The NFL has announced rule changes for next year. Two of the changes are direct responses to plays that screwed, or almost screwed, the Browns:
>> Allow replay to review fieldgoals. Against Baltimore, the Phil Dawson game winning field goal was called no good until some discussion, and perhaps some refs unofficially seeing the replay.
>> Eliminate the force-out rule. Against the Cardinals, a game tying Kellen Winslow touchdown catch ended with his getting forced out of bounds. The refs didn't call the force out, an inherent judgement call, and the replays for the rest of the week led many viewers to believe that the Browns got robbed of a win.
There was another rule change that was proposed and not adopted that would have changed the seeding order in the playoffs, supposedly to keep teams from intentionally tanking late season games. This also was in direct response to the Browns getting screwed out the playoffs.
I've always held that the Browns get the short end of the stick over and over again. The fact that rule changes are happening because of it just confirms my suspicions. I don't think these rule changes represent that the Browns' shafting this season was any worse than past years. Its more just the fact that when we got screwed in the past, we were still terrible, so the common wisdom is "they would've lost anyways". Now that we're a good team, it makes a bigger impact on the powers that be.