The Reality of Being a Browns Fan


Justin Ballou

On Sunday, Nov. 11, Browns QB Baker Mayfield told reporters after a win that he “woke up feeling real dangerous.” The quote went viral with Cleveland fans and is now used as a rallying cry.

Justin Ballou, Reporter

On Sunday, Dec. 2, I attended the Cleveland Browns game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX. The game was a disappointment, as most Sundays are for Cleveland fans, but it’s always fun to see your favorite team up close and in person. Although the Browns got destroyed, I was able to go down to the first row of the stadium and meet Nathan Zegura, the Browns senior media broadcaster, to whom I listen and watch all the time. He gave me advice about how to continue to pursue my dream career in sports journalism and also gave me an autograph. I also met and got an autograph from “The Miz,” who is a WWE Superstar and also a Browns fan.

I was born in Cleveland, Ohio and lived there until I was four years old. My dad warned me not to be a Browns fan because, although the Browns came within one play of reaching the Super Bowl two years in a row in the 80’s, they have been perennial losers ever since. I chose not to listen and have been a fan of the team ever since, barking every Sunday wherever I’m watching the game. The barking started with the Browns team in the 80’s when the defense started to bark to pump up the players. It stuck with the fans and became a tradition.

The Browns have basically been the laughing stock of the NFL since they returned to the league in 1999. They did make the playoffs in 2002, but have struggled to find success since then. Last year, they became the second team in the history of the NFL to finish a season 0-16. The Browns fans actually held a “perfect season” parade after last season to try and flush away the sorrows of the past. I and many other diehard Cleveland fans believe that it was worth it to go winless because we have finally found a franchise QB. After 19 years of searching, we have a quarterback that we can rely on, and his name is Baker Mayfield.

Despite the constant losing, Browns fans are truly like no other. I have personally witnessed the passion that the “Dawg Pound” has every gameday, chanting in unison as the game plays out. At the sports bars, the Browns actually have to rent out their own section each Sunday because so many fans, known as the “Browns Backers,” come out to watch the team play. In Houston, there was a Browns fans only tailgate, where we talked about how the year has been and what we look forward to in the future.

This year has been great by our standards, as the team has already broken the following streaks: 17-game losing streak (week one), 18-game winless streak (week three), 18-game division winless streak (week five), 36-game losing streak on Sunday (week five), 25-game road losing streak (week 12), 64 games without back-to-back wins (week 12).

From 2015-2017, the Browns won a total of four games. The Browns currently have seven wins and one tie in 2018. They swept the Cincinnati Bengals for the first time since 2002, and defeated their former head coach, Hue Jackson, in both games. Hue won 3 games with us in over two years. I’d love to see another victory against the division rival Ravens in week 17, who the Browns have already beat once this season. Even if the year ends in yet another losing season, this year’s team has put the demons of the past to rest throughout the year, and for the first time in over a decade, we have a quarterback that we believe can lead our team to victory in any given game.