When the Cleveland Browns have a home game, the entire city seems to deck itself out in orange and brown. Browns fans have long been considered as one of the most passionate fan bases in the NFL. Since the Browns made their triumphant return in 1999, they haven’t rewarded the fan base’s energy and passion with success.
Before the 2020 season when the Browns went 11-5 and lost in the AFC Divisional Round, the last successful season the Browns had was in 2007. That season, Cleveland went 10-6 and all they needed was for the Indianapolis Colts to defeat the Tennessee Titans, and the Browns would be in the playoffs for the first time since 2002. The Colts didn’t hold up their end of their bargain, as they fell to the visiting Titans 16-10 bringing out tears of sadness among the Cleveland Browns fanbase.
At this point, the 2007 and 2020 seasons feel like they are nothing but anomalies because otherwise, the Browns have delivered nothing but losing seasons. This includes going 1-15 in the 2016 season and 0-16 in 2017. The 2017 Browns and 2008 Detroit Lions are the only two winless teams in NFL history.
After those back-to-back horrendous seasons, the Browns made their fans endure, I wouldn’t be surprised if some fans decided to jump ship and become fans of another franchise.
When the Steelers have had expectations placed on their shoulders, they’ve been able to meet or exceed them. When the Browns get hit with expectations, they tend to trip over themselves and fall face-first into a mud pit. It doesn’t seem to matter what level of expectations are placed upon the Browns; they don’t meet them.
Every season, Browns fans flock to FirstEnergy Stadium at the beginning of the season believing the team is actually going to do something. Despite Deshaun Watson being suspended for the first 11 games of the season, Browns fans still thought this past season was going to be different, especially because they finally won a season opener when Cade York made a last-second field goal to beat the Carolina Panthers.
The Browns appeared to be carrying the momentum into their home opener against the New York Jets and a 2-0 beginning to the season was in their future, but the Jets scored two touchdowns in 90 seconds to spoil the festivities and knocked off the Browns 31-30. Cleveland came back the following week and beat the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football 29-17, but then Cleveland proceeded to lose four games in a row essentially taking all of the wind out of its sails. Cleveland finished the 2022 season three games under .500 with a 7-10 record.
Enduring a losing season is nothing new for the Browns or their fans. Instead, it’s become the standard, hence why “there’s always next year” has essentially become the motto of Browns fans. Starting the second week in September when the 2023 NFL Season kicks off, the Browns have 17 opportunities to prove they’re a different team than in years past and change the negative stereotype around the franchise.