Browns Saying No Mas To Generalisimo Mangini?

In the glory days of the 49ers, owner Eddie DeBartolo was infamous for packing up the entire team and trundling them off to Hawaii for a couple of days of R&R, on his own dime. Just a gesture to show you how much we care, you adorable lugs. And coach Bill Walsh was noted for his light practices and tendency to dress as a bellhop at the team hotel. Current Browns coach Eric Mangini has a different approach.

Eric Mangini

Five of his players are pursuing grievances with the NFLPA for his prolific use of the ticket book. The Browns coach as fined players for such things as illegal parking, having their cell phones go off in meetings, and my favorite: Not paying a hotel bill for a $3 bottle of water. And judging by Sunday’s 34-3 loss to Baltimore, the players may have had enough. Have the Browns quit on Mangini?

That may be impossible to gauge accurately, but CBS Sportsline’s Gregg Doyel, who is never shy about typing his opinion, has an interesting take. He says that either they’ve quit big time, or they’re the worst team in the history of foootball.

OK, maybe not the worst in HISTORY. But close.

Judging from their hopeless 34-3 loss Sunday to Baltimore, a game in which the Browns couldn’t run, throw, block or tackle, the Browns have either quit on Mangini — or they’re simply the worst team in the NFL. …

Those are the options. Either the Browns have quit on Mangini, or those players should be released immediately. … But I suspect something else happened Sunday. I suspect the Browns have quit on the coach. And if you follow the Browns at all, or if you don’t follow the Browns but you had the misfortune of watching Sunday’s game on television, you suspect the same thing.

Mangini doesn’t suspect a damn thing, of course. I asked him straight out: Did the players quit on you?

And he said: “No. No. And if at any point I do identify anything like that, they won’t be playing in the weeks to come.”

Perhaps Mangini has given his players every reason to quit on him. Reportedly, almost 10 percent of the Browns’ active roster — five players out of 53 — have or are in the process of filing grievances against Mangini, who last week fined a player $1,701 for not paying for a $3 bottle of water out of a hotel fridge. Even the NCAA is saying, “That’s harsh.”

And ESPN commenter chimes in:

could this season get any more ridiculous already??!?!? I hate my life. — spoofybeme2005 September 27, 2009, 8:41 AM ET

Or, you know, there’s always the possibility that Mangini has quit on the Browns. Down 27-0 in the fourth quarter on Sunday with the ball on the Baltimore 12, Mangini opted to kick a field goal. Now think about that for a second. What’s the psychological upside to that decision? The only person I can think of who would be happy with a field goal in that situation would be Hot Lips from the movie version of M*A*S*H.

“Three points!”

“Hot Lips, you incredible nincompoop. We’re still down by 24.”