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False Start: How the New Browns Were Set Up to Fail

False Start: How the New Browns Were Set Up to Fail - Terry Pluto

False Start: How the New Browns Were Set Up to Fail


Chapter 1 Your Team Never Had a Chance

It was a fall Sunday and I had no understanding of football. I remember running into the house to ask my dad a question. He was in his sofa chair, watching the game on our Sylvania black and white TV. I was ready to run back outside when he almost begged me to watch the game with him. I vividly remember watching a player with No. 32 running and several opposing players bounced off him as he carried the football. I asked my dad, "How does he do that?" My dad said, "He keeps moving his legs." From there, my dad told me about Jim Brown and the Cleveland Browns. I was hooked. . . . My dad passed away when I was a high school senior. I will always have memories of us and our Browns. Our lying crossways across his bed listening to the Browns win the 1964 championship over the Baltimore Colts. His throwing me the football in our backyard while saying, "Frank Ryan hits Gary Collins with the touchdown pass . . . Bill Nelsen to Paul Warfield over the middle." Win or lose, they are always our Cleveland Browns.

--Martin T. Zimmer

Your team never had a chance.

Browns fans need to know that about the reincarnated franchise that returned to the National Football League in 1999.

The NFL never should have allowed Art Modell to hijack the franchise to Baltimore. And Modell never should have even considered moving the team when he had the perfect buyer sitting right next to him in his suite on game day--a man named Al Lerner. But Modell was one of the boys, a veteran owner, and the league loves to take care of its own. And if it's unfair to the fans, so what? They'll just put an expansion team in there and make even more money in the process.

It was all about money.

Never forget that.

Money for Modell, and money for his lodge brothers in the NFL owners boxes.

(Can anyone say Personal Seat License without reaching for the Tums?)

This is the book the NFL really doesn't want you to read. It's the story of how some of the best football fans in the country were betrayed, abused, and finally stuck with an inferior product--but charged more for it. What has been the return on their investment? What have fans, who bought every ticket for every game since the Browns came back in 1999, received as a reward?

Heartaches, headaches and frustration.

That should come as no surprise. The NFL hamstrung the new Browns from the beginning, and for very selfish reasons. This led to a variety of poor decisions that haunt the franchise to this day.

Is it possible the Browns can overcome all this and even be a contender any time soon?

This is the NFL, where it seems almost any team can make the Super Bowl, unless it happens to be playing in Cleveland. So, yes, the Browns could have a playoff team in the near future. They could be a factor in the playoffs. They could finally make their fans bark for joy rather than howl in pain. But if it happens, it's because the team has overcome a ridiculous number of obstacles, most of which were put into place by a league that has dollar signs for eyes.

And that makes me mad, because Browns fans deserve better.

Who is the typical Browns fan?

It may be Dan Gilles, who sent me this letter:

I don't weigh 500 pounds and wear some ratty old dog mask to games. I don't dress in any outlandish outfits. I don't tailgate or paint my vehicle brown and orange when I go to games.

So why is he such a great Browns fan?

I love my family. I love my fianc e. I love my friends and I love the Browns. Other than my wedding day, the Browns winning the Super Bowl would probably be the greatest day of my life. I can only compare the passing of my mother as being more painful than the moving of the Browns to Baltimore. My mother and I listened to that last home game in 1995. When Casey Coleman said the Browns players were shaking the fans' hands, it dawned on me that they were finally gone. My mother and I cried together after that game. That 1995 season did more to break my heart than any woman did.

But there's more . . .

I don't have season tickets, but I went to six games in 2003. They won one. I stayed to the very end each time. It would have been more fun if they were 6-0 instead of 1-5, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. What could possibly be better than being in the stands and rooting for your favorite team?

How about a team that wins at least half of its home games?

Most Browns fans are not insane. They don't think a great game is where they can throw up on someone and set a stadium record for F-bombs. They aren't the kind who show up at stadium parking lots for the high church of the NFL at 7 a.m. and begin throwing down shots of Jack Daniels in between cans of Budweiser. They don't stagger into the stadium and make the poor soul sitting next to them miserable for three hours. The drunken slobs are not the majority.

Somewhere at my parents' house, I still have Milt Morin's autograph. He signed a card for me at a church dinner. I have an autographed picture of Lou Groza, who attended several financial seminars taught by my dad. Ernie Green lived only a few blocks away, and I used to play with his kids. These players seemed a part of the town, you ran into them as part of everyday life. They were not remote heroes on a pedestal. I miss the Kardiac Kids. I even miss all the Browns songs . . . "Bernie, Bernie" . . . "The 12 Days of a Cleveland Browns Christmas." I remember when we'd gather around the TV and watch the Browns play. If the game was blacked out, we went to my grandmother's house because she had a large outdoor antenna and could pick up the Toledo station carrying the game.

--Nancy Brucken

Browns fans are special, and have a right to see themselves as such. As a sportswriter with the Akron Beacon

" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.

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Chapter 1 Your Team Never Had a Chance

It was a fall Sunday and I had no understanding of football. I remember running into the house to ask my dad a question. He was in his sofa chair, watching the game on our Sylvania black and white TV. I was ready to run back outside when he almost begged me to watch the game with him. I vividly remember watching a player with No. 32 running and several opposing players bounced off him as he carried the football. I asked my dad, "How does he do that?" My dad said, "He keeps moving his legs." From there, my dad told me about Jim Brown and the Cleveland Browns. I was hooked. . . . My dad passed away when I was a high school senior. I will always have memories of us and our Browns. Our lying crossways across his bed listening to the Browns win the 1964 championship over the Baltimore Colts. His throwing me the football in our backyard while saying, "Frank Ryan hits Gary Collins with the touchdown pass . . . Bill Nelsen to Paul Warfield over the middle." Win or lose, they are always our Cleveland Browns.

--Martin T. Zimmer

Your team never had a chance.

Browns fans need to know that about the reincarnated franchise that returned to the National Football League in 1999.

The NFL never should have allowed Art Modell to hijack the franchise to Baltimore. And Modell never should have even considered moving the team when he had the perfect buyer sitting right next to him in his suite on game day--a man named Al Lerner. But Modell was one of the boys, a veteran owner, and the league loves to take care of its own. And if it's unfair to the fans, so what? They'll just put an expansion team in there and make even more money in the process.

It was all about money.

Never forget that.

Money for Modell, and money for his lodge brothers in the NFL owners boxes.

(Can anyone say Personal Seat License without reaching for the Tums?)

This is the book the NFL really doesn't want you to read. It's the story of how some of the best football fans in the country were betrayed, abused, and finally stuck with an inferior product--but charged more for it. What has been the return on their investment? What have fans, who bought every ticket for every game since the Browns came back in 1999, received as a reward?

Heartaches, headaches and frustration.

That should come as no surprise. The NFL hamstrung the new Browns from the beginning, and for very selfish reasons. This led to a variety of poor decisions that haunt the franchise to this day.

Is it possible the Browns can overcome all this and even be a contender any time soon?

This is the NFL, where it seems almost any team can make the Super Bowl, unless it happens to be playing in Cleveland. So, yes, the Browns could have a playoff team in the near future. They could be a factor in the playoffs. They could finally make their fans bark for joy rather than howl in pain. But if it happens, it's because the team has overcome a ridiculous number of obstacles, most of which were put into place by a league that has dollar signs for eyes.

And that makes me mad, because Browns fans deserve better.

Who is the typical Browns fan?

It may be Dan Gilles, who sent me this letter:

I don't weigh 500 pounds and wear some ratty old dog mask to games. I don't dress in any outlandish outfits. I don't tailgate or paint my vehicle brown and orange when I go to games.

So why is he such a great Browns fan?

I love my family. I love my fianc e. I love my friends and I love the Browns. Other than my wedding day, the Browns winning the Super Bowl would probably be the greatest day of my life. I can only compare the passing of my mother as being more painful than the moving of the Browns to Baltimore. My mother and I listened to that last home game in 1995. When Casey Coleman said the Browns players were shaking the fans' hands, it dawned on me that they were finally gone. My mother and I cried together after that game. That 1995 season did more to break my heart than any woman did.

But there's more . . .

I don't have season tickets, but I went to six games in 2003. They won one. I stayed to the very end each time. It would have been more fun if they were 6-0 instead of 1-5, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. What could possibly be better than being in the stands and rooting for your favorite team?

How about a team that wins at least half of its home games?

Most Browns fans are not insane. They don't think a great game is where they can throw up on someone and set a stadium record for F-bombs. They aren't the kind who show up at stadium parking lots for the high church of the NFL at 7 a.m. and begin throwing down shots of Jack Daniels in between cans of Budweiser. They don't stagger into the stadium and make the poor soul sitting next to them miserable for three hours. The drunken slobs are not the majority.

Somewhere at my parents' house, I still have Milt Morin's autograph. He signed a card for me at a church dinner. I have an autographed picture of Lou Groza, who attended several financial seminars taught by my dad. Ernie Green lived only a few blocks away, and I used to play with his kids. These players seemed a part of the town, you ran into them as part of everyday life. They were not remote heroes on a pedestal. I miss the Kardiac Kids. I even miss all the Browns songs . . . "Bernie, Bernie" . . . "The 12 Days of a Cleveland Browns Christmas." I remember when we'd gather around the TV and watch the Browns play. If the game was blacked out, we went to my grandmother's house because she had a large outdoor antenna and could pick up the Toledo station carrying the game.

--Nancy Brucken

Browns fans are special, and have a right to see themselves as such. As a sportswriter with the Akron Beacon

" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.


" A book] NFL fans in general and Browns' fans in particular will definitely want to read ... a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how the new Browns were created and what's kept them from making the progress everyone expected." -- Houston Chronicle

"Your team never had a chance."

Terry Pluto, one of Cleveland's top sportswriters, takes a hard look at the unhappy beginnings of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. This book chronicles the backroom deals, big-money power plays, poor decisions, and plain bad luck that have dogged the venerable team since Art Modell skipped town in 1995.

When the new Cleveland Browns took the field in 1999, it was supposed to be the dawn of a grand new era of football in Cleveland. Instead, it was a rude wakeup call.

Legions of loyal fans--once heartsick, abandoned, and disgusted at the loss of their team in 1995--were ready to forgive the past and embrace the future ... a new owner, a new team, a new stadium. They just wanted their Browns back. But it soon became clear: Browns fans got a bum deal. The NFL had traded one of the most storied teams in football history for a franchise mired in mediocrity.

These fans, after owner Art Modell skipped town with their beloved Browns, became the only fans ever to take on the NFL, demand their team back--and win. Yet while they were celebrating the supposed victory that kept "our name, our colors, our team" in Cleveland, fans should have been looking over their shoulders and keeping a close watch on the NFL. There would be few reasons to celebrate in the years to come.

How much longer would they have to wait for a return to glory? Pluto sifts through the clues and looks for answers. This is a book the NFL does not want you to read.

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