The Pride and Pain of Being a Browns Fan

Rod Bluhm

They laugh at us and it only makes us stronger. We lose, but we keep watching religiously. There’s just something about being a fan of the Cleveland Browns that most people can’t understand. We’re proud of who we are. We understand the heritage of this team and our genuine pride shows whether we’re wearing a Jim Brown jersey or a Cody Kessler jersey.

I grew up watching the Kardiac Kids. Brian Sipe, Reggie Rucker, Ozzie Newsome and others were the first players I loved. I went on to become a huge fan of guys like Earnest Byner, Bernie Kosar, Hanford Dixon and many, many other Browns. People think of the negative endings to many of those seasons, but those guys played their hearts out and coaches like Marty Schottenheimer coached like it was life and death. That’s what football in Cleveland is supposed to be.

I’m not old enough to remember Jim Brown, Lou Groza and Otto Graham, but I’ve studied them. Those teams up until the 1964 championship team and beyond were simply head and shoulders above the rest of the league in almost every conceivable way. Paul Brown was an innovator and a demanding coach. Losing was never an acceptable state of mind. Hall of fame players were created year after year.

This team has a history that the city of Cleveland fought hard to retain when our franchise was stolen from us. In many ways, we’re still waiting for it to be returned to us. We’ve suffered for so long that young fans don’t even remember having a winning team. This city deserves better.

We can throw around blame, but winning is a culture and that culture is absent in Cleveland. The hire of John Dorsey was a positive step in building a better team. The issue is that Dorsey doesn’t have the power to hire his own coach. Hue Jackson has absolutely shown us nothing in two years and yes, I championed the patience and continuity movement after last season. I was wrong. Continuity only works if you have the right guys in place.

We deserve better as fans. We deserve better for our city. Everyone is worried about the parade being an embarrassment to the city. How can a protest by rabid fans be seen as a negative? We want a winner. We want a coach who is a difference-maker. We want to be relevant. We want the jokes to stop. We want a quarterback to be a leader for many seasons. We want to be heard.

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