OPINION: We should stop watching the Cleveland Browns


Erik Drost/Flickr

It’s no secret the Cleveland Browns have been the laughing stock of the NFL for some years now, but now one lifelong fan is deciding to no longer watch them due to their newest quarterback acquisition.

The depressing pile of filth that is the Cleveland Browns franchise can inspire intense emotions. So, with the help of an anonymous Browns fan, these emotions were distilled into a poem alongside an account of everything that comes with Browns fandom: A fandom that should cease to exist.

North of a railbridge

Blue waters and blue sky.

Are pure and gentle,

And roll into the mouth of a river.

The sun was always out on Sunday mornings in Cleveland. My friend and I would meet up in the neighborhood and throw a football back and forth, imagining we were players on the field, destroying whatever opponent the Browns were set to play. While we drew up routes on the pigskin, the guy who lived across the street from me would stoke our hopes of a victory as he passed by, walking his dog to the lake. As the ball kicked off downtown, my friend and I abandoned our fantastical game and ran into my house to watch the real thing. Outside, the blue sky over the lake seemed to become clogged and blotted with gray at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River.

Willfully mismanaged byproduct oozes
from a Sad Factory, and

its scummy residue froths and quivers on the river’s surface.

Years of stagnation clog the water’s flow, staining it Brown.

While Lay’s BBQ chips crunched between my and my friend’s teeth, we watched our quarterback’s bones crunch under piles of defenders. Most games I can remember, we lost by halftime. Today, reflecting on the horrid Browns franchise, I wonder: 

How many times did Johnny Manziel (or Brandon Weeden or Jason Campbell or Jake Delhomme or Charlie Frye or Kevin Hogan or Cody Kessler or Robert Griffin the Third or Colt McCoy or Josh McCown or DeShone Kizer or Seneca Wallace or Tyrod Taylor or Trent Dilfer or Kelly Holcomb or Baker Mayfield) stare up into the gray Cleveland sky after having their brain plastered against their skull, questioning if their source of income was worth the humiliation?

A figure, whose Brown hat is

adorned by a once threaded, now frayed helmet

faces south upon the railbridge,

and stares down into the Brown bile.

It’s time to admit it, and really admit it: The Cleveland Browns have sucked for a long time. We, the fans, have continued to support them. Against our best interest, we’ve weighed their success against our sanity. We, the fans and our collective camaraderie are the true product of this franchise. The fans showing up for each other has meant more than the team has ever meant for us.

At least the team has been loveable.

Without breaking its stare,

the figure’s miserable fingers grope and prod the meaningless cloth.

A mechanical screech echoes in the distance, 

and the Factory’s waste thickens.

The figure drops it’s once treasured possession

and it soaks into the grime until it sits monochromatically–

Brown hat against the Factory’s sludgey waste.

But, the recent trade for Deshaun Watson stripped away any lovability that the Cleveland Browns organization still had remaining. The situation is greasy. And, why did we trade away so many picks for him? And why did we pay him so much?

Let’s just stop watching this team now.

In general, this franchise deserves to burn “in a brighter shade of orange”.

Decisively, out of sheer disgust at what they see,

the figure removes a match from their pocket.

“Burns a brighter shade of orange”, the matchbox label advertises.

The figure strikes the match, and flicks it below,

wondering what beauty the burning river 

once possessed under the cover of the Factory’s Brown stain.