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As a 39-year-old lifelong Cleveland sports fan, I must say, I’ve seen some pretty bad football over the years.

Whether it was 0-16, 1-31, Johnny Manziel, Josh Gordon, Dwayne Bowe… should I keep going? In my lifetime it’s no secret that Browns football hasn’t necessarily been synonymous with positivity.

Thankfully that page has seemingly turned.

It’s a new day for football fans in Northeast Ohio. Sure, our new quarterback has some baggage, but you can’t deny his ability on the field. Hopefully, we’ll get to see at least some flashes of what Deshaun Watson is capable of under center a few months down the road.

In addition to Watson, the Browns also return elite players in the primes of their careers. Nick Chubb is one of the most feared running backs in the game. Myles Garrett is a true Defensive Player of the Year candidate. Denzel Ward is a cornerback that has to be game-planned around.

But this post isn’t about our new quarterback. It’s about our old one.

Baker Mayfield’s tenure in Cleveland was unique. As a rookie, he competed at an all-time level. He snapped a 19-game losing streak for the Browns. He compiled a record 27 touchdowns as a first-year player (which was later tied by LA Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert). He also, famously, led Cleveland to the playoffs and slayed the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the postseason.

But Mayfield’s bark didn’t always match his bite. In 2019 he was the 24th ranked QB in football. In 2021, he was 25th. His record after four years as a starter is a listless 30-30.

There’s no denying Mayfield had a lot to do with the culture turnaround here in Cleveland. I honestly and truly appreciate what he did for my football team.

But that was then, and this is now.

After the Browns made their move for Watson (and regardless of if you feel like that was the right or wrong decision), Mayfield was traded to the Carolina Panthers. As the football gods would have it, the Browns visit the Panthers in a Week 1 showdown that couldn’t have been scripted any more perfect for the NFL.

But, there’s something that’s really bothering me. In all my years of rooting for the Browns, one of the things that I’ve most enjoyed was the sheer, utter, and unadulterated loyalty to Brown and Orange. Even during the Hue Jackson and Freddie Kitchen eras, Browns fans were a tight-knit group. We didn’t bend. We didn’t crack. We stood tall in defense of everything Browns because that’s what we do here. That’s who we are.

But lately, I don’t know man. I don’t know what I’m seeing.

Whether you want to believe it or not, there are so-called Browns fans openly claiming that they’ll be rooting for Baker freaking Mayfield on Sunday. They’re bragging about rooting for the other team’s quarterback on the day that team plays the Browns.

What the f*ck?!

To me, this is an act of treason. How can you call yourself a Browns fan if you are actively rooting for your team to lose? If it’s so easy for you to switch your allegiance, were you ever really a fan at all?

Where is the loyalty that surrounded this club when it took them two full seasons to win one damn game?

To be clear, if you call yourself a Browns fan, and you are still rooting for Baker Mayfield, especially if you’re rooting for him during Week 1 as the Browns travel to take on the Panthers, you’re a bum.

B.

U.

M.

In a few months, when the season wanes and the playoffs draw near, as the Browns have important division matchups to close out the year and when Chubb is chasing the rushing record while Garrett is polishing his numbers for DPOY, remember what you were doing Week 1…

Hopefully, that memory won’t be trifled with thoughts of you rooting for the enemy.

Wake up Cleveland. Football is back.

And the last time I checked, this is still a Browns town.


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