In a corner of the midwest part of the United States, off the shores of Lake Erie, lies the city of Cleveland Ohio.
It is a city that has risen and fallen within the zeitgeist of national attention. From the Lake Erie fire in 1969, to the transformation of its blue-collared jobs, it thrived on into another stretch of the U.S. Rust Belt.
The city of Cleveland has had its hard times. But nothing has been as bewildering to the city of Cleveland as the lack of success of its home team Browns. But despite the pain and the heartache, the city of Cleveland has the undisputed title “Greatest Fans of the NFL.”
Named by the fans in the city it represents in 1945, Browns fans have been through the gauntlet of human emotion within the confines of the team’s history.
They have rejoiced in victory with triumphs such as the incredible “Jets double-overtime.” And they have also been tempered in defeat, with infamous moments known as “The Drive,” ”Red Right 88” or “The Fumble.”
Moments such as these have left the Browns fans breathless, holding onto their broken dreams as if they still had meaning. This fanbase has experienced it all, including the loss of its franchise to the city of Baltimore.
But despite it all, the Browns fans rise up dusting off their old tattered Bernie Kosar and Jim Brown jerseys, hungry for more.
But of recent, the Cleveland Browns have fallen on even harder times. Since the teams return to the league after their three-year exodus from football, the team—which is affectionately known as “The Brownies"—have struggled for glory.
They have managed just two winning seasons out of what will now be 13. They have had 16 starting quarterbacks, five different head coaches (not counting interim head coaches) and a countless number of nameless, faceless players.
And despite all that, if you were to travel to Cleveland Browns Stadium on a Sunday afternoon, you would see the masses cheering and celebrating. Perhaps it was the loss of their team that makes them cherish every moment, or maybe it’s just passion for the game—but despite all the losing seasons, they remain faithful and optimistic.
The Cleveland Browns fanbase extends well beyond the Ohio state border. It has become a living, breathing entity of networked fans known as “The Browns Backers.”
And they continue to pay homage to their beloved team from as far as 12,000 miles away. Browns Backers are the largest sports-fan organization in the country.
Browns Backers Clubs can be found in every major city in the United States, in parts of Europe and beyond. We, the fans of Cleveland, took a virtual unknown player with a decent season (Peyton Hillis) and made him golden by giving him a place on the cover of perhaps the greatest gaming franchise in history known as Madden NFL Football.
And we did it not because he earned it, and not because he deserved it; we did it because we love our Browns. And no one—no team, no city and no mass media network—can take that away from us.
So we will march on. We will cherish the victories, and swallow the defeats. We will celebrate moments both good and bad with equal fervor. We are Browns fans to the bitter end.