When you remember back to how it felt to have a season without the Browns and you think about the very real possiblity that this is our year and we have a great chance to win it all, give thanks you have football, Cleveland Browns Football.
Cleveland Browns Fans you should be the happiest fans in football you have football, Cleveland Browns Football, and this is our year to lift the Lombardi, this was meant to be.
Get out your Dawg Bones and Batteries it's time for some football Cleveland Browns Football..............
***********************************************************Looking back at 25 years ago, the first Sunday with no Browns football
September 7, 2021 2:18 pm ET
On September 7th, 1996, my wife and I were married in Twinsburg, Ohio. It was a wonderful day full of blessed memories, with friends and family from all over coming to Northeast Ohio. It’s hard to believe it was 25 years ago.
In reminiscing about our wedding and the time it took place, it was easy to remember the tone around town. We had just experienced the first weekend without Cleveland Browns football.
Sure, the Indians were nearing the end of a magical season. But it was undeniable that Cleveland was missing something big. Not having the Browns cast a very tangible pall over the city, the residents and the fans who bleed orange and brown.
Week 1 of the 1996 season took place the prior weekend. I shook off my bachelor party from the night before and absentmindedly flipped on the television to watch the Browns. But they were no more. Of course I knew that, but the cold reality didn’t fully hit home until I was forced to watch Pittsburgh and Jacksonville play on the Cleveland station where I normally watched the Browns. I turned it off, too apathetic to the NFL to watch even out of curiosity.
I lived in Eastlake at the time, and my commute to work took me past Art Modell’s estate. In the week around the wedding time, it was wild to drive by and see all the trash, all the hateful messages left in plain sight. Fans were mad and didn’t care about any consequences. The combination of raging anger and soul-sucking sadness danced together in an uneasy tension that was easy to feel around town.
The absence of the Browns was a hot topic with our wedding guests and my groomsmen. We spent a long time talking about it the night before the nuptials, about how sad it was to not have such a historic pillar of life anymore. My best man was from Cincinnati, an obnoxious Bengals fan (still is too!), and he commiserated how awful it was. We may or may not have driven past Modell’s and may or may not have thrown something objectionable over the fence, too.
It’s been 25 years. I still remember the pain. Heck, my NFL team has been the Lions since the late 1970s, but being a Clevelander, there’s always something compelling about the Browns. They’re not just a team, they’re a significant part of the zeitgeist of the area. Life in Northeast Ohio was incomplete without the Browns. Even when the team is terrible, as it too often has been in the 22 years since the Browns returned, there’s something comforting and unifying about Sundays on the lakefront with Browns football.
The picture above carries special significance. My neighbor at the time had that exact picture in her living room. Underneath she had a giant orange candle that she lit as a hopeful talisman to bring her beloved Browns back. Her dogs, Hanford and Minnie, wore Browns sweaters all the time. And that didn’t seem odd or out of place in Cleveland at the time.
I was in Cleveland over the Labor Day weekend. The buzz about town regarding this promising Browns team is unlike anything I’ve seen or felt in Cleveland since the peak of the Marty Schottenheimer years. Browns flags are flying proudly off porches. There is Browns-related merchandise everywhere, including on the backs of the folks going out to eat or hitting the town. It’s impossible to miss, or to not appreciate.
Last year was something special. The first playoff win since 1994 — and doing it in Pittsburgh, no less — but it was just the start. There have been seasons of hope in Cleveland, but they never really panned out. This time around, it’s hard to find any compelling argument why these Browns won’t be one of the NFL’s best teams in 2021 … and beyond. The community pride is real and it’s spectacular.
Cleveland, we’ve come a long way since September of 1996. It’s not been an easy road. That’s why Browns fans appreciate the potential of this team so very much. Enjoy what should be a great season.