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Picking Your Passion? How did the Browns become at the top of your sports list?

Cleveland is a rare sports town but the often bad Browns seem to run the fanbase

MLB: MAY 27 Cardinals at Guardians

It may not be realized by many fans but Cleveland, Ohio is a rare professional sports city in a rare professional sports state. Very few cities have franchises in the NFL, NBA and MLB. On top of that, very few states (outside of the New York, California, Texas, Florida big ones) have multiple franchises in multiple professional sports leagues.

Add on top of that the Columbus Blue Jackets, Columbus Crew and FC Cincinnati, and the state of Ohio is just loaded with pro sports for fans to follow.

In Cleveland, the Cleveland Browns have long stirred the passions of the fanbase like no other despite regular struggles to even field a winning time. While the Cleveland Cavaliers were winning the city’s first title in forever and the Cleveland Guardians/Indians have found a way to be competitive quite often despite minimal payroll at times, the Browns get the most page views, most air time and most face time.

Seeing a variety of Browns players throwing out first pitches at the Guardians games made me stop and think about the popularity of football in Cleveland (and around the country).

Growing up, I was 100% a baseball fan with limited access to watching basketball and a passing interest in football until I was between 8 and 10. Even through middle school and high school, the tail end being as the baseball team found its stride in the 90s, football was just part of the sports landscape, not the vast majority of it.

As the growth of the NFL’s popularity grew, Cleveland losing their franchise stung deeply. It was almost as if the loss of the Browns to Baltimore created some kind of dire need for the franchise. A passion that never went dormant but wasn’t the raging fire it was when Art Modell screwed a city, entire region and worldwide fanbase.

I can’t describe when and how the Cleveland Browns took over as the top professional team in my heart/soul. Maybe it happened gradually as I got older? Maybe the consistency of knowing what day and time the games are on and having less games got me more excited for them? Maybe just the popularity of football, in general, and having it be the primary sport covered by the media (local and nationally) moved baseball lower and football higher?

What about you?

  • Are the Browns where you put your most fandom?
  • Was that always true or have your passions changed?
  • What do you think contributed to it in your lifetime?