Ever wonder what it would be like to be a Steelers fan and own a different franchise? Yeah me neither, but it could be a reality real soon. Randy Lerner, lead stake holder in the Cleveland Browns since their rebirth in 1999, wants to give up controlling interest of the team. Who’s at the top of the list of interest in buying the team from Lerner – a Steelers fan.
Not just any Steelers fan either – one who is self-described as being a ‘1,000% ‘ Steelers fan and a minority owner of the same organization. Jimmy Haslam, president and CEO of the Pilot J truck stops across the U.S. has begun talks with Lerner to acquire controlling stake of the Browns. The main concern from the Browns and team president Mike Holmgren is to keep the Browns in Cleveland. And why wouldn’t Haslam keep the Browns in Cleveland? There’s no chance of redrawing the division lines, and the Steelers (and Bengals and Ravens) love kicking around one of the worst teams in the NFL. Why acquire the team and then move them and risk taking two wins away from your beloved Black & Gold. Ok, maybe moving them to L.A. would be more profitable. But, who cares about profit when you are a ‘1,000%’ Steelers fan?
Whether or not Browns fans will be at all thrilled if this transaction goes through is unclear. Pretty much any citizen of the Dawg Pound disliked Lerner for his aloof approach when controlling the team. Maybe they’ll think, ‘Well if the team’s still going to be in the shitter, at least it’s because the owner is trying to make that happen.’ I’m not really for this kind of thing. Even if Haslam’s intentions are genuine and just wants to make money, you kind of want any and all members of your opposition to be fans of their own team – let alone have any stake in a rival organization. Obviously, he would lose his stake in the Steelers. It’s all in the spirit of competition.
More details are sure to unfold as the discussion continue and as the league begins to oversee everything. LaCanfora released details today that the deal could be as much as $900 million (but less than $1 billion).
What are your thoughts on a Steelers fan owning the Cleveland Browns?