OPINION: True dog day afternoon

Dante Centofanti NEW Headshot

Dante Centofanti

Baker Mayfield reminds me a lot of Sonny Wortzik. Wortzik, the main character in “Dog Day Afternoon,” is one of my favorite film characters of all-time. They’re both fiery, intelligent men of the people. They also both have a famous catchphrase, with Wortzik yelling “Attica” while Mayfield has his famous   “I woke up dangerous” line. The Cleveland Browns haven’t had anything like Baker Mayfield since the end of the Clinton administration. But Mayfield brings with him something more than just his personality.

Long term optimism.

This optimism hasn’t always been around the Browns, though. Prior to this season, the past three years were a slog from the Browns, thanks in part to the direction of their front office. By firing Sashi Brown and Paul DePodesta, Browns co-owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam admitted they made a mistake, and they knew they needed to replace them with someone who loved the game of football. That person was John Dorsey.

Ever since Dorsey was hired, the Browns have been encapsulated in an aura of excitement. Dorsey’s tenure began with him trading for an All-Pro receiver in Jarvis Landry and was able to realize through the struggles of the past two seasons for this team there were pieces to work with.

John Dorsey lives and breathes the game of football, and seemed to understand that the people who had previously held his job spent their tenures filling the minds and hearts of Browns fans with empty promises. He also knew that he had big decisions to make with the 1st and 4th pick in the draft and chose to take a chance on 2017 Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield and Ohio State’s shutdown corner Denzel Ward.

I had more fun with the 2018 Cleveland Browns then I had in any iteration of the Browns, and this year’s team had a certain flavor about them that I loved. Now, I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I know damn well that I looked like a paper shredder the way that I was ripping apart Mayfield during his feud with former coach Hue Jackson.

And yes, I indeed did. But that feud withstanding, Baker Mayfield is the personification of what I love most in NFL players.  Prior to this season, the Browns had failed to establish a long-term winning culture. A winning culture brings with it a confidence and swagger, something Dorsey and Mayfield exuded almost the entire season.

Baker Mayfield loves this franchise and the city as a whole. Not only did Mayfield put up amazing numbers, but almost every member of the sports media is understandably infatuated by his glowing and intelligent personality. He is a fiery competitor on the field yet incredibly poised and respectful off the field.

This time last season, there was a feeling of uncertainty of the Browns, but now the Browns fanbase has an almost bulletproof feeling of optimism. The Browns also finally have some personnel with brands as well.

Whether it be Dorsey with his sweaters and mouthful of Bazooka Joe, Mayfield with his karate kid headband or Kitchens with his “Dawg Pound” Hoodie, the Browns finally have national brands that are positive. The Browns are a locomotive hurtling towards the station, and the rest of the league should get out of the way.

Dante Centofanti is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected].