One draft the Browns didn’t mess up

The Seattle Seahawks owner has the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, but he isn’t sure his team should keep it.

He conveys this to his general manager, who explains that it’s tough to make a deal; you have to find someone who’s willing to overpay to get their hands on the No. 1 pick.

“So,” the owner says, “who’s the most desperate guy you know?”

The camera immediately jumps to Cleveland Browns Stadium.

I saw the film “Draft Day” Monday. I was visiting my family, which lives in the Cleveland area.

I bring this up because I got to see the movie in a theater full of Browns fans.

When the stadium popped up on the screen, the audience roared with an almost sad laughter.

“Desperate” sums up the real-life Cleveland Browns – and their fans – so well.

“Draft Day” is an unrealistic, simplistic, overly sentimental and trite movie.

I loved it.

Now, had this movie been about the Miami Dolphins, or the New York Jets, or even the Cincinnati Bengals, I wouldn’t have felt that way.

But the fact that the film is about something I have loved all my life – my professional football team – I was willing to leave my ever-present cynicism at the door.

“Draft Day” is not a film the caliber of “Major League,” the 1989 comedy about the Cleveland Indians. But just like that movie, it pulls at a Cleveland sports fan’s heart.

Lots of people, who live all over the country, enjoy the film “Major League.”

But it means more to Indians fans. That’s because it was created with an idea that most of us could relate to.

The writer of that film, David S. Ward, grew up in Cleveland, and – after years of watching his team stumble around in mediocrity – decided that if he ever wanted to see the Indians win a pennant, he’d have to make a movie where it would happen.

That’s why, when Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Wesley Snipes and Corbin Bernson celebrate at the end of the movie in Cleveland Indians’ costumes, it created an emotional moment for fans.

We had never SEEN anyone in Indians uniforms win anything.

In “Draft Day,” the premise is even less ambitious. General Manager Sonny Weaver (played by sports movie regular Kevin Costner) is wrestling with personal issues while trying to pull off a brilliant draft that will set the Browns up for success.

Not exactly winning the Super Bowl, is it? Although, to be fair, putting together a halfway decent draft has been a mighty challenge for the Browns over the past, oh, 40 years. So maybe it’s best to stay small.

Still, when the success comes, when players are seen getting fired up in Browns uniforms, and when real-life former players make cameos, it’s hard not to get sucked in.

Unlike “Major League,” “Draft Day” wasn’t written with the Browns specifically in mind. But there are enough things in the movie to suggest otherwise.

And really, is there a bigger underdog in all of pro sports than the Browns?

So, yes, I recommend the film, but mainly for fellow Cleveland fans. By the end of the film, there’s a feeling of genuine hope and excitement about the team these fictional characters have created.

And the way things have gone the last 15 years, who knows when – or if – that will happen for real.

Zach Baker is the sports editor for The Advertiser-Tribune.

Contact him at:

zbaker@ or on Twitter @Zachthewriter