Are Browns Fans Different than Cleveland Sports Fans?

Are Browns fans different than Cleveland sports fans?

I always thought I was a Browns fan, first and foremost, but I now realize I am much more of a Cleveland sports fan than a Browns fan.


There seems to be a certain group of “diehard” Browns fans that disassociate themselves from the rest of Cleveland sports fan bases. They think they are entitled to do whatever they want because they had their team taken from them and pay X amount of dollars to watch them play every year.

I first read about Jen Steer’s experience back in September and now there’s a Letter to the Editor from a Steeler’s fan about how Browns fans go too far & ruin the perception of Cleveland.

Let me clarify: this is not every fan of the Browns at the stadium. They aren’t even necessarily the most rambunctious of game attendees. I think there is a separate, select group of people that only support the Browns and not any of the other Cleveland professional sports teams.

I took one of my college friends to her first NFL game: Browns v. Ravens.

We weren’t drinking, swearing, or doing anything remotely offensive—actually quite in contrast to many of the groups around us.

In the 4th quarter, we had the Ravens pinned back inside their own 10-yard line. The Browns players were raising their arms in the air, trying to get fans to stand up and make some noise to pressure Flacco and deafen the offense.

We stood up, for the first time during a play the entire game. We subsequently got screamed at to sit down by a man the row behind us. It was seriously the loudest I have ever had someone yell at me, due in part to this guy’s mouth being literally only a foot from my head.

No warning. No “would you please sit down.” Disregarding the fact the people in front of us were standing.

I looked back at this middle-aged man, at the game with his wife and two high school-aged sons.

We sat down.

The Factory of Sadness

I have been to many Cavs, Indians, OSU, Notre Dame & other games and have never been so disrespected for participating in a standard fan activityNot even at away games.

After the family had left, I expressed my general dismay to my friends. What happened to common courtesy before screaming your head off? A simple tap on the shoulder. Kindly asking.

That’s when a random older lady decided to chime in. “Just let it go.”

I looked back, dumbfounded that a stranger could possibly be defending this guy.

“I know you’re young and new to this, but I’ve been a season-ticket holder for 12 years and this is the way it is.”

Within minutes of this interaction, a few hammered Browns and Ravens fans got into a brutal fistfight, which resulted in them rolling over the seats and running away from security.

But standing and supporting the team is a problem.

When did Browns fans become more excited about making everyone miserable than cheering for the team?


9 thoughts on “Are Browns Fans Different than Cleveland Sports Fans?

  1. Good post that should lead to interesting conversation…

    My one and only visit to Lucas Oil Stadium a few years back for a Colts vs. Broncos game included a verbal pissing match of entitled people clamoring about standing vs. sitting and who had been a season ticket holder longer, very similar to what you described.

    I just continue to assume that none of these things are unique to Cleveland. They’re annoying and a problem, but I just think it happens this way everywhere. People have a sense of entitlement everywhere they go because they paid a ticket price. In Cleveland in the 80s that used to “entitle” you to scream at the team and boo when they stunk, but I think nationally we’ve become so used to entertainment and comfort being synonymous that it has manifested itself in ticket holders thinking they’re entitled to sit all game without having their view blocked.

    It’s a problem. I don’t think they’re right. I don’t think it’s at all unique to Cleveland just like fashion, music and other cultural phenomena aren’t limited by geography in the Internet age. We all have the same influences nationally now whether we’re talking about shitty reality TV, chain restaurants, Youtube videos or sports customs. I mean look at 7 Nation Army. Every college, high school and even some pro sports teams use that song as some kind of rallying cry almost for no apparent reason at this point.

    But tell me someone who paid $15-20,000 for their single-seat PSL for the New York Giants isn’t also acting like this in the Meadowlands. I won’t believe it. But I do agree that it is garbage to be told to sit during exciting plays or situations at an NFL game. It is utter garbage. I just don’t know how to fix it other than civil disobedience.

  2. Courtney: You make a valid point about the “entitled fans”. When the team was moved, the key Cleveland people in power, “enlisted” the help of the “fans” to make the necessary “noise” to the NFL to get a team named the “Browns” back in Cleveland. I was one of those who faxed the NFL offices; wrote letters; and did whatever I could w/o the use of today’s Social Media tools. Why? Well many reasons. 1) Saw the ’64 NFL Championship game in person as a HS junior! Last CHAMPIONSHIP of any kind in C’Town! 2) Family had season tix since ’53 (and they still do to this day PSL and all-Thanks DAD and RIP!) I tho, do not go to the games. I went to one in ’99 and did not like what I saw. Not on the field mind you. But the stadium; the lack of identity of the place; AND those “entitled fans”. I would rather view the games in attendance on the road, where you EXPECT to be yelled at; shouted at; etc. But then it is part of going to an AWAY game!! I do not want to be told to sit down during important parts of a home game! Now you can tweet/text violators to the stadium Gestapo and they will come after you? I could list many games I attended at the Lady on the Lake, and never once placed my butt on the seat! AND we had great seats! Everyone then knew you used the seats during breaks in action, but as soon as the game got going…Like Joe Tait used to say’..”UP ON YOUR FEET”! we all did!!

    So, I guess if this makes me “not a Browns fan” so be it! I too am a “Name on the Front” fan and will always be one; good, bad, or indifferent the teams may be. At least they are CLEVELAND’s TEAM!!


  3. This might actually be why I’ve never attended a Browns home game. I’m sorry about your experience! You’re absolutely right about being a CLE sports fan and not a Browns fan. I’ve been to plenty of Indians home games myself and have always had a great time at the stadium. Incidentally, there was a Pittsburgh Steelers fan that wrote to the PD this week about her and her family’s experience at the game last Sunday. Sadly, they were treated poorly by Browns fans, as well. (I mean, yeah they were Steelers fans, but come on, guys…way to make the tourists feel right at home.)

  4. I think what is missing here is the other. As a new season ticket holder i have attended every home game for the past 2yrs, i sit way up in the top where the seats are cheap and alot of visiting teams fan sit. What I have witnessed is a sense of no respect at all for being a guest in my house. Granted if you are friendly respectful i will treat you the same. however if you come in to CBS and act like an ass i will treat as such (I can just about out ass anyone i can get real loud and real ignorant real quick).

  5. there are a##holes at every stadium and there are “sitters” at every stadium. i’m a Browns fan but I lived in Pittsburgh for 8 years so I actually went to a lot of games at Heinz field (i’ve only been to the new Browns stadium 3 times).. Heinz field is a fun place to watch an NFL game, but the reason that the fans are always into the game is because the Steelers win the majority of the time. And despite that, I’ve seen plenty of people get yelled at for standing and get into fights with each other, even at Heinz field.

    The fact of the matter is that if and when the Browns start winning, people will be more willing to stand and cheer, you won’t see empty seats, and you won’t see as many visiting fans because tickets won’t be so readily available. You didn’t see empty seats in the 80’s and early 90’s and the old stadium was always rocking. Winning will bring that all back.

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  7. I’ve never actually been to a Browns game/tailgate because I’ve heard so many stories just like yours. And if you go out to W.6th after a game, God help you. I have seen and heard some of the most offensive things from the Browns fans during their post-game pity parties. It really is a disgrace to Cleveland.

  8. I’m sorry about your experience. After reading the editorial the Steeler’s fan wrote, I found myself not that upset about it. I think there are some people that look for people to be rude and if you come into down the day before a rivalry and where rival colors/apparel around you should look forward to getting some attention.

    Everyone deserves to be respected and unfortunately, what happens to visitors in Cleveland is not unlike what visitors to any other stadium experience. Everyone will have a story of how “they experienced acts of kindness at another place” but if you roll the die enough you’ll have some bad too.

    The standing thing is a mystery to me. In high school and in college we are trained to stand and cheer. Hell, it’s even IN the cheers. I think people have a right to stand at the seat they paid for over someone else’s right to tell anyone else what to do if that makes any sense. Thanks for being an example of the bigger person and sitting down though, it probably meant more to them in their tiny, ignorant, angry head than it did to you. Which is sad, but thanks for always being a bright, optimistic Cleveland lady!!!!

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