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The Browns had me at Hello. I grew up watching Bernie and the Browns go to back to back AFC Championships. Granted I was too young to grasp the magnitude of the whole thing, but I was a fan and it has never changed. My family ingrained in me the loyalty that I carry for our wayward franchise. I will be a Browns fan for life, no matter what they do or how bad it gets.
This is about the kids, though. What has an 11-year-old or a 15-year-old seen from this franchise? When they sit down with their fathers on Sunday and watch the Browns, is it enjoyable for them? Is there anything tangible that they can hang their loyalty to? In an NFL that is filled with stars and exciting teams to watch, do the kids remain loyal as Browns fans? Can we blame them for turning to the “Redzone” or a different game that is more entertaining?
Ask a kid under the age of 18 who their favorite player is? Cam Newton 60% of the time. He is my son’s favorite player and he is a closet Panthers fan. He roots for the Browns and watches the games with me but his heart isn’t in it and mostly I think he does it for me.
He is smart enough to realize what is going with this team and I keep telling him just wait, they are rebuilding and they have the right guys to do it this time. This is something I believe and as the great Nick Wilson of 92.3 says, when it’s this bad in the first year, you don’t change a thing. In fact, you double down and make sure it never gets this bad again. I try to point to players who we can be proud of as Browns fans, but they are hard to find right now.
In a world that is all about instant gratification, kids don’t want to wait three years and see if it works this time. They want to enjoy watching exciting football now. I have the patience to say “‘stick to the plan.” The kids do not.
Now in 2018, Jimmy Haslam is moving training camp to Columbus. What about the Kids Jimmy?
The best part of training camp in Berea is watching the kids get autographs and watch the players up close in amazement. It is one of the things that keeps the kids invested in this team. Now that will be gone for a cash grab.
What about the next generation of Browns fans, Jimmy? Do you think the children of Northeast Ohio are growing up Browns fans like I did. It’s doubtful and its hard to blame them when you things like this are happening. What message does that send? What about the next generation of Browns fans, Jimmy?
What about the kids Jimmy?
By: Brad Ward