We are Dawgs By Nature. That is not just a name for a website covering the Cleveland Browns, it is a state of being for so many of the fans of the team. For a vast majority of the Browns fans, it was chosen for them. Like their name, birthplace and family, being a fan of the Cleveland football team was a birthright.
Given the struggles of the team since The Return in 1999, there is nothing about being a fan of this team that makes sense. In a variety of ways, not just in the standings, Browns fans have been failed by the team they religiously support, spend time, energy and money on and a team that most have passed on to the next generation.
As we hit Cleveland’s bye week for the 2023 season, it is a time for reflection. The Browns have to find hope from within as there isn’t a quick fix coming from outside of the organization. The schedule has a few tough games, including within the AFC North and the San Francisco 49ers coming out of the bye week, but also includes the struggling Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, Houston Texans, New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals.
Any of those teams could have their fortunes turned by the time Cleveland faces them or have their fortunes changed by playing the Browns.
That, along with the myriad of issues over that last 20+ years, is why being a Cleveland football fan is difficult. Based on history, Browns fans should expect the worst. Sunday’s game came against a Baltimore Ravens team that was without seven starters. Yes, Deshaun Watson missed the game but that is still a huge lack of talent for the visiting team and yet the Browns were mauled at home.
Our fandom is a part of our nature, we are Dawgs by Nature after all, but we have also nurtured it. We have found hope in a draft pick, a new coach, a new front office, a new free agent or something else. Every time, Cleveland’s luck/plan has failed.
While we hope that it changes with the rest of this season (heck 2-2 isn’t a bad record), it is logical for Browns fans to expect the worst. Then again, since when is being a fan of the Cleveland Browns logical?
When... oh, when... the Browns are actually able to capture the AFC North title, the AFC Championship and participate in the Super Bowl, all the nature and nurture will be worth it. When that happens is still a hope not an expectation.
I know we/I will be here until it happens and beyond. It is in our nature, after all, to love the orange and brown-clad football team.
What is your story of becoming a Dawg? Who handed it down to you? How have you nurtured the nature given to you?