Browns Delivering Apathy to Die-Hard Fans

I can honestly say I've had a lot of fun following the Browns since they came back in 1999. Even though I knew they were probably going to lose I was always excited to wake up on Sunday mornings to throw my Browns jersey on and wait for the pre-game shows to start. The team wasn't always good but it didn't matter to me because they were the Browns. My Browns.

I rearranged my entire weekends to guarantee Sunday afternoons would be free to watch the team that I love. At first that was met with a little resistance but eventually my wife grew to enjoy our Sunday routine of watching the Browns game followed by a home cooked dinner and usually a movie of her choice.

While watching the games I would often find myself loudly cheering when anything positive would happen. I couldn't control it, I had to stand up and cheer as if I was at the stadium watching the game in person. Sometimes I actually was at the stadium and sometimes it felt somewhat like a religious experience entering the stadium and seeing the greenest grass I've ever laid my eyes on.

As Browns fans we've all been through some really tough times and endured a lot of pain and disappointment. Many of us have grown numb to the constant losing but have found some solace in the fact that the future looked bright as young players with loads of potential were sure to break out and become superstars.

Some of those young players eventually did live up to their potential and made us proud but the majority of them are gone for whatever reasons and that hopeful feeling has seemingly disappeared in their wake. The future of this team has evaporated into the negativity that has now surrounded the present situation. The "we'll be better next year" mentality that Browns fans for so long claimed ownership of has been traded in for a new attitude of "things are going to get much worse before they even start to get better".

It's hard to imagine this team getting much worse than it is today but we all know that it's coming. Teams like the Browns that lack players with raw talent and God-given ability will only be successful if they are unified under a strong, passionate leader who pushes them to believe not only in themselves but also in each other. Teams like that play with an "us against the world" mentality that doesn't require raw talent but instead guts and the willingness to sacrifice their own bodies for the sake of their teammates and their leader.

I was hopeful heading into this season that Eric Mangini was going to be the kind of leader who would inspire the players to play for each other and to leave everything they had on the field each week. I knew he didn't have the best record of success in his previous employment but I was confident that the players would at least respond positively to his disciplined approach. Clearly that has not been the case and what has ensued this season has become unwatchable and gut wrenching at the same time.

I have never been a season ticket holder so the value of my investment in the Browns can only be measured in the time I've spent in front of my TV, listening to the radio, attending training camp, attending random games when tickets fell into my lap, purchasing apparel and wearing it proudly and spending an entire month last summer hand-painting a corn hole set with an animated Dawg Pound theme.

All of this brought me joy as I often went to great lengths to express my "fan hood" for the Browns. Unfortunately that joy has quickly evaporated and I've become somewhat apathetic towards my beloved Browns. For the sake of accuracy, I looked up the word "apathetic" in the dictionary to make sure that's how I was feeling and I found the definition to be very, very accurate:

ap⋅a⋅thet⋅ic, [ap-uh-thet-ik]
1. having or showing little or no emotion: apathetic behavior.
2. not interested or concerned; indifferent or unresponsive: an apathetic audience.

Bingo. That's exactly how I feel about this team when I watch them play and I know that I'm not alone. Eric Mangini has succeeded in making a once passionate, loyal and die-hard fan lose interest and have little or no emotion while watching the Browns.

There are some people who believe that Eric Mangini may still be successful as the head coach in Cleveland but I'm just not a believer. I want to be supportive and passionate about this team again but I simply cannot do it while he is still employed as the Head Coach. It is remarkable how quickly Eric Mangini was able to suck the life out of this entire organization and how after only 8 games into his tenure there is absolutely nothing fun about being a Browns fan anymore and nothing to look forward to on Sundays.

It pains me beyond belief to write this but if Eric Mangini is still the head coach on opening day in 2010 I will not watch a single snap of Cleveland Browns football for the entire season.


  1. You found me. I am the one you speak of that still believes Mangini will be successful.

    BTW, you will watch them next season if he is coach, even if it is to watch them fail. Cleveland Browns football is in your blood brother, you must live with it.

  2. Nope. I just signed this blog with my own blood that I will not watch a single game next year if Mangini is still the coach. I would put my hand on the Bible if I had to.