The Mayfield Controversy, Cleveland style

Kate Arhar
Cleveland Browns Reporter

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8

Quarterback controversy is never in short supply for Cleveland Browns fans. But this year, the selection of Baker Mayfield at #1 seems to be even more of an issue than ever.

I’m sure I’ll get a lot of heat for saying this, but as fans, it’s our own fault. Too many folks simply believe whatever is told to them by the local media, don’t think or research for themselves, and just regurgitate the “Hot Take of the Day” that they heard on the radio or read on twitter.

Cleveland is actually very different from any other city I’ve found in that, it has TWO full-time sports talk radio stations. Between ESPN 850am and CBS Radio’s 92.3 The Fan, fans can listen to 28 hours of local sports talk a day. And two of those hours are Cleveland Browns Daily, which broadcasts from the Browns facility in Berea and runs all year round. That’s right – we talk football for two hours every weekday all year long.

This much sports talk is comprised of six co-hosted shows and two solo hosts…that’s 14 guys telling us what to think about sports. Two of them are former NFL players who bring a perspective of “Been There, Done That.” Je’Rod Cherry, New England Patriots and three Super Bowls, and Dustin Fox, OSU Buckeye and Vikings/Eagles/Bills, play second chair on their shows but have real credibility as far as how the NFL works.

I only mention these stats to point out that, after listening to sports talk on an internet radio app for the last three months in Atlanta, Phoenix, Denver, and Dallas, I  haven’t found another city with this much airtime dedicated to sports. If you know of a city like Cleveland, please let me know!

Anyone who listens to radio in CLE knows that it’s overwhelmingly football talk. Why today, for example, the Cavaliers are getting ready for the next round of the playoffs, the Indians really struggled against the Brewers in interleague play, yet one of our stations was actually playing The Browns Schedule Game. That’s right – they went through the upcoming season schedule and predicted W’s and L’s for each week.

Before the draft, I can only remember one sports talk host who had Baker Mayfield at the top of his list. One compared him to Johnny Manziel, one promised to eat horse poop if the Browns drafted him, and the rest all preferred either Sam Darnold, Josh Allen or Josh Rosen. And the fans bought into those opinions. Fans believed these guys who are paid to talk sports every day must know what they are talking about, so they let those opinions sway their personal choice for the new QB. And we all know how much fans hate to be wrong.

Now, most fans follow the “what’s done is done” philosophy and get onboard with the player the Browns draft/sign/trade for. We wear our Orange-Colored-Glasses proudly and learn to like what they do because, really, what other option is there.  As the Mayfield rumors gained traction on the day of the draft, fans started to come around:

But most of the media members and fans were not happy. They continue to rant, rail, complain and worry about Mayfield’s height despite the fact that he had the lowest percentage of passes batted down at the line of scrimmage in the Big 12 Conference. Or his career touchdown-to-interception ratio of 131 to 30. While in college they play a spread offense that gives him big throwing windows, he still needs to have the raw talent and intelligence (Football IQ, if you will) to see those windows and hit his man. Which he did, hence his Heisman Trophy.

After all is said and done, all it really takes for a Browns Fan to fall in love with a player is to find out that another team (The Patriots) wanted him. It seems that if someone else shows interest in our players or prospects, we find them more attractive. Just another aspect of listening to opinions from the media and believing them.

Too many media members “stuck their flag” in the “Mayfield sucks” soil. They’ve painted themselves into a corner and refuse to back off their statements. It’s frustrating as a listener/reader to know someone is wrong and still see so many others buying into that wrongness. I understand that they have hours of talk radio to fill and while we really won’t know until the season actually starts, sometimes I fear that these opinions are more about “clicks” and ratings than true belief.

As for me, right or wrong, my opinions are always my own. Feel free to read what I write but form your own opinion. And disagreements, when respectfully communicated, are always welcome. We can’t learn unless we exchange ideas. But you also have to be willing to be wrong, to change your mind, to adjust your opinion.

Because the last time I checked, no one was right 100% of the time, and it’s far easier to change your mind if you haven’t gone so far as to threaten to quit your job or eat poo… But maybe that’s just me.



Talk Browns with Kate on Twitter // @ClvlndK8 

#SmartWomen #SmartFootball 


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