My husband is a die-hard Cleveland sports fan but no local team has captured his soul the way the Browns have. I wish they would let it go. Sundays in our house are filled with rage, disappointment and an all-consuming passion for a team that doesn’t merit such devotion from its fans.
I never got emotionally involved with the Browns. Even though I grew up in Northeast Ohio, I was a Miami Dolphins fan – but that was the era of the undefeated season. I now consider myself a Browns’ fan by marriage and proximity. The day the announcement was made that the Browns’ owner Art Modell was moving the team to Baltimore was filled with shock and disbelief.
It seemed inconceivable that one of the oldest and beloved sports franchises could be ripped away from its people in this matter but it was true. At first I sympathized with my husband and even though it wouldn’t be the same, he still had a football team to cheer for – mine. Plans went in to motion and three years later the Browns were revived by the league and given back to Cleveland.
Now after almost eleven years of stops, starts, coaching changes and heartbreak, I wish they had stayed away. If professional football was going to return to Cleveland, perhaps the organization should have been revamped entirely – new colors, logo and name to break the association with the ‘old Browns’. Maybe, just maybe the passion and addiction would be less severe and the fans would be more forgiving of their football team.
Perhaps the expectation level would not be as high. Having moved to Cleveland seven years ago I have seen for myself that Browns fans are the most loyal group of fans in the country. They fill that stadium every Sunday to support the team and they deserve better however, they could be part of the problem too. Why should the ownership of the Browns make any truly positive changes when they know they will be getting their money?
Whatever the issues surrounding the Browns and their fans happen to be; it cannot be denied that the team is the heart and soul of this city. The Cavs and Indians could be in a title hunt but the conversation always seems to find its way back to football. This year there is a new coach and general manager but the result seems to be the same. The season that began with high hopes has been brought back to reality with an 0 – 4 start. Once again it looks like Browns fans will have to “wait ’til next year”. I hope I am still here when next year finally becomes this year.