Fandom 250: Making the case for Cleveland Browns fans as the best in the world

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Being a Cleveland Browns fan is not an easy task, and that is why Browns fans belong at the top of FanSided’s Fandom 250.

It is easy to root for a winning team. The games are fun and the escape sports are supposed to provide from everyday life is evident each time the team takes the field.

Then there is the Cleveland Browns, arguably the worst franchise in all of professional sports.

Whether it be on the field or off, the Browns have found new ways to frustrate fans since returning to Cleveland in 1999. The team has mustered two winning seasons since then and the possibility of an 0-16 season seems more likely than the team ever reaching the playoffs again.

Yet to an outsider, Browns fever is alive and well in Cleveland.

People in the city care about the Browns. It is why people are so vocal online and on the airwaves about the team. Some fans get mad when people express negativity, but it is because they care.

A perfect example is the 0-16 parade being planned for the second straight year by local Cleveland Twitter legend, @Reflog_18, or simply “McNeil.” He is planning the parade and raising money, because if the team does win a game and the parade is cancelled, the money goes to charity.

How many other cities are willing to plan a parade for the worst team in the league? Some people may call it sad and others are angry at the concept, but it shows just how much people in Cleveland care.

Being a Browns fan is ultimately a way of life. It is not a hobby or something to do on Sundays … it’s not a particularly easy way of life

The parade is not meant to mock the players on the field, but rather to serve as a way for fans to celebrate the Browns and make a statement that things must change within the organization. Fans will literally mobilize to make a statement, and this is when the team is in the cellar of the NFL for what feels like the 50th straight year.

No matter who lines up at quarterback or who coaches this team or bungles the draft, fans still care. This may seem like pure insanity, but it’s all part of being a Browns fan.

Consistently rooting for a losing team isn’t what makes this fanbase so great. It’s the fact Browns fans still feel a sense of pride about the franchise when things have been so bad. Some have fled or given up on football entirely, making those who have stayed appear that much stronger.

There are several generations of Browns fans who have only known the post-1999 Browns. These individuals are perhaps the strongest, because the older generations at least have hope that things will return to the way they were before the team moved to Baltimore. The younger generations, of which I am a part of, have two winning seasons to talk about, and zero in the last decade.

The hope that things will eventually get better keeps fans tuning in and making the trek down to Cleveland on Sundays. Jerseys displaying the names of “Couch,” “Dawson,” “Kosar,” “Brown,” “Winslow” and countless others can be seen all throughout FirstEnergy Stadium, as fans are just as vocal about their distaste of the new uniforms as they are about the team itself.

Being a Browns fan is ultimately a way of life. It is not a hobby or something to do on Sundays, but rather a passion that burns deep within and causes random outbursts of anger toward Sashi Brown and Jimmy Haslam.

It is not a particularly easy way of life, but as LeBron said, things must be earned in Northeast Ohio. Nothing is given.

Next: Fandom 250: Here are the best NFL fans in the world

Fans are putting in the time and energy to support this team, so hopefully the team can do the same and start to win again. Because if this city is planning a Super Bowl parade instead of an 0-16 parade, the city of Cleveland may shut down for a few days. Pilgrimages would be made by Browns fans from all over the world, showing just how many people care about this team.