Blog: New Browns Stadium name is just a sign outside

10:26 PM, Jan 15, 2013   |    comments
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It's about what goes on inside an NFL football stadium that counts, no matter what is written on the outside.

For those of you unhappy for whatever reason about the Cleveland Browns stadium being renamed FirstEnergy Stadium, Ome of the Cleveland Browns, get over it. How can what is written on the outside of a building affect what goes on inside the stadium?

I mean, how well have we done the last several years in a stadium named Cleveland Browns Stadium?  

And actually, to the say the stadium is being renamed is not exactly accurate, as it never really had a name except the generic Cleveland Browns Stadium.

And, of course, it's not official until Cleveland City Council signs off on it but that is just a formality in this case. The City of Cleveland owns the stadium and the Browns and Jimmy Haslam are tenants so, in effect, the taxpayers own the stadium.

You may be asking, then why did FirstEnergy pay money for the naming rights to Haslam and the Browns?

Well, you have former Cleveland Mayor Mike White to thank for that, as the original agreement he and city council agreed to have all monies from the naming rights -- if ever sold -- to the Browns.

Well, I wouldn't begrudge Haslam whatever millions he and the Browns get because he paid $1.05 billion for the Browns, a lot of money for a team with a lot of potential but not a lot of winning ways in the past years.

Besides, more money for the Browns means more money to pay great players (and maybe pay for kicker Phil Dawson) and to maybe put a dome on teh stadium so it can be used year 'round.

In no particular order, here are some other observations.

First of all, since irony is always appealing, know that the electrical power that powers the stadium comes from Cleveland Public Power, not FirstEnergy, according to city records.

For that we have former Cleveland Mayor Dennis Kucinich to thank because in December 1978, while he was mayor 1977-79, he refused to sell the then-named Municipal Light Company that Cleveland owned.

Kucinich refused to sell the company when a number of banks, which were heavily invested in Muny Light's privately owned competitor, the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company -- better known as CEI or The Illuminating Company and now owned by FirstEnergy -- refused to roll over the city's debt, as had previously been customary.

Now, this was seen as a really bad move at the time as, unable to pay its debts, the city became the first since the Great Depression to enter default. But Kucinich's decision was later vindicated by both city officials and the U.S. Senate, which found that CEI and the banks had acted improperly.

Next, I figure that I would rather see the stadium named after a company that is locally based than a nationwide company.

See, the Cleveland Indians sold the naming rights to the downtown baseball stadium to Progressive, a national company based in Mayfield Village. Similarly, FirstEnergy is based in Akron.

I would eschew having a stadium named MetLife Stadium, Heinz Field or FedEx Stadium. But that being said, take a look at the teams that play in those stadiums -- the New York Giants/New York Jets, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Washington Redskins.

With the exception of the Jets -- who made a mess getting QB Tim Tebow who may now be headed to Arizona and made a mess of their last season -- can you honestly say that what it says on the outside of the stadium has any bearing on the outcome of the game played on the inside?

With the exception of Cleveland comedian Mike Polk's "Factory of Sadness" dubbing of the stadium, has what the stadium been named ever factored into your thinking?

I assume the answer is no.

And although you may dislike the Baltimore Ravens, can you even name their stadium? (It's the M&T Bank Stadium.) And their season's won-loss record is better than the Browns' record right now.

Maybe the new name will "energize" the Browns players. My thinking is the players will be more interested in other things.

I suggest everyone gets over the naming because, after all is said and done, and usually more is said than done, does it really matter?


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