Years ago, a good friend decided to join the Dawg Pound when the Browns made The Return. I told him what it meant to be a fan of this team, what the history was, and what he should expect, going forward. I also remember telling him: "There isn't a single one of us who would ever blame you if you decided to bail. It's a Browns thing for us; most folks can never understand." Michigan native, he was U of M, but never really the Lions. Never really had a team. So, when CLE came back, we'd already become good friends, and he decided to go all-in. I'm really happy for him.
There was a time when I'm sure I'd have lost my mind at a playoff win like this one. For some strange reason, I've been amazingly calm and just- so, so... satisfied.
This team has been more than just a joy to watch. They've been an inspiration. They started from less than nothing, beat back CoVid, beat the odds, beat 12 opponents, and did it as a Pod Against The World. No one would have given them a chance. Which is exactly why they are so special to us, and why I'm so amazingly calm.
From the time this team played better than .500, I've looked upon all of this as gravy. Every game has been a gift. Relevance in January: priceless. And it's not just that we're here... it's how
this team got us here.
This team's only viable path to reach this point required them to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers not once, but twice... in successive weeks
. First, at home, in the reg season finale, and one week later, in the house where PIT has humiliated Little Brother for years. Hollywood studios would laugh this script out of the conference room for lack of believability, but them's Our Browns, right?
Which frames Sunday night's tilt in the starkest of terms for us Browns fans:
If ever there was a culture-changing inflection point, the past 2 weeks were the fulcrum under the teeter-totter. And look what these young men did with the balance point. Oh, my goodness. My goodness.
So, I'm not jumping up and down, losing my mind.
Instead, I'm looking at what they've done, who they are, who is in charge/place... and I'm finally seeing what I've always been preaching.
Let us not forget one important factor in this incredible season: this was Year One.
I'm feeling calm satisfaction because it looks like the beginnings of a long stretch of years that sees CLE playing in January. Stretches like those are what bring multiple Lombardis to a club.
Those last 2 games were an exorcism.
That last game was catharsis.
This team is finally for real.
No matter what happens beyond this past 2 game stretch, something very important happened: Browns made Steelers cry. Not Steelers fans- Steelers players
New reality for the AFCN