Browns fans: Who we are – Part II
Now that I have given you a glimpse of the fan base of the Cleveland Browns, let me drive the point home and focus more about their emotions. One cannot deny the supporters wearing their heart on their sleeves in regards to the NFL team.
Passionate does not even begin to describe Cleveland Browns fans. We are known for our hard-core section of the stadium known as the Dawg Pound. Here – anything goes, as it’s the loudest, most vulgar portion of the venue where alcohol is a plenty. As mentioned previously, the Browns Backers is one of the largest organizations for a professional franchise in terms of memberships. Fans from around the country come to meet in their local watering hole to watch and cheer on the Browns.
Additionally, talk radio (in both formats of radio and television) seems to attract passionate responses from fans on a daily basis regarding the Browns. It doesn’t matter if it’s the day before the Steelers game or a Tuesday in February, callers want to talk about the Browns at any chance. Nothing acquires passion like quarterback talk and what the team should do about the player behind center. Couple that with the telling of stories about how close the team was to winning the Super Bowl in the late 80s (and the many disappointments ever since), and many emotions will flourish from callers and listeners alike.
Along with the enthusiasm, fans are looking forward (a huge understatement) towards a winning product. The base has been waiting and wants the franchise to turn the corner and be the opposite of what they have generally been since 1999. During games, fans try to make the best of a poor situation (although usually in jest) – there are positive comments regarding the players on the field and how they will become better down the road. The fans cheer for first downs gained by the offense louder than most fans do after touchdowns.
Fans of the NFL franchise in northeast Ohio can be illustrated as a proud bunch, sometimes to a fault. People born or raised from this area have affection about their roots no matter if they leave that part of the country or not. When meeting fellow natives of the region, there’s an understanding reached (and sometimes even an appreciation and friendship) between the no longer strangers. We know what kind of people grow up in that part of the country and how friendly and caring we can be. We also know what kinds of things we have gone through as sports fans and our demeanor currently and going forward.
True Cleveland fans always stick with the team, no matter what. We never support the local teams before over our native franchise when moving to a new city. Cleveland Browns fans want to say they come from the best part of the country (and usually do, even if it’s not entirely accurate). We want a chance to boast, to brag, and to say we are the best at something. Since this has not been the case in almost fifty years, it has been weighing heavily on the fans’ minds.
Unfortunately it’s not all peaches and cream when referring to Browns fans. I cannot ignore the fact that Cleveland natives are some of the most bitter, angry, and jealous sports fans in the country (and with good reason). They have been tormented for decades with sub .500 seasons, near championships only to see the team falter, having their franchise move, and seeing other teams and players enjoy success constantly.
It seems as though the Browns are rebuilding over and over, while some franchises are good perennially (i.e. Steelers and Ravens), and others tear down their roster only to rebuild faster than Cleveland (i.e. Falcons and Saints). Therefore, we are envious and want to know when our time to shine will come.
One thing that upsets Browns fans is how other fans appear to be apathetic towards their franchise, especially when they are, at worst, mediocre. The 2011 playoff Cincinnati Bengals did not sell out several of their home games and therefore were blacked out locally. Giants’ fans had enough of Tom Coughlin while the team was 6-6 a few months ago. Browns fans sell out games every year, even with their usual four to five win seasons. They are so starved to see a good (or even respectable team) that they would be partying and celebrating a 6-6 record.
Finally, bitterness rears its ugly head when Cleveland fans witness success with previous players or coaches. A large part of it is jealously, as they wish the personnel could have excelled more while donning the orange and brown.
So there are a few more aspects of what it means to be a Cleveland Browns fan. We are a tough, zealous sect of the sports world who has witnessed our fair share of anguish and disbelief. For that, we become testy but we know at the end of the day we will still support the team year after year.