Sunday morning began in Cleveland with anticipation, with hope. Hope that a new day was dawning and that the litany of Browns starting quarterback failures since 1999 was coming to an end.
But alas, three hours, one game....that's all it took for the masses in Cleveland, a desperate horde who'd been clamoring for the replacement of Brian Hoyer and the debut of Johnny Football, to turn heel on Johnny Manziel.
Whether 15 years of ignominious football should give Cleveland fans the right to be impatient is up for debate, but there is no denying this -- Johnny Manziel did nothing to justify the giddiness Cleveland felt at kickoff on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Calling Manziel's stat line Sunday pedestrian would be an insult to all things pedestrian, as he completed 10 of 18 passes for 80 yards, no touchdowns, and two absolutely terrible junior high interceptions, one on a desperate heave into triple coverage in one of the Browns' few trips into the Bengals' red zone on Sunday.
So how did Browns fans react to the realization that Manziel might just be the next body in the "failure graveyard" of Browns quarterbacks?
Not well. Not well at all.
Some of them burned Browns stuff....
....although admittedly I'm not entirely certain that those are Johnny Manziel shirts/jerseys on the grill. (I'm also not certain that these fans didn't actually eat these shirts.)
The good news is that if these Browns fans need more kindling on their "Browns shirt inferno," it just got a whole lot cheaper. Yes, one game into his career as a starter and Manziel's shirts are on CLEARANCE at at least one outlet....
— Nick Salvatore (@NSalvs) December 15, 2014
Of course, this Browns fan may have had the simplest solution of all for Manziel to get his groove back....
Of course! Why didn't Mike Pettine think of that? MORE COKE!!!!!!
For what it's worth, the Browns' best quarterback of the modern era, Bernie Kosar, thinks the franchise's culture and approach are not at all conducive to a young quarterback succeeding:
"It's just a complete recipe for a disaster," Kosar said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
"You can't put these [quarterbacks] in these spots," Kosar added. "It's almost abuse. If you're going to keep running it the way we're running it, we may as well do nothing [to fix the quarterback situation], because you'll kill two more kids coming in here. It'll fail. It does not matter right now."
"You can take out Brian, you can take out Johnny Manziel's name and you can plug in [Tim] Couch . . . [Derek] Anderson, Brady Quinn, Colt McCoy. . . . The names change, but the way we do things as a culture above them is still the same and yeah he wasn't ready, but the team's not ready. . . .
"They've been talking so positively like 'this is the savior' and that's what bad organizations do," Kosar explained. "They set these quarterback controversies up and it kind of takes the heat off of them and it gives everybody a little glimmer of hope. . . . The organization and the players and coaches actually thought [Manziel] was going to do good. I know they believed he was going to do good."
One game in, the Johnny Football Era is an early train wreck, blending in perfectly with the rest of the Browns' recent history.
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