<
>

Cleveland Browns: No. 110

As soon as they drafted Manziel, the Browns learned of Josh Gordon's possible suspension. AP Photo/Tony Dejak

This story is part of ESPN The Magazine's September 29 Fansourced Issue. Subscribe today!

Last year's ranking: 109
Title track: 111
Ownership: 111
Coaching: 96
Players: 104
Fan relations: 115
Affordability: 72
Stadium experience: 104
Bang for the buck: 95

The utterance of 15 words on draft day -- "With the 22nd pick of the 2104 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns select Johnny Manziel" -- sent Cleveland into a state of pandemonium: 2,300 season tickets were sold in less than 24 hours, and Manziel's No. 2 jersey rocketed to No. 1 in the league in sales. The Browns were on cloud nine, happiness reigned, fans rejoiced ... and then came the news of wide receiver Josh Gordon's potential yearlong suspension for a failed drug test. Browns fans couldn't even get a measly 24 hours of uninterrupted joy.

The football gods have long been cruel to Cleveland, because few franchises can match this city's enthusiasm for the sport. The team's official fan club -- Browns Backers Worldwide -- has more than 100,000 members, and the most depraved fans have been known to drive all the way to Baltimore just to urinate next to Art Modell's grave. (Actually, it's only about eight hours and change, without bathroom breaks.) And no franchise is in more dire need of a durable QB. Last season Jason Campbell became the 20th starting quarterback the franchise has had since 1999 after Brandon Weeden faltered and Brian Hoyer went down with a knee injury. The QB situation got so bad that then-43-year-old Jeff Garcia was offering up his services, and the front office signed a D3 QB best known for a viral trick-shot video. Former LB Scott Fujita called the Browns a "rudderless ship," and they certainly didn't get much help off the field. Several coach interviewees declined the Browns' advances, and Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase told them to not even bother.

On a sunnier note, franchise legend Jim Brown had his Ring of Honor ceremony last season and was given a key to the city, and there are new jumbo scoreboards at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Browns climbed the rankings a bit in affordability (up eight spots) and stadium experience (up three), but the scoreboards have cost the stadium 3,000 seats. That might pose a problem when Johnny Football moves under center, but after the stretch this franchise has endured, it should be so fortunate to have such problems.