Truck stop magnate Jimmy Haslam bought the ill-fated franchise from clueless legacy owner Randy Lerner in 2012 for $987 million. Forbes says the team is now worth $1.95 billion in spite of posting one of the worst records in the recent history of the NFL.
Haslam recently sold 38% of his Pilot Flying J truck stop business to tycoon Warren Buffet, who has committed to buying a majority interest in the company in 2023. For reasons best known to himself, the 63 year old Haslam is getting out of the business that was started by his father on little more than a dime and a dream.
Considering Haslam’s star crossed knack for picking the wrong quarteback, the wrong coaches and wrong front office managers, maybe its time for Jimmy and co-owner wife Kay to quit while they are ahead and sell the Browns to folks committed to bringing in first rate football minds who are above antics like “pulling the trigger” and “phonegate” and leave them alone to do their job of bringing winning football culture back to the team that plays its home games just 50 miles from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
With northern Ohio sports journos effectively all in on the tightly controlled NFL content and coverage model that seeks to contain fan criticism and add value to its franchise brands, there is little questioning of Jimmy Haslam sticking with his long term plan to “rebuild,” leaving the fan base to revel in tough love ad infinitum. Since November, 2014, the Browns have posted a record of 4 wins and 43 losses, the worst 47 game stretch in the history of the NFL.
Desperate for coverage of winning football in Northern Ohio, the Cleveland Plain Dealer is now giving the Ohio State Buckeyes as much coverage as they give the Browns. It’s gotten that bad.