The Cleveland Browns have caught the attention of the nation in recent months and the excitement surrounding the team seemingly grows on a daily basis.
With an offense that has the potential to be among the league’s best, a defense with a mix of young playmakers and veterans that should put the fear into opposing offenses, and more swagger than seems possible for a 53-man roster, the 2019 edition of the Browns should be highly entertaining.
Not everyone is a fan, however.
Ron Cook, an “analyst” with 97.3 The Fan in Pittsburgh, joined Scott Ferrall’s Ferrall on the Bench radio show on Tuesday to voice his displeasure about all the attention being focused on the Browns:
“I think the hype around the Browns is ridiculous. It’s only going to be irritating if they live up to it. That’s the thing: they still got to show they can win. I think the feeling here is the Browns are still the Browns until they prove otherwise. Rookie head coach Freddie Kitchens, good luck dealing with that.
“It’s hard for anybody here to take the Browns seriously.”
Cook obviously has a point, especially when it comes to the Browns and the Steelers, as Cleveland has not beaten Pittsburgh since 2014. And Cleveland’s last win in Pittsburgh came all the way back in 2003.
But Cook is clearly underestimating this team and fails to realize these are not the “same old Browns” that the Steelers are used to seeing.
It also ties in to comments that quarterback Baker Mayfield made to Complex Sports about the external hate that is building toward the Browns:
“It went from having excitement over Bud Light coolers being opened to now people waiting to see us lose so they can say, ‘Oh, they got too hyped up.’ That’s why you’ve got to have an even-keel mindset when it comes to that stuff.
“I’d say the chatter doesn’t matter. The expectations for us within the locker room last year were higher than what we accomplished. Outside the locker room, people threw us in the trash before the season. They didn’t expect much out of us just because, the year before that, [the] Browns were 0-16. So, you know, you can only go up from there. And I think now we need to have the same mentality. It stays within that locker room. You’ve got to believe in it and take it one week at a time. Because I wouldn’t say that everybody wants to beat us. I think in the media and everything that comes with the hype around our team right now, people want to see us lose, just because the hype is so real. But we’ve got to go out there and take it one week at a time. We’re trying to win every week.”
The Browns have spent the past three seasons building something and the rest of the league is starting to worry that all that hard work is about to pay off.
As Mayfield said, the hype surrounding the team is real.
Now all they have to do is keep proving the doubters wrong.