April 15, 2024

Browns fans don’t ride a Bandwagon, they ride the RTA.

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It’s a gameday Sunday morning in Cleveland Ohio. Browns fans are heading downtown for the season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals. Many season openers in years past have led to disappointed Browns fans. But the feeling in the air seems different this time. On my way to the Green Road RTA Rapid Station, I stopped to pick up my breakfast. The nice young lady at the McDonald’s Drive Thru was wearing a Nick Chubb jersey. She noticed that I was wearing Browns gear too and asked if I was going to the game. I told her that I was. She asked how I felt about the team. I said that we should have a good team this season. She agreed with my optimism. What I am sensing is a level of civic pride in the Cleveland Browns that hasn’t existed since the 1980’s.
At the Green Road RTA Rapid Station, Browns fans congregated while waiting for their ride downtown. Most of them were young, and by young, I mean in their 20’s. They never experienced the time when the Browns were expected to win and make the playoffs every year. These same fans have a level of loyalty that deserves to be rewarded with winning football in Cleveland. We rode downtown in buses because the rail line is out of service until September 30th. Eventually, we arrived downtown, and we found our way to the Muni Lot to tailgate. The conversations and feelings were upbeat and hopeful about the season and today’s game. Along with that came a degree of caution due to being let down by this team in the past. Anywhere you go you come across negative people. This wasn’t negativity, this was cautious optimism due to scars from the past. Later on, I made my way to my seat for kickoff, it was game time!
No more excuses or analysis, it was time for football games that counted. I did have some Cincinnati Bengals fans sitting near me. They didn’t have much to say during the game. This was because their team was throttled 24-3. Despite being plus 2 in turnovers, the Bengals still lost by 21 points. The Browns Defense was dominant giving up only 6 first downs, three points and zero plays in the Browns RedZone. The Browns Offense did have some mistakes with two turnovers. But they regrouped and played good enough to win. Cleveland Browns Stadium was rocking and rolling for the season opener.
Riding home from downtown, the mood went from cautious optimism to a genuine good feeling. Smiles and nods were going around the RTA. Browns fans don’t have a bandwagon to ride especially from national media pundits. We ride together on the RTA. We will ride the same RTA through the whole 2023 season and on this day to a victory Monday.

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