It seems like every year I get asked the question (usually from a Steelers fan or someone who doesn’t “get” Browns fans at all) “Why are you a Browns fan?” It is usually paired up with the fact that they haven’t won anything since Lyndon Johnson was President, like we aren’t well aware of that already.
As much as I hate to hear this question every year or so it seems, it is actually a good question to ponder. Why ARE we Browns fans after being disappointed season after season after season? Are we just gluttons for punishment? Do we just not have anything better to do with our time than to put our hearts and souls in to rooting for this team? I have a list of answers and I would love to share them with you.
1) FAMILY- When I say family it is split between two meanings. To me, not very many people just wake up one morning and decide they want to root for the Cleveland Browns. I would say 99% of Browns fans would say their being a fan was passed down to them from their Dad or their Mom, or someone in their family. For me it was my Dad. I remember watching games with him and still being too young to understand what the heck he was watching, but still helped him celebrate the highs and lows of each Sunday game with him. Once I did understand the game, we started going to three or four home games a year which really cemented me being a die hard Browns fan like my Dad. Our dream was to celebrate a Browns Super Bowl together, but that of course never came to fruition, and my Dad passed away in 2011, so we will never get to celebrate together. However, now I have a son and raised him to be a Browns fan just like my dad did, and I also have an awesome Father in Law, and now it is my dream to celebrate a Super Bowl with my son and my second Dad, knowing that my Dad will be celebrating right by our side.
The second meaning of family is that to me and I am sure to you also, the Browns are like family to me. Just like family, they don’t make you happy 100% of the time, they drive you crazy almost 100% of the time, but you love them and want to see them succeed. I remember during the playoff run in the mid to late 80′s, when the Browns lost, it felt like someone punched me in the gut, and make that next Monday even harder to get through. That was because the Browns won more games than they lost in 1986, 87, 88, and 89, so losses were something we weren’t used to seeing like we are today. I hope someday soon to watch my Browns family go through the same stretch of winning records the teams in the 80′s went on. The players deserve it, and we fans deserve it also!
2) TRADITION- Most fans of the NFL hate the Browns colors, uniforms, the fact that we don’t have a logo on our helmet, etc., but to me, I could care less who someone who isn’t a Browns fan thinks about that stuff. To me, Cleveland Browns football is about wearing the orange and brown, putting on that helmet without a logo, playing in the elements in front of a sellout crowd every week, and playing your guts out for this great city and the best fans in the NFL. It also means donning the same uniform as past Browns greats like Jim Brown, Lou Groza, Otto Graham, Brian Sipe, and Bernie Kosar. The tradition of having great radio play by play men like Gib Shanley, Nev Chandler (my personal favorite), the late Casey Coleman, to the current play by play man Jim Donovan along with Doug Dieken on color commentary. The tradition of tailgating in the Muni Lot from before the sun rises till an hour before kickoff and walking up to the stadium in a mob of brown and orange chanting “HERE WE GO BROWNIES, HERE WE GO! WOOF WOOF!!” Let’s hope the tradition of winning comes back to us starting this season.
3) HOPE- One thing we Browns fans have every season, especially at the beginning, is hope. Hope for a winning season. Hope for a playoff berth. Hope to win the AFC North. Hope to beat the Steelers and Ravens. As long as we have hope, there is always a chance of getting what we so desire, a Super Bowl. I know that we as Browns fans have gone thru so many more downs than ups since 1995, but just imagine when (not if), our Brownies finally even go to the Super Bowl. This city will explode with excitement (in a good way I hope)! When they win the Super Bowl, it will be a feeling that none of us have felt before! Grown men will cry. People will hug people they have never even seen before. Finally, our Browns will be at the TOP of the NFL, and since we had hope all of these years and never gave up on them, it will feel better for us than it does for fans of other winning teams. It will happen. It really will. I wish I could tell you when, but it will. You just have to have hope.
The above is why I am a Browns fan. The above is why I am proud to wear my orange and brown every where I go!