Wednesday, September 18th at 6:19 PM (EST), it was announced that the Cleveland Browns traded running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts.
At 6:20 PM, fans in Cleveland rose up out of their seats, went to their windows, and yelled… “We’re as mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore!”
And who could blame them?
This is a football town. With a rich football history. Near a college known for producing some of the finest football talent in the league. And it’s appropriately located just north of the football holy land of Canton, Ohio, home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Yet somehow, the football Gods have rained on the Browns and their fans for what feels like forever.
Let’s take a moment to reflect on the tragic history of the Cleveland Browns franchise.
1994 – The Cleveland Browns go 11-5 and make the playoffs for the first time in four years.
1995 – Browns owner Art Modell moves the team to Baltimore (replacing the Colts who moved to Indianapolis).
1999 – The Browns reenter the league with a new team and a new stadium. The team retains the Browns name and history, only to set a new record (worst in franchise history) when they finish the season 2-14.
2000 – The Baltimore Ravens (former Browns) go 12-4 and win the Super Bowl.
2001-2004 – The Browns’ former coach, Bill Belichick (fired in 1995), goes on to win three Super Bowls with the New England Patriots.
2010 – Though it has nothing to do with football or the Browns, Cleveland Cavaliers star basketball player LeBron James becomes a free agent and in a live broadcast on ESPN, The Decision, reveals that he is not resigning with the Cavaliers and is instead “taking his talents to South Beach…where they will win not one, not two, not three…NBA Championships.” So far, he has won two.
2012 – After more than a decade of mostly losing records under ownership of the Lerner family, the Cleveland Browns are sold to businessman Jimmy Haslam. Art Modell dies. And the Ravens go 10-6 and win another Super Bowl.
2013 – The FBI and IRS begin investigation into owner Jimmy Haslam’s Pilot Flying J corporation for conspiracy and fraud involving fuel rebates.
If ever there were a case for fans rallying together in a hostile takeover of their team…it is that of the Cleveland Browns. They certainly have the hostile part figured out.
My message to Browns fans:
TAKE BACK YOUR TEAM
Good luck. And God bless.
Disclosure: I am an Indianapolis Colts fan. I directly benefited from the Trent Richardson trade. However, my joy and excitement are slightly tempered by the sincere sorrow I feel for Browns fans. Good people. And great fans. You deserve better. And you will get better. Soon. I hope.
I’m sorry. I stand in solidarity with you. And I’ll be cheering for you.