The Cleveland Browns haven’t won a playoff game since 1994 under Bill Belichick, but the fans still love the team no matter what.
Three things are true if you love the Cleveland Browns. You know what the Dawg Pound is, you hate Art Modell, and you know the rain delay in the 10th inning hosed the 2016 Indians.
Cleveland (not just Browns) fans have been suffering for decades, even when the teams were competitive it feels like they can’t catch a break. Thankfully the 2016 Cavaliers pulled off a miracle to give everyone some of their sanity back.
Brown’s fans went through “the drive” in 1986, “the fumble” in 1987, the firing of Marty Schottenheimer in 1988, and the loss of their team after the 1995 season. How much more can a fan base handle? Not to mention 19 of 21 seasons of a losing record since their return in 1999, including the perfect 0-16 season in 2017.
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For fans in their mid to late thirties, they know nothing but pain from their beloved Browns.
Then there was 2002, where the Browns finally showed some hope with Kelly Holcomb. The Browns went 9-7, had a large lead in the wild card game vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers, but eventually ended up losing the game. After a year that was still considered successful, the Browns followed it up with 5-11, 4-12, 6-10, and 4-12 the next four seasons.
Then there was 2007, the great year of Derek Anderson, Braylon Edwards, and Gary Barnidge. The Browns went 10-6 but were unable to beat the Cincinnati Bengals in week 16, which ultimately kept them out of the playoffs. Since then, the Browns have averaged just over four wins from 2008 through 2019.
Yet each offseason fans are back on the wagon that “THIS IS THE YEAR”.
Eric Mangini, Pat Shurmur, Mike Pettine, and Hue Jackson were all “big time” head coaching hires, yet none of them lasted more than two seasons. Additionally, Jimmy and Dee Haslam have been considered the worst owners in all professional sports.
Every single year it feels like the team hits the wall early in the season and you can tell the team has nowhere to go but down. However, each year fans continue to show up to the home games and wear their brown and orange proudly around the city. While teams like the Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans, and Indianapolis Colts are all considered to have “bad fans”, their teams are winning games.
Brown’s fans are as loyal as any and deserve good things. The question now; will Kevin Stefanski, Paul DePodesta, and Andrew Berry finally bring success to Cleveland? To this point, everything feels good, but most are to a point where they limit expectations, so the downward spiral doesn’t hurt as bad.
A playoff appearance in 2020 would be considered a huge success and a playoff win would send the city into a panic from excitement. After years and years of suffering, it is time for Brown’s fans to catch a break and start winning. There is no doubt, the Cleveland Browns have the best fan base in the NFL and possibly all professional sports.