Dear Jimmy Haslam III,
No small task you've inherited, sir.
In your hands, you hold the future of a team that's wandered the wilderness for decades. The franchise's recent accomplishments -- breaking hearts, shredding hopes and losing 14 out of 15 games to the Pittsburgh Steelers since Big Ben hit town -- are bleak.
In a word: HELP.
It's been a broken record in C-Town for a million moons. The time has come for sweeping change. An all-out culture reboot, sir. Nothing is too sacred. Roll with me on this one.
A few ideas:
Revive the stadium: Old Cleveland Municipal was a treasure and a raucous, unsettling environment for opponents. Visiting quarterbacks were treated like a guy who just punched your mother out. That old lakefront coliseum had energy. It was a house of possibilities. None of that exists today. The new place is a weekly serving of vanilla ice cream. Address this immediately. Bring back the circus.
Change the uniforms: "Our team, our colors." That was the war cry when Art Modell shipped the franchise to Baltimore, but tweaks are in order. Elements of the fan base won't agree, but new duds are long overdue. Keep the colors, sure, but let Nike go to work. Mix things up a bit. Discuss.
Build a new practice facility: The Berea complex is a house of horrors. Beat writer Tony Grossi jokingly refers to it as "The Happiest Place on Earth." One failed regime after another has paraded through. The place stinks of a failed past. Torch it. Make it so a blade of grass never grows on this land again. Build a new facility elsewhere -- one free from the dark energy that's poisoned this house since the team's move in 1995.
Find your soul mate: Every great owner has his coach. Pat Shurmur has 10 games to make his case. If he can turn this thing around, God bless him. If he can't, it's time to find your Bill Belichick, your Jimmy Johnson, your Tom Coughlin. In a division that houses the Steelers and Ravens, the blueprint is clear.
Become one with your fans: This is paramount. Take a long weekend. Rent a cabin along Lake Erie. Fill it with the following: (1) Rations of your choosing; (2) Possibly some of the hard stuff; and (3) Full-length, unadulterated game film of "Red Right 88," "The Drive," "The Fumble," and -- just for kicks -- good ol' "Bottlegate." Brood on these as the lakewind blows. Keep these tapes in a vault and never lay eyes on the wreckage again.
You're writing history now.