Browns Owner Haslam Mixes Republican Politics With Football

Last July, when Dawg Pound fans thought Johnny Football was their ticket to the Super Bowl, Cleveland topped Dallas in the political arena, winning the right to host the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Beating Dallas, where Cowboy owner Jerry Jones invites Republicans like Chris Christie to his private box, was no small feat.

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and the Haslam Family deserve rings for donating a million dollars to the Republican National Committee to help make it happen.

It also helps when your younger brother is Bill Haslam, the Republican governor of Tennessee who Forbes lists as the richest politician in America.

Both Haslams are close to Ohio's Republican governor John Kasich who makes no secret about his presidential ambitions, or about being a Steelers fan.

Local media estimate that the four-day GOP shindig (July 18-21, 2016) that "Big Jim" helped bring to town will generate $400 million for the Greater Cleveland economy. That's $126 million more than what the Browns generate in a year ($276 million).

Putting aside high politics, Haslam and his front office may have put the playoff hopes of the Browns in limbo by signing journeyman quarterback Josh McCown.

McCown says that the Browns told him what his role is going to be but that he can't discuss it. Neither can GM Ray Farmer or current head coach Mike Pettine. Insiders and Cleveland sports media are tagging McCown as a transition quarterback who can fill in until "Big Jim" decides to "pull the trigger" again.

Haslam playing his cards close to his chest only reinforces the long history of dysfunctional team culture that Browns icon Bernie Kosar and sports pundits say hasn't gone away. Even NFL insiders are now yacking that the Manziel vs. Hoyer controversy and other team issues linked to ownership created a divided locker room but that the Browns PR machine covered it up.

Fans should keep in mind that on the Browns website Jimmy Haslam guarantees that he will give season ticket holders and the Dawg Pound a better "fan experience," not a Super Bowl.

With Kasich in the hunt for a slot on the GOP ticket, Jimmy can reap more financial rewards than what the Browns provide by helping his Buckeye buddy nail down the presidential or vice presidential nomination. Historically, Ohio is the most important "swing state" in presidential elections.

With Oddshark listing Haslam's Browns as a 66/1 shot to win the next Super Bowl the team won't be getting invited to the White House anytime soon. But if Haslam pal John Kasich is part of the winning GOP ticket next year "Big Jim" certainly will.