The Tortured Fan: A Message To The Cleveland Browns

This Ohio fan has seen nothing but years of futility, driving him to a rival.

James LeBeauby James LeBeau

Listen, before I get into this whole spiel about why the Cleveland Browns desperately need, no, deserve to be, a team that is one of the tops in the NFL, let me make one thing clear, I am a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

That's right, I am a Pittsburgh Steelers fan who is sick to death of seeing the Cleveland Browns continuously make idiotic mistakes that keep them from being anything but a cellar dweller in the AFC. Ok, I get that a Steelers fan wishing well on a Browns team is pretty much like a cat inviting a mouse over to dinner and actually feeding the thing instead of swallowing it hole. I get it, I really do, but let me first explain myself before you take my Terrible Towel away.

I have spent my whole life in Ohio surrounded by a family of Browns fans, and while I NEVER strayed to the dark side and actually rooted for Cleveland — thankfully my mother had enough sense to instill a proper upbringing in me by introducing me to the Blank and Gold at an early age — I did spend a childhood enjoying a nice, mostly friendly rivalry between the two teams.

Cleveland-Pittsburgh games, for me, and for any true fan of either team, weren't just games, they were events that years were planned around. The rivalry between these two AFC squads is actually the oldest in the conference and I'm proud to say that the Steelers hold a nice 64-56 edge over the Browns all-time.

Unfortunately, however, the meat of this rivalry hasn't been the same since Art Modell packed up the team in the dead of night and took it to Baltimore, winning a SuperBowl soon after, much to the continued pain of any Clevelander. Sure, the city got it's team back, but trust me, it hasn't been the same. Since the Browns returned in 1999, they are a pathetic 4-20 against the Steelers.

4-20! How can anyone call that a rivalry?

The answer is simple, you can't. The Browns have been a joke for over a decade and while it was kinda funny at first to see them flounder, it's getting to the point where now it's just kinda sad. Right up their with beating a defenseless baby seal.

I mean, look at them, their most dynamic player since returning to the NFL, the ones most Browns fans get fired up over, is a freaking punt returner! Sure, Josh Cribbs is very good at returning those punts but if the best player your team can boast about in over a decade is a punt returner, something is sure as hell going wrong somewhere.

The biggest rub for Cleveland fans is that they honestly shouldn't be this bad. I mean, with as many high draft choices they have had over the years, shouldn't some of them have popped by now?

Looking back over their first round draft picks since 1999, the one thing that stands out is that NOBODY stands out! They have had eight picks in the top 7 since 1999 and everyone of them, with the exception of Trent Richardson who has played one game, have been bums; or at least guys that haven’t made much of an impact. It's almost as if on draft day they make up this big board with player's faces on it, blindfold themselves, spin around a few times, and toss a few darts at hopefully the right direction! If I didn't know any better, I would say their scouting department consists of a group of elderly people depending on their underage grandchildren to look up from playing Barbie and give them their thoughts on who's good or not, it's been that pathetic.

Look, enough is enough Cleveland. It's time to start putting a team out there that can contend in the AFC. I WANT the fear of potentially losing to you back. I WANT you to be a threat to my team's playoff chances. I WANT the rivalry back!

Curb stomping you as you cry like a little girl has lost its appeal. Browns, it's time to step up and start winning again.

James LeBeau is a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports and you can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on

Photo Credit: Getty

By: Matt Sullivan
Collection: Getty Images Sport