Written by Scotty Mincher & Super Dave O’Malley
Welcome to the inaugural installment of “Goal Line Stance” with Scotty Mincher and Super Dave O’Malley. In this column, Scotty and I will be examining the psyche of the Mahoning Valley sports fan, in all their undiluted glory.
Our first subject will be on the long-suffering Browns fan, more specifically, the Modern Day Browns Fan (MDBF). Allow me to continue…
Imagine being a fan of “The Walking Dead” but you only started watching it after season six, or of loving the show “Two and a Half Men” but only the Ashton Kutcher years. Sounds ridiculous and painful, right? Well, welcome to the wonderful world of the MDBF. These are the fans that showed up to the theater late, just in time for the tragic second act, approximately around the year 1999 (not the party that Prince suggested). And trust me, we feel for the MDBF.
You know who they are. The dudes walking around the sports bar in their $200 Trent Richardson jerseys pining for a return of the Kelly Holcomb era. Sad, really. And, unfortunately, no one personifies the MDBF like my man, Scotty Mincher…
SD: So, Scotty, how long have you been a die-hard Browns fan?
SM: Since 1999.
SM: My father made me a fan.
SD: Do you ever feel like just rearing back and hitting him square in the jaw?
SM: Almost every Sunday.
SD: And how long have you been a season ticket holder?
SM: Seven Years.
SD: So, as many years as home wins?
SM: (Abject silence with a touch of glare).
In Scotty’s defense, most MDBF’s have poor patriarchal advice to blame for their wildly misguided fandom, but that can’t be the only reason, let’s explore…
Look, we all know the facts: Twenty years, over twenty quarterbacks, twelve head coaches (unbelievable), two winning seasons and one playoff appearance…sob. So, exactly what does the MDBF have to hang their helmet on? As Scotty has pointed out, being a resident of Ohio went a long way in choosing his favorite teams (both admirable and loyal) but he also added that he’s a Browns fan because he loves the color orange, so you never know. I feel the color orange should only be worn by hunters or people doing community service on the side of the highway. Although coupled with the color brown, it is quite autumnal. Perhaps the MDBF, quite simply, loves the city of Cleveland. It’s possible. Cleveland is a great town.
But, so is Pittsburgh (once you get acclimated to Appalachian foothill dialect and trucker hats).
But, make no mistake, there is a difference between a Cleveland fan and a Pittsburgh fan. You can pick the differences up right away. Let’s take DJ Yokely, owner of YSN and a lifelong Steeler fan. DJ is one of the most confident, driven and positive people I have ever met. I guarantee you, he would not possess any of those three qualities if he had grown up a Browns fan. There are rare exceptions, of course, but it’s a very difficult road. I grew up a Browns fan and I barely have a pulse.
SD: So, Scotty, what special qualities do you possess by being a Browns fan?
SM: Perseverance and the innate ability to handle pain.
SD: Then it helps to be a little masochistic to be a Browns fan?
SM: You have no idea…(trails off into a cloud of tears).
But wait, it’s 2020, the year of the bizarre and the Browns have a winning record (as of this writing) and seem to be destined for a playoff berth. (Of course, the Squealers chose this year to have their best start in history, dagnabit!!). We can’t concern ourselves with that. So, could this finally be the year the MDBF have something to fill their, basically vacant, great memory file? Could this be the year that the generational gap between old and new Browns fans gets narrower? We can only hope. Either way, Browns nation is not going anywhere.
Scotty and I love the Browns, for better or worse (heavy on the latter), and even though I experienced many more successful seasons (actually only three), we will continue to throw blind support at our beloved Browns. We are an extremely dysfunctional family, but loyal to a fault. We have experienced more than our share of heartbreak, yet we still continue to love our team. That alone says the most about Browns fans, old or modern.
I’m not sure this piece has shed any light on the Modern Day Browns Fan but that is the enigmatic nature of this fan base.