Fan View: Much Ado about Nothing?

Welcome Ryan Jones, new "Fan Commentator" for the OBR with his take on the logo fracas.

I woke up today feeling much like I do any weekday. Well, any weekday that I have to be up before the sun comes up so that I can go to work in below zero February wind chills. Except there was one slight, subtle difference today. Something so small in my mind that I didn’t even realize it until I had settled in at my desk and flipped on the old radio.

Today was, of course, the day that the Browns were going to be unveiling their new and updated logo. Something that had been billed for a couple weeks and subsequently blown up by fans and media alike. I hadn’t really given it more than a few passing thoughts since I saw that it was coming, and found myself very slightly excited this morning when I realized that I’d have something to check out when I took my morning break.

Apparently, I was in the vast minority of Browns fans.

What I found on Twitter late this morning and what I heard on the airwaves throughout the rest of the day was an almost nuclear combination of anger, frustration, bewilderment, and disappointment. Maybe it really is true that this city and its sports teams have already sucked out all my enthusiasm and energy in just 27 short years. Or maybe it’s just that the reaction was a bit over the top.

Yeah, I think I’m going to go with that one. The latter of the two options. Although, it’s entirely plausible that both are actually true.

Let’s break down the facts, as few and mostly benign as they may be: The Cleveland Browns unveiled a new logo today. That logo was an updated version of the logo that they have used since before I was born. A logo, by the way, that has already been updated more than couple times. And, lastly, the color of the face mask was changed, along with the hue of the orange. Again, things that have already been done in the past.

That’s it. That’s all that happened. And when it was revealed, madness ensued. Based on the reaction that I both read and heard, I would have thought that the Browns committed an atrocity of unparalleled proportions. I saw multiple people saying that the new logo was the final straw. That they were officially done with the team for good. And I also saw people making out this reveal as another in a long line of national embarrassments for the city. Something that the country was laughing at in that all too familiar “Oh, Cleveland” kind of way.

I have to say, I’m not sure that I get it. Personally, I don’t really have an overwhelming reaction to the new logo. They changed the orange a bit, and we have brown face masks now. I suppose I should probably reserve my total reaction until I see how the new colors work, but I think it’s just fine. Certainly not something that would cause me to swear off the franchise entirely. I mean, I’ve seen a Ken Dorsey-quarterbacked Browns team. I don’t think there’s a logo on earth that could enrage or depress me as much as that.

No, I just don’t feel that strongly about what the Browns unveiled today. Certainly not as much as many of my fellow fans. I’ve heard a ton of different reasons for the outrage, ranging from the build up of the announcement to the fact that they didn’t completely blow up the old logo and give us something entirely new. I’d like it noted for the record that people who are mad that we didn’t get something completely new never really seem to give any examples of what they wanted. They’re just really mad and they wanted something new, dammit!

When I said earlier that I’m not sure that I get it, I think I may have been wrong. There’s actually a pretty good chance that I do.

This is where we are. This is what we have. We’re all so pissed off that our franchise is always seemingly in shambles and we’re so fed up with the buckets upon buckets of crap that we’ve had to shovel down for decades, that we can’t help but complain and yell about everything related to our team. We’re at the point where the Browns update a logo and we get upset about how they did it. We’ve reached depths so low that we’ve convinced ourselves that the only way to turn things around is to completely blow up the logo that was part of the history that we fought so hard to keep.

I suppose you could call me a traditionalist when it comes to the Browns. I may not be able to remember so much as a playoff victory, but I have an affection for the tradition of this team that would rival that of someone who was actually around to see Otto Graham heaving it deep while Paul Brown paced the sidelines. I understand why all of us get so worked up over something as trivial as an update to the helmet logo, but the reaction seems entirely misplaced.

The anger and apathy I experienced so much of today probably should have been directed at the fact that the Browns had Josh McCown in for a visit. Which means that there is a greater than zero percent chance that he might be the quarterback next season. Which is, of course, not great.

But, no. We’ve got people yelling about a slight variance in the color scheme of our helmet, which we’ve used as our logo for about four hundred years. Meanwhile, in Green Bay they have the letter “G” on the side of their helmets, a green and yellow color scheme, and jerseys older than dirt. And I bet you they’re not crawling over each other up there in Wisconsin to complain about a logo. They’re too busy talking about Aaron Rodgers and division championships and playoff games. We have Josh McCown staying in a Red Roof Inn off I–71 and logo debates.

Yep. I think I do get it, after all.

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