The Browns are a very proud organization that has been around since 1946 as a charter member of the All-American Football Conference. Cleveland used to have one of the most feared teams in football winning all four AAFC Championships. Think the Colts and the Saints are doing well this year? Well the Browns went 15-0 during the 1948 season! The Browns would join the NFL in 1950 and would win four more championships before the NFL-AFL merger in 1970.
After having fair success in the 80’s and early 90’s the Browns ran into trouble with owner Art Model. Model wanted to make improvements to the Cleveland Municipal Stadium. On November 6, 1995 Art Modell announced he would be relocating the franchise to Baltimore. The very next day, the voters in Cleveland approved $175 million in tax dollars to renovate Municipal Stadium. The plan had been proposed by Modell himself and was later scrapped. Durring the Browns final year there was even a protest staged in Pittsburgh, by fans of the Browns greatest and most fierce rivals. Even Steeler fans didn’t want to lose their rivalry with the Browns. Could you imagine Raider fans protesting the moving of the Chiefs? Bronco fans? San Diego…er..San Diego fans probably wouldn’t even protest the moving of their own team. I can’t even fathom the Chiefs ever leaving Kansas City but we can learn from the Browns and as Mike Ditka says in the following video, “if it can happen here, it can happen anywhere.”
The point of this is not to frighten you into thinking that Clark Hunt is going to sell the Chiefs and start a soccer team. It is to show you that, even though watching 3 terrible seasons has been tough, things could be a lot worse. How about having three seasons of no Chiefs football at all?
The Browns returned in the 1999 season although some may wish they had stayed away. Football may be back in Cleveland but whether or not it can be called professional football is up for debate. The Browns have been absolutely terrible since their return. A combination on busted draft picks, terrible coaching and foolish front office maneuvers have made the Browns a league wide punching bag for most of the decade. The once heralded rivalry between Pittsburgh and Cleveland has been less like a heavyweight fight and more like the school bully picking on the class nerd. The Steelers had beaten the Browns twelve consecutive times until last weeks upset.
If we can learn anything from the Browns it is how hard it is to turn around a floundering franchise. Though things have been bad for the Chiefs we should remember that as recently as 2006 the Chiefs were a playoff team. While that may seem long, long ago, we as Chiefs fans, really haven’t been struggling that long.
Those of us frustrated with the losing need to remember that that past is not the fault of Scott Pioli and Todd Haley. The new regime is in year one of rebuilding a franchise the best way they know how. We need to hang with them and give them the time to build their team. Many a successful football program has gone through a rough season or two before things started to take hold. When the Chiefs take the field Sunday (if you’ll be able to see the game) watch for individual improvement of the young players that are likely to be apart of the program for years to come. Don’t view the game as a “Toilet Bowl” between two of the leagues worst franchises but a clash of two proud, veteran franchises who have been reborn and are struggling to make it back on top. The game will be full of young players with massive amounts of potential. Jamaal Charles, Andy Studebaker, Brandon Flowers, Brandon Carr, Josh Cribbs, Chris Jennings and Brady Quinn are all young and talented. Any one of them could turn out to be part of the next batch of NFL stars. If the game is blacked out for you then I encourage you to buy a pair of tickets and head out to Arrowhead Stadium to root on your team. Tickets can be obtained for very little and the boys in Red and Gold need your support.
Rooting on your team, even when they lose, is still better than not having a team to root for at all. Just ask a Browns fan.