We are officially less than a month before the start of the NFL season, so it's probably time to start previewing the monster. The key to the NFL's success — other than fantasy football and gambling, of course — is the rabid nature of its fans. That is to say: You don't see a lot of people painting their faces for their favorite golfer.
We asked a gaggle of writers, from the Web, from print, from books, even a TV guy or two, to tell us, in as many or as little words as they need, why My Team Is Better Than Your Team. This is not meant to be factual, or dispassionate, or even logical: We just asked them to riff on why they love their team so much, or what their team means to them, or whatever. We will be running two a day until the beginning of the NFL season.
Right now: the Cleveland Browns. Your author is James Frey.
I am 36 years old. I am from Cleveland. No Cleveland team has won a championship of any kind during my lifetime. We've had a few great teams, the Browns in the mid 80's, the Indians of the late 90's, the Cavs now, but none of them ever win big games. Unlike most, if not all, of the rest of the writers in this piece, I don't believe my team is going to win the Super Bowl this year. The Browns don't have a chance in hell of winning. I've been rooting for them for far too long to even consider it. We're in the midst of rebuilding, which has been going on for seven years, ever since we got the team back in 1999. Before they left for Baltimore in 1995 (Fuck you Art Modell), they had been rebuilding for several years. In typical Cleveland fashion, that team won the Super Bowl ... as the Ravens two years after they left.
Unlike many recent years, I actually believe the Browns are going in the right direction. Romeo Crennel is a great coach. Phil Savage is a great GM. We have an owner who is incredibly rich, wants to win and will spend money to do it. We're two years away. This year, I'll be thrilled if we're 8-8. I'll be fine if we're 7-9. The Super Bowl isn't going to happen. Maybe someday, but not now.