Well, according to the NFL, yes.
On Monday, the NFL announced that it was suspending Browns’ GM Ray Farmer for the first four games of the 2015 season, as well as fining the Browns $250,000, as punishment for violating the NFL’s electronic device policy during the 2014 season. Now, if you’re like me, you vaguely recall this texting scandal coming to light sometime around the middle of February. However, again if you’re like me, you probably never really understood what exactly occurred, or why it was that relevant. And honestly you probably didn’t care that much since you figured that it was inconsequential. Well, now is the point where I admit that I was wrong to assume that this scandal meant nothing. But for you all that still aren’t really sure what exactly happened, here’s the gist of it:
During a number of games last season, Ray Farmer exchanged text messages with former Browns’ QB Coach Dowell Loggains. Why? Well, they were supposedly talking about the ongoing games, as Farmer attempted to discern upcoming decisions by Loggains and former OC Kyle Shanahan and potentially influence ones he did not agree with.
But why? As in for what reason?
By the time that Farmer is able to compose a text message, send it, have Loggains read, and then have Loggains come up with a cogent and convincing argument to present to Shanahan as to why a certain decision should be made, the relevant decision is already null as the situation will have already passed. I mean, we are talking about the NFL here. There isn’t really time for a long back and forth arguing over playcalls and the like – those are kind of split-second decisions. And there really is no use in sitting around actively criticizing the calls of your OC during the game. I mean wait until Monday morning in the meeting room, or postgame in the locker room. Hell, if the calls bother you that much then fire the bastard, but don’t sit around texting the guy one rung below him on the ladder. That’s just stupid, and nowhere close to worth the associated risks.
At the same time though, four games?!! Are you serious!?! For using a mobile device during a game?! I mean correct me if I’m wrong here, but what is essentially happening is that a General Manager is being punished for being too involved in his team. That is, because he was attempting to manage his team in a close and hands-on way (and not in a general manner I guess?), he is being forced into missing one quarter of the season. And this is by no means the least important quarter of the year – this is the first quarter of the regular season. You know, the time of year when coaches and managers are still working out the kinks and quirks in their rosters and are having to cut players and sign casualties of preseason roster cuts. So yeah, now the Browns get to go through that without Ray Farmer. So yay for that dumb decision.
Now, don’t get me wrong; I love Ray Farmer. I personally think he is among the top tier of managers in the League right now, and although he is still working out being in the position in which he is, I trust his decision making abilities, and he very clearly has what is best for the time at the forefront of his mind. Who knows, maybe this texting thing was a whole elaborate hoax designed to make Shanahan angry and to force him to leave of his own decision. He could be taking one for the team right now, knowing that Shanahan wasn’t the correct fit for this team and that wasting another year with him running the offense would be a waste of time. I mean yes, that is a bit farfetched, but you never know…
Anyway, the point is, Ray Farmer made what appears to be a real dumb decision that will hurt the team somewhat next season during the suspension. But he is still a hell of a manager, and him and Mike Pettine are the future of this team. So, just as you did in February, go ahead and sweep this whole texting thing under the rug and forget about it. Come our wildcard victory over former Browns QB Brian Hoyer and the Texans, none of us fans are going to remember or care.