Three ridiculous reasons for Cleveland Browns fans to root for the Patriots

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 26: Running back Kevin Faulk #33 of the New England Patriots evades defensive back Anthony Henry #37 of the Cleveland Browns during the NFL game at Gillette Stadium on October 26, 2003 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Browns 9-3. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 26: Running back Kevin Faulk #33 of the New England Patriots evades defensive back Anthony Henry #37 of the Cleveland Browns during the NFL game at Gillette Stadium on October 26, 2003 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Browns 9-3. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images) /

Cleveland Browns fans have to, once again, watch a Super Bowl without their favorite team in it. Here, we look at three reasons to still have a rooting interest

Cleveland Browns fans once again are faced with a Super Bowl without the Browns — which makes 53 straight misses. So we don’t have a Dawg in this match, but nevertheless many Browns fans like to pick one team or the other for a temporary rooting interest, just for the sake of The Game.

If you made a bet on the game probably, you’re rooting where your wallets are. However, if you haven’t picked a team yet, there are some valid reasons why the Patriots might appeal to you as a Browns fan.

First, the Super Bowl is AFC versus NFC and the Browns play in the AFC. Nowadays with inter-league play and information on all teams available via the Internet, the Conference identity has been lost to a great extent. But let’s review some ancient history.

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The Browns were born as rebels, not in the NFL but in the now-defunct rival All-America Football Conference (AAFC), where the Browns were champions in 1946, 1947, 1948 and 1949. They were so good that fans and even sportswriters had the audacity to suggest that Paul Brown and the Browns were good enough to play in the NFL.

NFL purists hated the Browns. They were dismissed as minor leaguers. Not good enough to play in the NFL! The Browns were laughed at by NFL hardliners.

However, the expense of competing to sign players resulted in the NFL grudgingly inviting the Browns to play in the NFL, along with the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Colts. The Colts team played only one year before folding, and an expansion team with the same name was created for the 1953 season. The AAFC Los Angeles Dons were allowed to merge with the NFL Rams, which of course is grossly unfair, essentially doubling the talent level, but Rams argued that they deserved compensation for having another team in the same city.

The other AAFC teams folded, with the players allowed to enter the league via a special draft.  The reason for the merger had nothing to do with the level of play, but NFL team owners did not want to compete with the AAFC to sign NFL draft picks.

Nevertheless, the Browns were finally in the NFL and were punished by having to play the NFL Champion Philadelphia Eagles on opening day 1950. The NFL gave itself home field advantage of course, so the game was played in Philadelphia. In a sense, this is almost a precursor to the Super Bowl, as the champions of rival leagues would play each other for the first time.

This would finally be the opportunity to punish the Browns for costing the league millions in player salaries. In particular, the Browns were laughed at for their minor league passing game, which could never work in the NFL, or so said the experts.  This game was in the bag for the NFL, as Philadelphia was a massive favorite.

The only problem is the upstart Browns did not cooperate with the script. The supposed rinky-dink minor leaguer Otto Graham destroyed the Eagles with an unheard-of 346 yards. In 1950 this was considered impossible. He might as well have thrown for a light year, it was so many yards.

In addition, the Browns ran wild, with halfback Dub Jones rushing six times for 72 yards, and Marion Motley adding a more workmanlike 48 yards on 11 carries. Meanwhile, the Browns held Eagles quarterback Tommy Thompson to a pedestrian 73 yards on 8-of-24 passing attempts.

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The Browns won the first NFL game they ever played, and they did not just win, they destroyed the NFL Champions.  And of course they kept winning, and finally won the NFL Championship with a win over the Los Angeles Rams.

When the AFL/NFL merger came in 1970,s it seemed natural that the Browns and Colts should be among the teams that would join the upstarts in the new American Football Conference. Logically, the 49ers should also have switched, but Art Modell and Art Rooney of the Steelers wanted to stay in the same division to continue their rivalry,

Nevertheless, that is our heritage, Browns fans. AFC all the way! Well…except in years when the Ravens or Steelers represent the AFC. But this year there is no such identity crisis.

A second reason for rooting for our Browns is that half our team seems to wind up on the Patriots. The Browns’ former quarterback, Brian Hoyer, is the backup for New England. Understandably, fans were upset with Brian for not accepting it well when he lost his starting job to the great Johnny Manziel. What a drag Brian was! Did he not realize that history was being made with Johnny Freaking Football playing for Cleveland?

But all this is past. Johnny Football did not pan out, so perhaps it’s time to forgive Hoyer the Destroyer for his lack of solid mentorship. Hoyer is the only quarterback of the New Browns to have gone over .500 for his entire Browns career, at 10-6.

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Also on the Patriots team is Jason McCourty, who was a terrific Cleveland Brown, though only for one year in the 2017 season. He is a very tough defensive back and gave 100 percent.  He and his twin brother Devon are reunited on the same team and it is a really good story.

Danny Shelton is also on the team, though it is not certain whether he will be on the active roster.  We have not been made aware of any injury situation. However, the Patriots list the big guy at 345 pounds, which seems awfully big. The Browns tried to get him to slim down to about 335 pounds. But the Samoan strongman played hard for the Browns and was especially good at stopping the run. Fans seemed to gravitate to the big guy. Here’s hoping he finds his way onto the game day roster because the Patriots really need to plug up the middle of the field with Todd Gurley and C. J. Anderson on the loose.

Most importantly, the Coach of the Patriots is our former Coach! Bill Belichick was the coach when the Browns moved to Baltimore, and Art Modell fired him at that time. By now it should be rather obvious that fans need not take Modell’s side on this issue. This was the guy who fired Paul Brown, who many people believe was the greatest coach of all time, and he also fired Belichick, who most of the rest believes is the greatest.

Speaking of Art Modell, this brings us to the best reason for rooting for the Patriots. Browns fans were hurt terribly when the team moved to Baltimore. Moving franchises around, and getting cities to bid against each other to steal teams should not be what sports are about. This was done to satisfy greedy owners, who are given state and local tax dollars extracted out of the pockets of ordinary people.

The Rams were promised a new stadium to leave St. Louis. They left Los Angeles in 1995 because they got a new stadium in St. Louis. And let us not forget that they started out as the Cleveland Rams and left for sunny Los Angeles and its enormous Coliseum. The Rams are three for three in getting new stadiums from the public.

Moreover, if it is recalled that the Irsay family actually owned the Rams before taking over the Colts, bad management in Los Angeles arguably contributed to the Colts moving to Indianapolis, which set up the scenario for the theft of the Browns franchise by Baltimore.

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Certainly, the ownership groups can spin this story so that franchise movement is an act of humanitarian virtue, but Browns fans should still have a sour taste from the Browns flight to Baltimore. We have to root against these teams that are getting rich at the expense of the public and fans.  Gotta root against the fly-by-night former Cleveland Rams!