I've been a Browns fan since my first game in 1979 when the Browns played the Baltimore Colts.
I had a Brian Sipe poster until it fell apart a few years back.
My Marty Schottenheimer autograph is framed. My 1985 and 1986 team photos are proudly displayed in my basement.
My Cleveland Stadium is sitting at the foot of my basement steps. I always wondered if my grandfather who worked at the stadium in the 1950s wiped this seat down when he worked as a usher.
I watched EVERY playoff game in the 1980s. My mom bought Browns bread from Stop-N-Shop. I still have a Browns 1988 towl hanging in my old room at my parents' house. (It never made it into the basement at my house)
For many years, I wished that John Elway would fall flat on his face for Captaining the drives that sunk the Browns' Superbowl appearances.
I screamed when Byner fumbled, sank when Bernie was released; scoffed when he signed Andre Risen
I was shocked when the team was moved in 1995. It still hurts. I remember that day vividly.
After the move when the city was in the process of tearing down the old stadium, I would drive by the empty shell every day. I knew a guy who was working security when they tore down the old stadium so I had the chance to walk around the field before the wrecking ball. That day, I was the only person in the stadium! The field was faded. The seats torn out. The ads were gone. It was cloudy and cold. It was, and still is the eeriest feeling I've ever experienced.
That said, on this day of Art Modell's passing, I do grieve for him and his family. Make no mistake, The Move really ticked me off! But its been 17 years. I'm over it.
Maybe if the Indians would have won the World Series in 1995 and 1997, fan sentiments would be less harsh.
Maybe if the Cavs would have made it further into the playoffs in the 1990s, the chip on our collective shoulder would be lighter
Maybe if the Browns since 1999 would have had more than ONE playoff appearance, our incendiary comments about Art Modell's since his death would be more about the good that he brought the city through his philanthropic endeavors.
This chip on our collective shoulder covers all Cleveland fans young and old. We all carry around alot of powerful feelings about this city's lack of a winner since the early 1960s. We reach the top of the mountain only to slip off the other side. Its a chip that will take a generation to completely fall off. Every playoff season, I feel a portion of that chip sink deeper into my soul.
At that time when Gateway was being developed, Modell was left out. He dumped tons of money in repairing the Old Stadium with no return. If I was in the same position, maybe I would have done the same. I don't know. All that I know is that I am over the move. Most fans under the age of 25 have no memory of the move. Its all of us thirty-somethings and older who had our hearts ripped from us! Yet through all of this, I've learned to put my aggressive emotions aside and compartmentalize the vast scope of the team's operational history since the 1980s. Once I do that and remove my fan allegiance for a moment, I understand that the move was a business decision.
Let's all show some proper respect in Art Modell's passing.
The Browns are back and are now entering their 14th season. Lets focus on the positive. I never said it would be easy