Webster’s Dictionary defines tradition as; the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without instruction.
In Cleveland, tradition has different meanings depending on who you talk to. For people old enough to collect social security checks or belong to AARP, tradition means Jimmy Brown, Frank Ryan, Otto Graham, Marion Motley, and off course championships. Yes, pro football did exist before Super Bowl I was played. How I would have loved to grow up in those years!
For Cleveland Browns fans old enough to remember, but too young to have served in Vietnam, tradition is associated with heartbreak, Red Right 88, The Fumble, The Drive, and too many near misses and “oh so closes”. Many Browns enthusiasts truly believe that John Elway was indirectly responsible for the move to Baltimore. If the Browns would have won just one of those AFC Championship games and went on to win just one of those holy grail Super Bowls, the city of Cleveland would have built Art Modell the Taj Mahal if he asked. Hence, the move to Baltimore never happens.
The new Browns fan (1999 or after) never had the pleasure of taking in the stench of old Municipal Stadium or looking through the steel beams that obstructed views of the field. To them, tradition is getting embarrassed 43 zip by the hated Pittsburgh Steelers to start the rebirth of the franchise in 1999, Tim Couch crying and getting booed on the field, Dwayne Rudd launching his helmet, Butch Davis coaching his “guts” out, bottle gate, Braylon Edwards’ stone hands, and Kellen Winslow Jr‘s crotch rocket accident. Recently, tradition is watching Pat Shurmur be completely clueless on the sidelines. New tradition is watching your best player that was highly drafted (Trent Richardson), just simply not be used on crucial downs.
Regardless of your age, the one thing that still remains a tradition in Cleveland, most of us live and die by the Cleveland Browns. The fact that the loyalty the fans have runs deep for the brown and orange and there’s always the hope of “next year”.
Ryan Ruiz – Cleveland Browns Writer
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