Frustrations with Outsiders' Perspectives

Dealing with an 0-5 team and the snarky comments from others that come with it

Do you really want to re-hash Sunday's game?

If so, there are a couple excellent options.

Lane Adkins has his thoughts of a wandering mind here.

Dave Kolonich has his Upon Further Review article here.

For now, I need to take a step back from the individual game analysis.

Last week, the NFL Network debuted its latest documentary, "Cleveland '95." I have not watched it. I don't think I can. Friends who have watched it tell me that while a lot of it focuses on Bill Belichick, there was the prevailing thought that if the Browns never moved, winning football would have been bestowed upon Cleveland for many years.

Back to reality. We're dealing with an 0-5 football team, which has lost 11 consecutive games dating back to last season. Hopes of a turnaround will begin with an offseason that is expected to see more changes to the coaching staff and front office staff followed by endless debates about high draft picks.

It's just another year of Browns football. It's become old hat. We're used to it.

For those outside the inner circle that is Cleveland Browns fandom, they look at us as crazy people.

Case in point, a tweet from Newark Star-Ledger columnist Steve Politi last Sunday at halftime of the Browns-Giants game.

"Seriously. At what point do people in Cleveland just wake up and say, ‘You know, I'm going to focus my energy on gardening?' (Giants 27-17)"

This team has lost and lost a lot since 1999. People like Mr. Politi look at Browns fans and think, "Surely they must root for another team or have taken up another hobby to fill their Sundays?" Then, they remember the Browns didn't have a team from 1996-98 and the same question is always asked.

"What team did you root for then?"

What team did I root for? Like that was even an option. Ask any Browns fan and the NFL was a non-entity during that span. You don't root for another team. The mere suggestion is incomprehensible. I'm a Browns fan. I'll always be a Browns fan whether there is no team, they're 0-5 or 5-0.

Nowadays, Browns fans have many more options to commiserate with one another: Email, Facebook, Twitter, animated GIFs and message boards, to name a few. We'll poke fun at this or that. It makes us feel better. I enjoy snarky comments on Twitter between two Browns fans as much as the next guy. But when an outsider takes their snide jabs, like Politi did, it bothers me.

I should have thicker skin. It's getting thicker with each demoralizing loss and Pittsburgh Steelers' Super Bowl victory. Still… it gnaws at me. Here's another example.

Early Monday morning, I entered the men's locker room at my gym. The TV was showing Browns-Giants highlights and a few guys were looking at the screen with smirks. As those highlights — mostly in the Giants' favor — were being shown, a gentlemen laughed and said, "Browns? Heh. I almost forgot about them."

I didn't confront the guy. Let's face it: the Browns are the laughing stock of the NFL. What could I argue? "This team is young?" or "You just wait!"

Eh. It would be futile. Inside, I was upset at this non-Browns fans making fun of the team. I know I should be above the petty jokes from others, but in the words of Peter Griffin, it really grinds my gears.

I desperately want the Cleveland Browns to be a force in this league. A bona fide juggernaut. I want them to win. Does it ruin my Sunday when they lose? Naw. There are more important things in life, but I am growing tired of watching losing football season after season.

Regardless, most of us will tune in next week, the week after and so on. It's what we do. We're Browns fans and Browns fans watch this team play, as difficult as it may be at times. We also understand the players don't want to lose either. They care about winning, too.

With each passing game, ownership change, coaching regime or starting quarterback, the hope remains that winning football is finally within reach.

Those who make Cleveland Browns football apart of their lives just wants a winning product to finally rid themselves of that agonizing exercise that is thinking back to 1995 and asking, "What if?" Because you'll never find Browns fans asking, "What other team can I root for?" The latter question has a concrete answer: The Cleveland Browns.

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