A home game on Monday night is a great opportunity to show what Cleveland Browns fans are all about. Sure, the season is in turmoil and the likelihood of victory is remote, but this is Monday Night Football in Cleveland.
Gone are the close, rabid confines of Cleveland Stadium. The new stadium, while not bearing the standard corporate moniker prevalent throughout the NFL, is plush and corporate in comparison to the old lady by the lake. It's still the home field... yet it lacks the home field advantage this team needs.
Home field advantage comes from playing at home with fans in attendance to support and raise the emotions of the home team, while adding confusion and discouragement to the opposition. In the old days at Cleveland Stadium, the Browns and their fans would create an atmosphere which could elevate the play of the home team, and make life miserable for the opposition.
Like the new Stadium, the team still doesn't measure up. This is 2009, not 1989, not 1964 or the 1950's when the Browns were as good as any team to walk onto the gridiron.
The 1999-2009 models of the Browns have struggled mightily for the most part. The story of this organization hasn't changed much in the 10-plus years the organization has been back on the playing field.
Despite the losses, the punchless offense, and the lack of excitement, the Browns are still the Browns.
Reboot after reboot, the fans have mostly remained loyal to the Browns, if discouraged. For many, Browns football is in their blood, a loyalty passed from generation to generation.
In the midst of what may be the worst season of Browns football in decades, a division amongst Browns fans and the team has become evident, as there has been little to get excited about. Even those who are unquestioning in their loyalty haven't had much positive news to latch onto.
But, Browns fans are Browns fans. Some of the most loyal, devoted - and tormented - fans on the planet.
Into the midst of this misery comes a self-proclaimed super-fan who, by his actions, despite his disclaimers, paints himself as a face of the team. I don't know this fan, Dawg Pound Mike, but I do know he does not speak for the fans.
A real fan, who doesn't believe he is as big as the game, does not seek to embarrass the team, the organization and the city, especially when the national spotlight is going to be on Cleveland.
To waltz into every possible media venue and claim an undeniable love for the Browns and the city -- then attempt to rationalize why a boycott would change the complexion of the team -- is senseless.
To ask Browns fans who spend their hard-earned dollars to stand on the concourse or wait outside the stadium until the opening kickoff is over -- is senseless.
What is there to gain?
Randy Lerner will not be persuaded to sell the team, especially due to a boycott on Monday night. Nor will Lerner suddenly have a change of heart and fire the head coach once he notices a handful of self-promoting Browns fans are not sitting in their seats.
Of course, there are plenty of empty seats at kickoff anyway, so maybe this will help the boycott backers in spinning their "boycott" as a success.
Like any American, I'm all for freedom of speech and expression, a right I am exercising with these words. But, maybe due to the where this is coming from, I'm not buying.
I see nothing constructive in embarrassing the team on national television -- and you can bet the house that Dawg Pound Mike will again find his mug on the game telecast.
On this note alone, the joke is again on Cleveland.