I have been a fan of the Browns for as long as I remember. I will remain a Browns fan until I die.
My first clear memories of being a Browns fan are from the Kardiak Kids, although I remember the 12 days of Browns Christmas '..and a Rutigliano Super Bowl Team' much more clearly then I remember any of the actual games from that season. I try to tell myself I remember seeing Red Right 88, and I know I did actually watch it on TV, but I really don't have a firm memory of that play. The first game I definitely remember attending was a Monday nighter against the Bears, when Kosar and WebStar Slaughter just went berserk and we crushed the Bears. That was after the Drive and Fumble had already occurred, of course, and I do have clear memories of watching both of those disasters on TV.
After graduating from College in '94, I attended at least one home game every year that I was able, only missing two seasons since then. One because I was stationed in Korea, the other because I was stationed in Missouri as a trainee. This past season, for the first time, I was a season ticket holder. (As a side note, my first duty assignment in the USAF was 20 miles south of Baltimore... in 1997... which was almost literally sheer torture. No, I did not attend any games, anywhere, from '96 through '98.)
I will not be a season ticket holder next year. Neither will my father, who has been a season ticket holder for at least 7 years. We both have decided, based on events since Sunday late afternoon, that there is no need for us to give another dollar to the Browns until things have changed. Certainly not $2,800 each, which is the current price of each of our seats for 10 games. I feel that while my money is not even a drop in the bucket when viewed against the total amount of income generated by the Browns, it is the strongest form of protest can make. Browns leadership, such as it is, does not care about the words of a fan. But if enough fans make the decision I have made, then perhaps TV blackouts will get their attention that things are not sitting well with their fans.
We've been a bad team for a long time now, but this year, especially in the last 48 hours, we've gone from a bad team to a laughingstock. I cannot fathom the decision-making process that is being used by current leadership, because it does not resemble anything I would consider to be proper or intelligent. And yet, the craziest part about it is... keeping the current front office is almost certainly the best-case scenario at this point, because turning over the entire organization is (to borrow a computer term) a hard boot, as opposed to the soft boot of simply firing Chud, and by extention, the rest of his staff since the next head coach, mercy upon his soul unless its McDaniels, will want to install their own staff.
I hope I am wrong. I hope that some sort of miracle occurs and the current leadership can actually sign a quality head coach. I strongly suspect that the person they actually sign is going to be a Banner/Lombardi yes-man, however. I strongly suspect that our best free agents this year will depart. I strongly suspect that no decent free agent will even consider signing with us. I strongly suspect that a top college underclassman will decide to return to school for the express purpose of avoiding the curse of being drafted by us this year. I strongly suspect that the next head coach, along with Banner and Lombardi, will all be fired at the end of the 2015 season. I really hope I'm wrong on all counts, but would anyone be shocked if any or all of that happened?
I have been, and will remain, a Browns fan.