I'm assuming most of you are familiar with the sports blog Deadspin and its founding editor, Will Leitch. I was perusing his book, God Save the Fan, which is actually pretty solid and worth the read, when I saw a reference to our beloved Browns in the section of the book about Fans.
He's discussing the oft-debated subject of what makes a "true" fan, and he makes the following interesting argument about loyalty to a franchise:
".......Because a real fan never leaves his team...even if they leave him. A friend of mine recently told me how difficult his life is as a Cleveland Browns fan. He had the usual complaints: They don't care enough about their fans, they don't have a concrete plan in place[NOTE: this book was written previous to last year's resurgence] , and (of course most important) they'd never made it to a Super Bowl. My friend went on about this.......at least I think it was my friend; he was wearing one of those Dawg Pound masks at the time, I suppose it could've been anybody.
But I had no sympathy. If he were a real fan, he would have celebrated his first Super Bowl win 7 years ago....with the Baltimore Ravens."
Moving a bit forward in his rant, he continues:
If something as silly as geography guides your rooting interests, isn't it wishy-washy to move your loyalty around just because someone realized the franchise could make more money in Topeka than Boise?
........And as for "abandoning" a city..please. NFL Teams and their fans live in the same city about 27 days a year. A team and its fans have as much in common as your hand and a vending machine.
......I looked at my Browns fan friend and just shook my head. I didn't want to hear it; if he were a real fan he'd have his Super Bowl. Eight years ago against the Giants. You can look it up."
I find this position, that a true fan follows a franchise regardless of city, to be...interesting. Of course, I sharply disagree; I think geography has and should have a lot of influence on who we root for., especially with teams like the Browns , Packers and BIlls-places where that team is an integral part of the community.
This reminds me of a question(or taunt) I hear a lot out here in SoCal...I'm a proud Brown's fan, have been since I was 10, but I'm not from Ohio. I've never lived there. I chose Cleveland to root for when I was a kid because I hated the LA teams and my mom's side of the family were all Ohio natives. Because of cost, I may never be able to attend a Brown's game in person. So, am I less of a "pure" fan because my geographic ties to the team are tangential?
Anyway, I was just interested to hear any thoughts on Mr. Leitch's argument.