Keidel: Baker Mayfield And Browns Should Win Something Before Criticizing Giants


Some partnerships, be they personal or professional, are just right. 

For example: the new gridiron marriage between Browns QB Baker Mayfield and his newly-minted wingman, Odell Beckham Jr. Both are wildly talented and internally tormented, the most gifted rust-belt duet, since LeBron and Kyrie, are in a fishbowl of their own making.

In a recent interview with ESPN, Mayfield added layers to his imagined foes by chiding Giants fans. Specifically, the moody QB said that Beckham is "here to work, and he wants to be surrounded by people who love and support him and allow him to be himself." 

Why does Baker Mayfield care about the Giants or their well-known, well-heeled devotees? He should not. But evidently, Beckham did not feel he was allowed to be his eccentric best in the Big Apple. And as Beckham's new QB, Mayfield felt he had to shield his wideout from the big, bad public. 

This is typical of Mayfield and Beckham, who already possessed growing levels of narcissism on their own. But now that they've joined forces, they can walk in theatrical lockstep through the 2019 NFL season.

For all their athletic splendor, Mayfield and Beckham come with curious judgment. They are perfect emblems of the modern athlete, bubbling with talent but boiling over with self-obsession. Likewise, there are those from the media and masses who already have the new-look Browns contending for a Super Bowl. Despite all the fossils of fallen super teams, all the proof that me-first players don't work in we-first sports, and despite the dearth of personal accomplishment from either player, the view of both is clearly warped.

For a member of the Cleveland Browns to speak poorly of a proud, monolithic franchise like the Giants, or their fans, speaks to the plague of ignorance that has kept the Browns in the dungeons of the NFL. 

Indeed, the Browns were so popular that they once moved to Baltimore. They were so smart they fired Bill Belichick. They were so well run they recently went 1-33 on the gridiron. The Giants have played in five Super Bowls since 1986, winning four of them. The Browns have yet to win a Super Bowl ring because they have yet to play for one.

With our allergy to the low-key greatness in New England, plus our eternal rush to find the next great thing, the Browns have surged to become the trendy team of the summer. Though they have not played a single NFL game together, Mayfield, Beckham and their Browns are now Super Bowl contenders. Mayfield has started 13 NFL games, going 6-7. The Giants are 31-49 since drafting Beckham before the 2014 season. 

Franchise quarterbacks don't often come with arrest videos, groin-grabbing vulgarities, or all manner of mayhem we've seen from Mayfield. We all know about the chaos created by Beckham, from his Mike Tyson moment with Josh Norman, to the video in France with the pizza and powder, to his romance with a kicking net.

Baker MayfieldUSA TODAY Images

There are many reasons to question the Giants - a team in turmoil with massive turnover and a big variable under center. But history matters and the Giants have two Super Bowl wins this young century, while the Browns have started 29 quarterbacks since 1999. 

Maybe Baker Mayfield is about to end that ignominy. He just has to do it before he questions an original NFL franchise or their fans. And he has to do it with perhaps the only player more emotionally scrambled than he is - Odell Beckham Jr. 

With their Page Six personalities, the two electric, eccentric Browns are impossible to ignore. Just let them win a few games in Cleveland before worrying about the Big Apple. 

Follow Jason on Twitter: @JasonKeidel