The DEFEND Cleveland Show

Browns Version 3-6, and the Art of Defending A New Team


Well, the Browns found a way yet again, didn’t they?  It’s really uncanny the way that they can not only lose, but lose in a way that fails to captivate much interest.  I watched almost all of that game Sunday, as I was stuck in a social situation where everyone else was a Browns fan.  I endured that game, much in the way I endured Geometry 2 in high school.  I hoped something good would happen at the end, but much like Geometry 2, I was left disappointed.  ((I still have never seen a rhombus.)) What about you?  You watched it too, didn’t you?  You just couldn’t help yourself.  And here you are today, wondering what happened to your Sunday.

Allow me to put you through a little mental exercise.  Let’s say that we go with the premise that all NFL games are live reality television programming.  Going to the stadium is to be part of the studio audience.  If you like going to the games live, what you really like is getting shitfaced with your buddies early on a Sunday.  The game is almost an afterthought.  I get that.  Now if you are a fan that watches the games primarily on television, as most Browns fans are, let me ask you one question.  Why? ((Editor’s note – Browns game on average since returning to the League is a 50 share in Metr0-Cleveland. That means half of all the TV sets turned on are tuned to the Browns, and the other half is presumably smarter than us.))

Why would you continue to watch a horrible TV show when you can literally watch any live football TV show?  In the dark ages before NFL Sunday Ticket, you had to root for your home team as that was the only game you knew you were going to get on Sunday.  You got to know the players by watching them week after week, and you started to think of them as “your guys”.  Bernie is the QB.  Clay Mathews is the linebacker.  Dixon and Minnefield are in the secondary.  These are “our guys”.

Now with free agency, I never know who the hell most of the Browns are when the first game rolls around.  The rosters are so fluid; you are basically cheering for shirts and mailing addresses.  So why continue to root for a shirt?  You know that this particular branch of NFL Inc. will put out a horrible team year after year.  Just because they film the show on the lakefront, it doesn’t mean you have to watch it.  You can watch ANYBODY and follow them just as closely thanks to the Wonders of the Internet.  Hell, do you even know for sure if those games are being played down there?  They may all be done weeks ahead of time on a soundstage in Pasadena.  The probably shoot it in front of a green screen and drop in images of fat guys in mustaches waving plastic bones later in postproduction.

So let’s say you do what I did with baseball.  Logically pick a new team.  For example, I have never been a front runner, so I wouldn’t gravitate to a team that is always good like New England, Dallas, or Pittsburgh.  Assholes like LeBron try to cut corners like that.  I like it when my team overcomes years of adversity, so when they win it is more exciting.  However, I do not want to follow a team that is so inept that it will annoy me.  This is a leisure activity, and shouldn’t piss you off.  This eliminates teams like Cincinnati, Arizona, Washington, Oakland, and St Louis.

I would want my team to be based on the West Coast.  I would much rather watch a 4:00pm game than a 1pm game.  This will enable me to do something productive in the afternoon like write my manifesto in a spooky cabin in the woods.  I enjoy drinking in the twilight while watching my late afternoon wagers come together.  If I toss in my favorite team playing at 4:00, I might really have something.  Now I am looking at San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego, and Denver.

Now, let’s move to the issue of gear.  If you follow your team, you’ll want to wear the occasional shirt to announce your support.  I am not suggesting you’ll need one of those horrible Browns team jackets you see people in Parma wear regardless of the occasion.  Just a t-shirt.  Let’s not lose our minds here.  It should be a logo and color combo you’ll wear with some sort of confidence.  For example, does anyone look good in Denver Broncos gear?  So, Denver and Seattle are out.

The final factor should be the city.  You have to feel good about the city.  For example, almost everyone from Philadelphia is an asshole.  While you may look good in green, like watching Michael Vick, and identify with the rabid fans, you may also want to consider that you probably don’t want to actually spend time with anyone from Philadelphia.  Think of the team’s fan base as a family you are marrying into.  You want a fat loudmouth brother-in-law that is always pissed off and confrontational?  Nope.  Me either.

I like the cities of San Francisco and San Diego.  Do I marry up the 49ers with my beloved Giants, and go full in with the city?  I think that San Francisco’s long history of excellence cuts them out due to my front runner aversion.  San Diego, on the other hand, went through the Marty Experience of having really good teams and then failing to win the big one time after time.  I like that they are always pretty good, but inexplicably lose games they should win.  That feels familiar.   I like the gear.  The city has beaches, great microbrew, and a laid back attitude.  They even have that tacky disco era fight song.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you my new favorite team: the San Diego Chargers!  Can you believe “We” lost to the Raiders last week?!

See how easy it is?  I will now be logging onto my computer to buy a Chargers shirt.  “We” have a big game against Chicago Sunday.  I want to be ready.


-Greg Miller

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Posted by on Nov 14 2011. Filed under Featured, Greg Miller on Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

2 Comments for “Browns Version 3-6, and the Art of Defending A New Team”

  1. chief

    You cannot pick a new team out of thin air because you “like the gear”, the city and some of the city’s by-products. Its hollow and shallow and you’ll never appreciate them truly winning it all (if it ever happens) because there is no substance behind it. Great…learn all the names of the players and log on to their message boards and buy your powder blue gear. Will yourself to love the team. Its got to be such an empty feeling to explain to people why the Charger are your team.
    By the way, the SF Giants was a real stretch there in not picking a front runner. If you decided to be a Nationals fan you would have had me.

    • Greg Miller

      I would argue that my almost random choice of team has as more substance than you rooting for the team that was inserted here by the NFL. Just because the team has the same zip code as you doesn’t really mean anything. You do share the commonality of having other people in your peer group liking them, so you can have a shared local experience if they win. But the Browns aren’t really “local”, are they? It’s not like we all went to high school with Colt McCoy or live next door to Joe Haden. These guys are employees that work here at the Cleveland branch maybe 7 months a year.

      The NFL really is a TV show. It is a reality TV show with heroes, villians, and storylines. It’s not much different than WWE or Survivor when you get down to it. It’s a story with weekly contests that set the stage for the next week of analysis. But don’t get pissed at TV. The revenue from television is the life blood of the league. It is because of television that you can follow any team in the league just like they were the one based in your zip code. While you are watching your favorite Browns program on your channel, I will be a few channels down the dial watching what is sure to be a more interesting program in my beloved San Diego Chargers.

      By the way, I jumped on board the Giants in 2009. They finished third in the NL West that year. They hadn’t made the Playoffs since 2004. They hadn’t won a World Series since 1954. I watch almost every game, starting with the day I decided they were the new team I would watch. I went to the clinching game of the World Series in 2010 in Arlington. I sat in the outfield. It was awesome.

      My Chargers t-shirt arrives in the mail tomorrow. Show Me Your Thunderbolt!

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