Fan View: The Inescapable Feeling

Surrounded by Steeler fans, the torment of Erie, Pa-based Jeff Biletnikoff continues. Keep in mind that the views expressed in "Fan View" do not necessarily reflect the views of the OBR publisher and staff. If you would like to write for Fan View, click the My Profile menu and then "Contact Us!"

Before I get into this article, I realize that all I'm talking about is the NFL...not "real problems" like job loss, sickness, etc, so please take what I say with the grain of salt that it's meant to represent.

However, having said that, It's been nearly two months and I'm still bitter.

I know the 2008 season is ancient history.  The Steelers and Ravens went to the AFC Title Game.  The Steelers won everything.

All of it happening in a year where the Browns were finally turning the corner.

Not so much, eh?

I can usually put my bad feelings aside and at least look forward to free agency and the draft.  Who will the Browns get?  What kind of moves will they make? Is this the year it comes all together?

This year, I'm still doing all that but it's with a major twinge of "eh, who gives a flying crap?"

I even find myself hoping they fail year over year until Cleveland Browns Stadium is empty and Randy Lerner is forced to sell the team.  I don't want to give Mangini and Kokinis the same chance that I gave Policy/Clark/Palmer, Policy/Garcia/Davis, and Crennel/Savage.

I find myself illogically wanting Mangini and Kokinis to go out and lay a huge egg.  I'm sick of making bets with Steeler buddies year after year only to pay up with money AND the usual round of smack that always follows.

I'm sick of wearing Browns gear and having people say "geez, I'm sorry" or "why do you like that team?" with their voices always raising an octave to punctuate the end of the statement/question.

I am pre-empting my Steeler buddies this offseason with comments like "You think you can stick it to me this year?  Oh yeah??? watch this!!!!!----I hope the Browns go 0-16, how do you like that???? Now stop talking about how freaking good your piece of crap team is!!!!!!!!!!" 

Of course I don't hope for 0-16. But it usually shuts their mouths when I go there.

Unfortunately, I can't talk about how good the Browns will be so, I'm forced to take their dire predictions for the team and turn them up a notch.

If at this point you're thinking that I either need to be on stronger medication or that I just should suck it up and stop being such a big baby, then you probably have a point... but year after year after year after year of having expectations and then having them thrown back in your face is getting to be too much.

The 2008 season was the proverbial straw for me.  To not only see the Browns look horrible once again but then to have the Ravens and Steelers enjoy great success?

I thought I'd be over it by now.

I thought I'd be rolling through mock drafts and free agency news with gusto as I usually do.

I'm not.

I'm going through the motions of my offseason ritual with no passion.  No expectations.  No care for the team that I've followed since the Kardiac Kids era.

I guess Browns ownership and management has spun one too many story, made one too many promises and failed to live up to basic expectations one too many times.  Like the kid who told us the wolf was coming Randy Lerner has promised to fix this thing one too many times.

The townspeople don't believe anymore and neither do I.

I hope my fire and passion comes back.  That is the definition of a Browns fan.

I've reached the inescapable conclusion,though, that I haven't had this apathetic of an offseason since the Browns moved to Baltimore.

And I'm sure I'm not alone if you're honest with yourselves.

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