My wife was given me a hard time about my love for the Cleveland Browns for as long as we’ve been together (she’s a Saint’s fan), and more often than not, the question she asks when I’m at my most frustrated moments with this team is “Why are you even a Browns fan?”. It’s a fair, if brutal, question to ask. Why AM I a fan of a sports team that causes me more heartache and stress than it does jubilation and fun. I mean, sports are SUPPOSED to be fun right? So why do I, and millions of other Browns fans put ourselves through the pain, the mockery and the aggravation that comes with the territory of being a fan of the worst team in the NFL in terms of wins/losses since 1999. Since coming back in 1999, the Browns are a shudder inducing 76-156, for a “ah what the fuck” inducing .327 win percentage, the lowest in the NFL from ’99 on. That means for every Browns game I’ve watch in that span, they will lose more than 2 out of 3. No other NFL fans would deal with this crap. None. They’d stop going to games, stop watching games, and the team would either have to get better or move to a new location. But we don’t. We still sell out First Energy. Every. Single. Week. People like me who moved away from the Cleveland Area still pay to join Browns Backer clubs or Sunday Ticket on DirecTv to watch this team lose. It’s really pretty nutty if you think about it. Why? Why do we do this?
1. I Grew Up In/Around Cleveland
They say that geography influences a ton of the core portions of our personalities. Having been in the Army for 9 years now, I can attest to the fact that people are quite different around the country. Especially in Cleveland, which is often mocked by the rest of the sports world for having no identity, the people there are actually quite unique. The depressed, rust belt, post industrial land that is northern Ohio creates a certain breed of people. I won’t make fun of our failings, but I will say that a lot of people from the area expect the worst. So many bad things have happened in the area over the years that you simply learn to accept it and deal with it as best you can. This carries over to our football team. I’ve written before about how all Browns fans share a certain gut feeling of impending doom. It’s something you can’t quite pin down, but you know deep in your soul that something bad is going to happen when you watch Browns football games. Even when things are going right, you know its coming. And so it doesn’t really crush you quite as badly as if you were walking in blind.
The other thing about being from Cleveland is that it’s hammered in to your skull that loyalty is a virtue that you’re going to need to have. Loyalty to your friends, your family, even your community, and especially your sports teams. Can you think of any group of people that you as a Browns fan that disgust you more than Steelers fans from Ohio? Me neither.
That picture makes you physically ill doesn’t it? You hate that stupid douchebag with the Steeler colored wig, and you don’t even know her. I feel the same way. She’s probably a bitch (statistically speaking, right?). We were conditioned by our elder Browns fans to feel this way. And I’m totally okay with that.
2. I Honestly Believe It Will Be Better One Day
I like science. A lot. More than a regular person. And I’m familiar The Law Of Total Probability, which essentially says that over an infinite timeline, there are infinite probabilities of outcomes.
I just feel, and I’m sure you do to, that one day they HAVE to get it right, right? They can’t be this bad forever, can they? I mean, logically they should luck up in to finding a franchise quarterback at some point, and eventually they’ve got to stumble upon the right coaches at the right time. God knows we’re due. More so, I feel like karma at some point has got to get involved and set right the wrongs of time and the universe. The Ravens were stolen from right here in Cleveland, and they won a Super Bowl. The Steelers have forever been a collection of thugs and criminals, and yet they have six Super Bowl wins. Karma can’t let this wrong go uncorrected forever, right? And the thing is, the Browns didn’t ALWAYS consistently suck. That’s an occurrence that’s become a pattern since the Expansion. The Browns were relevant, at times good if not dominant, in every decade since their inception up until The Move.
3. I Honest To God Love Browns Fans
Look, I won’t bullshit you. I could quit this team in a heartbeat. They’ve done nothing to deserve my rabid loyalty. Yours either. But I can’t quit you. I can’t quit you, you foxy son’s of bitches. I would hate myself forever if I did. I’m not saying this to get your love in return. It’s not like that. The Dawg Pound has given me love my entire life. From being a young kid at Browns games, sitting in the Dawg Pound with a terrifying group of men and women, to being a slightly older young kid who got to sit on Michael Dean Perry’s shoulders, you’ve loved me since before you really knew me. I can’t forget that. I couldn’t ever pull myself away from this community, and I don’t think many of you could either. It’s what brings us back. Tailgating, sports bar’ring, Dawg Pounding, barking and screaming and cursing, we’re in this damn thing together.
No matter what may come, no matter how low this team may sink, we’ve got each other. And it’s not really that bad a thing. I’ve said it again and again, and I mean it, we are the best group of people brought together by mutual misery that the world has ever seen. And I’m a Soldier by trade. I’ve been to war with men and women who I am forever bonded with based on our mutual suffering. It really isn’t even close. I feel like I’ve been to battle with you all, in spirit and in the flesh, more times than I can recall. We are forever tied together, and I’m okay with that. You all are better than this shitstorm of a team has been, and if there is any justice in this cruel, dark world, we’ll get our chance to see this walking failure of an organization redeem our hopes and support.