Hey, Cleveland, I’ve recently learned that a few readers think that I am not very nice to Browns fans, especially to those fans who appear to waver in their devotion to the Orange and Brown. I’ve been called, among other things, mean. I suppose if screaming at people who leave games early and calling them “rats” is mean, then I am guilty as charged. Maybe I have been mean. It occurs to me that a part of the Cleveland Browns fan base has no idea how being a fan of a winning, or at least occasionally winning, football franchise feels.
The Browns’ last winning season was 2007 when the team went 10-6, missing the playoffs because the Pittsburgh Steelers had an identical record, but won two games against the Browns that season. We have to look all the way back to 2002 to see the Browns’ last playoff appearance. When running the win/loss numbers on the new era Cleveland Browns (1999-present), I found an abysmal 88 wins and 200 losses-not counting this season’s nine losses.
That long-term record is tough for any fan to accept. I can see how the disconnect from any of the Browns’ glory years would make maintaining enthusiasm very difficult. Having little, if any, team success to fall back on would undoubtedly nip fan positivity in the bud. Hearing second-hand stories of the Kardiac Kids or Bernie Kosar-led teams is not enough to build a deep bond between newer fans and a team that seems to exist, perennially, in “next year.” These are not the sort of ties that easily bind given the constant state of despair in Cleveland.
While the best remedy would, of course, be flipping the script and giving the newest generation of fans a reason to cheer, smile, or at least a reason to not contemplate heavy binge drinking. I don’t pretend to know just how that happens, but in my opinion, an offensive coordinator could push us in the right direction.
So, now that I see things from a different perspective, I offer this generation of Cleveland Browns fans an apology. I now understand how difficult it is to be a Browns fan without the cushion of past winning seasons. There is no simple fix for our Cleveland Browns. However, I promise to be nice and stop calling fans who leave games early “rats.”
Follow Senior Writer, who promises to be nicer to fans, Shelley Harcar on Twitter @Shelley0514
Image credit GV Art & Design