’t have put it any better.

“Your team name is Browns,” he wrote. “Your team’s helmets are orange. Each of those colors would have made for a far more suitable choice for a flag than white, which is the universal sign for signaling truce or surrender.”

After all, the Steelers have won 14 of the last 15 meetings between the teams and are 23-4 against the Browns since 1999.

The Web site Deadspin also weighed in with this: There’s nothing that would intimidate the Steelers more than for them to come of the locker room to a stadium full of fans essentially saying, “Stop, please. No more. Mercy.”

That was followed by numerous snide remarks, including “When you sit on (the flags), they play the Browns’ fight song”, “They were going to give away real flags, but reconsidered because we like to throw things” and more pointedly, “As a fan of the better-than-their-record Browns, this makes me sick.”

So are these flags supposed to neutralize the Pittsburgh towels? Are they supposed to serve as a rallying cry in the event the team needs one? What exactly is their significance?

Can’t wait to see how the public relations arm of the team spins this one. The explanation might be more preposterous than the promotion itself.

Memo to Jimmy Haslam III: Can’t you see how silly this looks? You are now the owner and in a position to stop it. Never mind that’s it’s a league promotion. Tell the league to shove it. In a reasonable way, of course.

What takes place Sunday if this promotion is carried out is the definitive answer to the following question: How low can you go?

Time to step in, Jimmy, put a nice bow on it and ship it to another franchise. Like the Steelers.

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