Browns fans: The art of handling offseason expectations

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 11: Myles Garrett #95 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates defeating the Atlanta Falcons at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 11, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns won 28 to 16. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 11: Myles Garrett #95 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates defeating the Atlanta Falcons at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 11, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns won 28 to 16. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

How can Browns fans handle the sudden surge of expectations?

Just as every human handles grief and turn signals differently, every Cleveland Browns fan handles their expectations for the upcoming season in their own personal way…turns out there’s an art to it.

Time for us Browns fans to enjoy the sweet spot of the offseason. Well, some of us.

For decades, this part of the NFL year – May into June, the beginning of Summer – has been the best time to be a Browns fan. That’s because the draft is over, most free agents are snagged, and the 100 or so guys who will get to compete at training camp in Berea for those precious 53 roster spots have basically been decided.

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And most importantly – anything is still possible.

As a guy once said somewhere to someone, “All 32 teams are 0-0 right now.”  Plus, every franchise has in some way changed their roster or staff, so technically…every team’s new.

But for loyal Browns fans psyched to have such an incredible group of football talent assembled for 2020, an offseason choice must now be made:

How to handle your public Browns expectations. There’s an art to it.

As a Browns fan, I’m forced to decide whether to…

A) Excitedly preach about the Browns being as excellent as they look, but then if they suck (again), feel like a gullible fool (again)…

B) Stay quiet and unexcited for the newest Browns regardless of their obvious talent because I’ve done the whole “this is the year!” routine before (hello, 2019!) and it’s totally backfired and made me look like a gullible fool…

C) Pessimistically (and even angrily) predict total failure for the team before they ever step onto the field (and troll all who don’t) because for the last two decades that’s made me look like a football fortune-telling genius…

D) Sarcastically or comically predict and heighten the way the Browns will inevitably fail, that way if they do I can say I called it and if they don’t I can say, “What? I was totally joking!”

Tough choice, right? Especially if you’ve been a Browns fan longer than there’s been a Baker.

Nobody can tell you how to digest the often acidic and cramp-inducing Cleveland NFL franchise, that’s between you and your football doctor.

But personally, after spending much of my Browns years as a “B,” then a “C,” (and occasionally still a huge “D”), I find myself a total “A” most of time because I’m too old to care anymore about looking gullible and these Browns look dang good right now.

In May going into June only, some A’s have fun fantasizing about what they’re going to do the day after the Browns finally win the Super Bowl.

Me? Imma…

…put a cease and desist on ever having to defend the Browns’ or their history again.

…enjoy an entire offseason of zero hater slams.

…wear my orange and brown gear without having to explain “where it all went wrong THIS time.”

…soak in and relish the look of total despair and envy in the eyes of my Stoolers and Ratbird lovin’ buddies while basking in their glorious inability to bust me and my team’s balls.

…cruise downtown Cleveland on Baker Boulevard into Stefanski Square by way of the AB Express (short for Andrew Berry, not the frostbitten fella) and pay a visit to the always flowing Browns Super Bowl Nacho Fountain, now a front-and-center part of the FirstEnergy compound.

Pro Tip: BYOC (Bring your own chips, the free public chip bowl gets nasty!)

When I asked the loyal Browns Fans in a couple FB groups the same question, here’s how some of the almost two hundred “A’s” responded:

What will YOU do the first day after the Browns win the Super Bowl?

Harry: “Whichever Coach/QB combination wins it will definitely get the keys to the city and all the perks…”

Jane: “Telling all the people who said that the Browns will never win a Super Bowl to KISS MY …!!!!!”

Brian: “Hey, Tampa was an armpit for forever. New England was a zero, the Rams were always hopeful. We are due!”

Sarah: “I can imagine it. It would be wonderful. I will be running my mouth to all of my friends who are Steelers fans.”

Bridget: “Sigh. We’ll get to relive 2016 (pic of Cavs celebration)”

Evelyn-Anne: “The BIG BROWN Celebration!!!”

MT: “I have been dreaming for 40 years buddy…😢😢😢”

Matt: “The gleam”

Virginia: “I’ll be strutting my colors all over Las Vegas, right in front of all those stupid Raiders fans, and loving every second of it!”

Jonathan: “We’ll show everyone how to party!”

Rose: “I would just love it if they made the playoffs! It has been such a long dry spell!”

Sherry: “I love this post! The things you posted would be my list as well.”

Michael: “The whole year of, “I told you so!””

Lester: “Front page Superbowl champions.”

Clay: “I’m here in Tampa just hoping wishing and praying that i’ll have a front row seat to witness it in 2021.”

Then, in the midst of all those “A’s,” a “D” named Jeff added:

Jeff: “Some idiot will still have something to complain about!”

And sure enough, some other “D’s” chimed right in…

Scott: “I can see Browns making it to this years SB and having to play Tampa and Brady in their stadium.”

Timothy: “I’m sorry, but do you really think the hate will stop even with a superbowl win? Cmon now, we could win 3 and the haters are still gonna hate.”

Nick: “If it happens it will be this year when we cant go to the games.”

Jud: “It will occur just before the world ends….about a week or so.”

Of course, a few borderline “C’s” snuck their takes in:

Joseph: “I’m not getting my Hopes up after last year. Let’s just give it a few games.”

Jack: “Take a deep breath, the season hasn’t even started and you are sounding like last year. Remember that?”

And then there was the one answer I enjoyed the most:

Tyler: “You will still have to explain our sadness.”

Oh man, Tyler, you’re right. So many years of letdowns might be hard to let go.

What will release the final set of tears for me will be when I buy a copy of the Cleveland Plain Dealer with the headline “Browns NFL Champions” and frame it for my grandkids.

Who’ll by then scoff and say, “Ugh, big deal, grandpa, Browns ALWAYS win the Super Bowl…”

Be a lot more “A’s” around by then, I bet.

Enjoy the offseason sweet spot, Browns fans – THIS time it may last through January.

Question for all you “A’s” and “D’s” (and “B’s” if you dare) – What will YOU do the first day after the Browns win the Super Bowl, whenever that is?

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Looking forward to reading your answers, plus the predictable ways you lovable “C’s” will proclaim this a total waste 🙂