Posted on July 20, 2017, by Travis Pulver
The Cleveland Browns are known as the Factory of Sadness and with good reason. No one goes through quarterbacks quite like they do. They have not had a winning season since 2007 and haven’t made the playoffs since 2002—incidentally, the only other winning season for the franchise since it returned to Cleveland in 1999.
Every year optimistic fans hope that this season will finally be the one, and each year they end up being disappointed in the end. There is a reason for renewed hope this season, though. Many are eager to see what the defense can do with Myles Garrett and Jabrill Peppers in the lineup.
As for the offense, Cody Kessler showed some promise at times last season. The early word has been good on second round pick DeShone Kizer as well. There is hope that Isaiah Crowell could explode this year. Many are eager to see rookie tight end David Njoku can do.
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If the offensive line can live up to the No. 2 billing Pro Football Focus gave it, there could be hope for the Cleveland Browns this season. If they don’t, there is a chance they could end up becoming a dumpster fire once again.
As luck would have it, this season they could become a dumpster fire not only metaphorically, but literally.
First Energy Stadium, the home of the Browns, may have been constructed using the same aluminum panels that contributed to a recent fire in an apartment building in London. The investigation into that fire is still in progress, including the role the Reynobond panels used in its construction may have played in the fire that killed 80 people (via AP, h/t Houston Chronicle).
The panels enhance a buildings appearance and are energy efficient, but are not recommended for buildings taller than 40 feet because they are combustible.
Arconic Inc., the company that makes the panels, has said they will no longer make them available to high rise buildings. But what about the buildings that they are already in?
“If the materials used on a building appear similar to a known hazard, people need to know that,” fire protection engineer Douglas Evans told the AP (h/t PFT). “Anybody who is inside of these buildings has a right to know.”
The City of Cleveland has not confirmed whether the Browns stadium used any of the dangerous panels. City officials are choosing to wait until the London investigation concludes before commenting (PFT).
On the chance that they were used, the Browns will need an alternate home field. If the panels did contribute to the London fire it is hard to imagine the stadium remaining open for games. The Browns and/or the league will have to have them removed before they can play a game there.
There isn’t an official record that says the panels were used. However, Arconic Inc. names the stadium in its promotional materials as being wrapped in the panels.
Not only could the team be a dumpster fire next season, but the stadium may become one, too!