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Worst. Season. Ever.

It’s incredible to think, in the 18 years since the Cleveland Browns returned to the NFL, the 2016 season was their worst.

One win.

One win in overtime after an 0-14 start to the season to finish 1-15.
R

ock bottom.

As a Browns season ticket holder, I found myself feeling the worst possible emotion about my precious Brownies: indifference. Complete and utter indifference.

My brother and I had our annual discussion about whether or not to renew our season tickets and the decision was made that we could no longer financially support such a terrible product. Last year, my brother sold one of his season tickets outside of a Browns game for $6 and a tall boy can of Coors Light. This franchise was no longer viable as a form of entertainment in the Buckeye State.

But as the snow melted, I found myself hearing about second-year Browns Head Coach Hue Jackson’s plans for the team and his determination to turn it around. Buoyed by three first round picks (No. 1 overall pick DE Myles Garrett, DB Jabrill Peppers and TE David Njoku) in April’s NFL Draft and some smart free agent signings along the offensive line, my spirits began to lift. With plenty of cap space and multiple high picks in next year’s NFL Draft as well, an organizational plan was beginning to take shape. This team is still light years away, but signs of hope have begun to emerge.

Can new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ aggressive 4-3 defensive scheme pressure opposing offenses into turnovers?

Can rookie QB and Ohio native DeShone Kizer finally be the answer under center for a franchise desperate for their first competent signal caller since Bernie Kosar in the 1980s?

Can my brother an d I somehow change our minds and renew our season tickets after swearing we were done?

Done with a pathetic, irrelevant franchise.

Done with wasting a perfectly nice Sunday at the “Factory of Sadness” that is First Energy Stadium.

Done with being the “loveable losers on the Lake.”

As the Browns opener against the Steelers approaches, few sane Browns fans believe that this year could be the year we finally make it to our first Super Bowl. So why do we bother?
Because for better or worse, this stupid team is in our blood. The sick joy we get out of them finding a new way to lose. The gallows humor shared at the water cooler about the latest bungling of the Browns’ front office. It’s in our (boiling) blood.

The “walk of shame” made by thousands of fans every Sunday leaving the stadium after yet another fantastic loss. An organization with one winning season since 2002—why do we bother? That question gets harder and harder to answer every fall.

In case you were wondering, we did renew our season tickets.

The “Boo Guy,” as they call me in Section 137, Row 2, is coming back for another year of heartbreak and maybe, if we’re lucky, a little hope.

Despite his first draft misspelling the names of both QB of the future Deshaun Kizer and QB of the past Bernie Kozar, Hastie is a student of the game and of Ohio history. You can check out his podcast, Ohio v. the World at soundcloud.com/ohiovtheworld.

 

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