The Remote Report: The Culture of Fear in Cleveland


It’s been said that the Cleveland Browns foster a culture of losing. People imply that after losing so much and so consistently, it’s in the collective DNA to sort of be okay with it. Obviously, that’s an insane concept. Nobody in the NFL – a league where people get paid millions of dollars to compete – is okay with losing. It might not be as clearly passionate as college (or in some cases, high school), but it’s also a different reality; we all know that the NFL is a business and is treated as such by its employees.

The culture of losing does not really exist for the players. It exists a little bit in the fans, but it goes beyond that. What really exists is a culture of fear.

For instance, I don’t believe that the Browns will be bad this year, I fear it. There’s a difference. I don’t want to have to deal with another losing season. I fear that boredom, discontent, and general unhappiness that goes along with it. I fear that I’ll have to write weekly columns about a team that I stopped caring about, because passionless writing is not interesting to me.

But it’s deeper than that, isn’t it?

I just jumped on ClevelandBrowns.com to see if I needed to know anything that was going on that I should know about and I see links (as I’ve been seeing) that mention Brandon Weeden impressing people at minicamp. I see links about Trent Richardson being an all-around great rookie, player, and person. I see links about everyone doing and saying the right things over the last month - Phil Taylor notwithstanding, which sucks and deserves its own column. And what’s my initial reaction to all of this happiness and upbeat talk?

Fear. Duh.

My immediate reaction was to think “Man, there’s going to be all this talk and everyone is going to get all excited again about having a good team and then they’re going to lose again and everyone’s going to be miserable. Then people will call for Mike Holmgren’s head, claim it was stupid to not trade up to get Robert Griffin III or Ryan Tannehill - one of whom will have a decent season in a completely different situation than this one – and moan about things that they will never have a say in and simply serve to perpetuate this broken system that has no signs of slowing down anytime soon.”

Really? I neglected to think “Oh, cool, Richardson is looking good.” Or “Weeden’s arm isn’t a figment of everyone’s imagination? That’s great news.” Or even “I bet these guys will stay healthy.”

Nothing. My instinct is to fear the worst and cautiously hope for the best. I’m not proud, but that’s the reality that I’ve been raised on. And if you try to invoke a “historical franchise” argument about the Browns, shut up. I do not care if they won NFL Championships before the real NFL existed. That does not count. That counts for your grandfather, not me. I’m 25 years old. My memories of a pre-move-to-Baltimore team are sparse, if they exist at all (I wrote about this at-length here). As such, this is the way it has always been for me.

Please, I implore you…help me change.

Go Browns.

Topics: Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns, Mike Holmgren, Phil Taylor, Trent Richardson

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  • jherrier

    I agree 100%. I am also 25 years old and the memories I have prior to the move are only known in stories my father told me. I look at the history of our franchise and for me that is where this “fear” is kindled. Will we ever be competitive like that again? Will I ever get to enjoy the kind of raw passion with the fans that my father enjoyed in the 80s? Is this brutal heart break I endure every sunday going to end? Will i want to pass on this burden of bleeding brown and orange to my children someday? I hope and pray the answer is yes. GO BROWNS!

  • brwns_fan

    Soon, the dealer’s of gloom, the merchants of doom, the fabricators of discontent will gear-up for another season.  They feed on our fear.  Sport’s writers, Talk show hosts, and TV analysts in Cleveland and across the nation will descend to perpetuate their wares on the fearful Browns Fans, reaping their share of make-believe importance in the feeding frenzy.  It’s easy to see where they’ve been, the waters are Orange and Brown where we bleed.  
     
    BUT, WHAT’s THIS I SEE?  T-Rich, Weeds, Little, Carlton, Benjamin, Ward, Cribbs, and a stronger OL and DL stand tall to defy the Nay-sayers.  
     
    Tell me, after so many bad years, how is it that Hope springs eternal in Cleveland?  What has that town got where other’s would have crumbled under the load?  Memories of years when it WAS us on the big show doorstep.  The birth of the DAWG Pound.  That is enough to see us through a betrayal by the team owner that is barely, now, tolerable to use his name in the same breath as the Cleveland Browns; Art Model.  
     
    We’ve been through a great deal and it has taken us many years to recover our self-identity as a smash-mouth team again.  Thank-you Hillis, thank-you Jackson, thank-you Thomas and Mack, thank-you Colt and Cribbs, thank-you Browns Backers.  And thank-you Brown’s Players for giving us something to believe in again.   Thank-you for showing us that the Bengals, Steelers, and Ravens CAN be beaten.
     
    All it takes is Guts, a Belief we can, and our Hope Eternal.  Put a flame on top of Cleveland Brown’s Stadium that can’t go out and point to it and tell the rookies.  There!  See that!  It symbolizes that Brown and Orange flows through our veins;  that Hope burns in our hearts eternally.  Never forget that team play raises men to levels they could not reach alone; all because of that flame in the teams heart.  Rejoice in belonging to something greater than yourself; The Cleveland Browns!