Watching the NFL pre-season games this weekend, I made a decision. Since I am from Boston, I will always love the New England Patriots as my #1 team. They rule. But I have decided to have a back-up favorite team, and it will be the Cleveland Browns.
This probably seems exceptionally stupid, but I am sort of in love with this idea. The Browns seemingly have had more losing seasons than winning seasons since their inception in 1946. But this is why I want to root for them! Maybe it’s because I grew up in Boston, where we were constantly complaining when our sports teams lost, which they seemed to do often. The Pats weren’t good when I was growing up. One year they made it to the Super Bowl and they lost. So when they all of a sudden became awesome in the early 2000s, it was a bit shocking. The same with the Red Sox – all anyone ever did was moan about the “Curse of the Bambino”. Then the Sox won the World Series. Within the past few years, the Celtics have won an NBA Championship, the Bruins have won the Stanley Cup – what do we have left to complain about? As a Boston sports fan, your identity is stripped when you have nothing left to bitch about.
So, part of the appeal of the Browns to me is rooting for a team that is such an unbelievable underdog. When they become awesome and finally win a Super Bowl (they’re only one of only a small number of teams in the entire NFL to never have made it to a Super Bowl), it will be a very sweet victory indeed.
It occurred to me to be their fan when my boyfriend and I were watching the pre-season highlights yesterday, and saw a score of the Browns game, and I said, “Oh no, the Browns lost,” and we both laughed because no one really cares. Then I thought, that’s really sad, and someone has to care. Thus, I have taken it upon myself to be the one who cares. I also decided it was sad that they are the only team in the NFL to not be named after something cool (being named after an owner is ok, I guess, but how does that hold up to things like Panthers and Jaguars?). The trademark of their helmets is that there is nothing on them. Let’s think about that for a second. Their “look” is nothing. It’s burnt orange accented with a brown stripe, sort of like one of my outfits from when I was a kid in the 70s. Even then, I knew it was ugly.
Incidentally, everything I now know about the Browns I learned today from their Wikipedia page.
But that was how I also discovered that I was wrong in my initial assumption that they are without fan support. The Browns have a global fanbase, called “Browns Backers Worldwide“. According to Wikipedia, they have 100,000 members and are considered the largest sports organization in the US. This is pretty cool, and also speaks to something I also read today about Cleveland fans being the most loyal fans out there, when you consider their level of dedication to a team that doesn’t win very often. Also, how many times has someone tried to move this team out of Cleveland? I think it’s pretty cool that they’re still around. Generally speaking, Boston sports fans are some of the most obnoxious people you will ever meet in you life, but this is why I love them. I love them for their passion and their loyalty, and I respect any die hard sports fan for loving their team through good or (most especially) bad. I don’t even mind Lakers fans when they’re all in my face hating on the Celtics because I think, “At least they love their team.”
I respect the Browns’ fans, and I respect a team that just keeps getting out there and trying again because of the love of the game and because they don’t want to let down the fans, who support them through the good, bad and the sometimes very, very ugly. So, consider me, from this point forward, part of the Cleveland Browns Nation (sorry, I will never use the term “Dawg Pound”), as I support them in all their ugly burnt orange and brown glory.