Being a fan of a professional sports team runs deep. There are casual fans but those fans move on from games and results moments after those games end. Those fans don't live and die with every snap, ever pitch or every jump shot. Those fans tend to limit their sports media intake to the major media such as ESPN.
We know that most, if not all, of you are not casual fans. Your passion for our Cleveland Browns is why you subscribe to The OBR, why you engage in our forums and why you so passionately tweet at/with us especially on game day.
So where are you right now? What is the State of the Fans of the Cleveland Browns?
Currently we see fans in two different states:
Make Changes, See What Happens
There is a group of fans that believe that change can bring about success. Some are calling for GM Ray Farmer to be replaced because his talent acquisition has been spotty/terrible. Removing Farmer gives fans hope that first round picks may produce quickly, that a high level wide receiver might be picked and that free agency will be used to bring in some big time talent.
Others are calling for HC Mike Pettine to be replaced as the defensive minded head coach has overseen one of the worst defenses over the last two seasons and refuses to play young players in the hope of winning. The struggles of the defense are unforgiveable for these fans and not firing DC Jim O'Neil is even worst. Pettine has also made playing time decisions that confuse and concern these fans. Players seem to find his doghouse either due to youth or attitude and seems stubborn.
If you haven't read Lane's piece yesterday, with direct quotes from someone inside the organization, you need to click here to open in a new tab.
As noted in Lane's piece, Alec Scheiner's role with the team is a concern for many as he is a business man reportedly involving himself in the football operations.
Finally this group of fans wishes that owner Jimmy Haslam would no longer be the owner of the team. That is unrealistic hope/expectation but there is some hope that he can learn from his mistakes at some point in time.
The fans in this state have hope that someone, anyone might be able to turn things around and put the Browns on the right path. Yet they may not be far from turning into the second type of fan:
The other state of fans may seem like anger or frustration but at some level it is a version of apathy. This group of fan doesn't see hope for the future. They have seen change over and over again and yet the results are the same. If they are angry, it may be at themselves for having hope in Farmer and Pettine. Much like Charlie Brown, time after time trying to kick the football from Lucy, they once again invested themselves in a team that has disappointed them time and time again.
These fans are trying to figure out what to do next. They love football. They have followed the Browns for years but are not sure they can do it any longer. That the Browns lost on Thursday Night which gave these fans some time to think on Sunday. Some watched football. Some didn't. Either way, most experienced a better Sunday than they have had on a fall day in a long time.
The Browns are at risk of losing this fan group. Almost bigger, they are at risk of losing a whole generation of young people who have many options for enjoyment as well as teams they could decide to follow.
The Browns have some of the most loyal fans in the world. That loyalty is being tested and the State of the Fans currently is either one of hope that another change can make something positive or an apathetic uncertainty moving forward.
How will the Browns game with the rival Steelers impact the State of the Fans? Could a win against Big Ben-less Steelers change either or both current State of the Fans? We shall see.