Over the course of the offseason, the Cleveland Browns have garnered nearly unprecedented amounts of hype. Grabbing the cover of Sports Illustrated is fueling the hype train the Browns have conducted in the last 24 hours.
Rarely does a sub-.500 team from the previous season gather the sheer amount of news media coverage that the Cleveland Browns have during this offseason.
Led by lightning-rod quarterback Baker Mayfield, the Browns have, for some, forcibly taken the title of “America’s Team” from the Dallas Cowboys. During the last twelve hours, the amount of press the Browns have gotten is unrivaled.
The latest dose of media hype comes from none other than Sports Illustrated.
To say that the Browns are “back” is a large statement for any writer. Again, the Browns haven’t finished over the .500 mark since 2007, where they went 10-6 (and still missed the playoffs). And yet, the talent present on the Browns as they are currently constituted is undeniable. Baker Mayfield and Myles Garrett lead star-studded offensive and defensive squads that stack up with some of the best in the league.
The Browns have a lot of work to do in the “prove it” department. Some may call them paper champions, which, as of right now, is a fair statement. Cleveland football has sat as the doormat of the league for two decades. To think that such football ineptitude could be instantly washed away might seem foolish, if not for the talents that the Browns displayed last season.
A celebration of the Dawg Pound on the cover story in Sports Illustrated is a welcome sight. The question is no longer, “can they win a game?” but rather, “can they win it all?” Although the brash confidence of Baker Mayfield and the Browns may rub some the wrong way, the SI cover story makes it clear that they have captured the sports consciousness of America.
Time will tell whether or not the Browns are legitimate contenders, but the expectations are through the roof for football on the shores of Lake Erie. For once, the Cleveland Browns are supposed to win the majority of their games and make the playoffs.
And even if the majority of NFL fans are already sick of the Browns, riding on the hype train has certainly been fun. Now, the Browns have to prove that they aren’t just all bark and no bite.