Letters from a Cleveland Fan: An Open Letter to Mike Holmgren

Dear President Mike Holmgren,

Mike, can I call you Mike?  Listen, I understand you’re not very happy right now.  You know what?  Neither are we.  I mean, we’re having as much fun as we can possibly have during what looks like another 4-12 season for the Browns.  It’s about on par with getting wisdom teeth pulled out of your skull or falling on a grenade, just to give you an idea.  To make matters worse, and believe me, they’ve gotten worse.  You came out yesterday and put the proverbial cherry on top of this $hit sundae of a Browns season.  I don’t even like cherries!  Especially those stupid little maraschino one’s.

You had the audacity to tell us, your customers, your loyal patrons, that we’re “either with you, or we’re not.”  Really?  That’s the line you want to go with?  Because honestly… I don’t have to be with you.  I choose to be out of loyalty to the colors, the helmet, and more importantly… the city of Cleveland.  What I think you fail to realize is, we have options.  For some of us, we can just not watch or go to the games.  For people like me, who thanks to economic reasons have been forced to move away, we can take our allegiance else where.  I live in New Orleans.  If you’d rather I go root for the Saints every Sunday, I will… it wouldn’t be that hard.    They’re actually fun to watch.  The Browns haven’t been fun to watch since 1987… I was 4.  Like a lot of fans, I’ve never seen the Browns be fun.  It’s like urban legend to us.

What about fans living in Green Bay, Boston, Dallas, or any other city that offers a football team that is actually of NFL caliber, yet willingly choose to support the Browns?  These people do exist, I assure you.  How much easier could they make their lives by switching allegiances?  How much easier did you make that choice yesterday with your arrogance?  Somehow, someway, you’ve managed to piss off one of the most loyal fan bases in all of football because we’ve chosen to hold you to a high standard because we want to win, because if we have to sit through another year of losing we at least want to see progress.  This season… you’ve offered neither.

You told us that this isn’t the same old Browns.  How?  While I understand that you weren’t a part of any of the leadership regimes from 1999 through 2009, we’ve been fans of this team that entire time.  We’ve sat through every single 4-12 or 5-11 season full of drama off the field and piss poor play on it.  What do we have this year?  A team headed for 4-12 with a crap load of drama off the field and piss poor play on it.  How is that not the same old Browns?  These are the same old Browns who have had four memorable moments in 25 years, a fumble, a drive, a relocation, and a return.  Can you really blame us for wanting one happy memory before we die?  At this rate, our next happy memory for the Browns will be the day Art Modell finally kicks the bucket.

To top it all off, you decided to take a shot at the media by telling them “not to ask you for playoff tickets.”  You can get playoff tickets?  For who?  The Packers?  The Saints?  Maybe the 49ers?  It certainly isn’t the Browns.  At this rate you won’t sniff the playoffs until 2015, and that’s the optimistic forecast.  What made you think playing that card was the smart move?  How about before you mention the word playoffs, you field a team that might be actually be capable of making the playoffs?

Look, I understand this year hasn’t gone as planned, but let me be as honest as possible with you.  Let me try to help you understand why we are the way we are.  This isn’t like Boston or Chicago where the baseball team hasn’t won in a long time.  This isn’t New York where the Knicks haven’t won a title since the 70’s.  This isn’t Dallas where the Cowboys haven’t won a Super Bowl since 1995.

This is Cleveland.  We haven’t won a title in ANY sport since 1964, but we’ve had probably the most close calls and heartbreak in that time span.  We’re dying for a winner and as a result, fair or not, each team in this city is forced to atone for the sins of the others.  The frustration from the Indians and Cavs carries over to the Browns, from the Browns and Indians to the Cavs, and from the Cavs and Browns to the Indians.  That’s the truth, like it or not, and it’s not going to change until we finally win something.  We’re desperate and admittedly… that makes us a bit crazy and a whole hell of a lot irrational.

So that brings us back to the beginning.  “Are we with you, or not?”  Mike… we’re with you.  At times it might not seem like it, but I assure you, we are.  Build us a winner.  Do the things you said you would do when you first arrived in Cleveland.  Take us to the promised land and end our suffering as sports fans.  That’s all we really ask.


A Cleveland Fan


One thought on “Letters from a Cleveland Fan: An Open Letter to Mike Holmgren

  1. I’ve never understood the NFL and its fascination with the faded rose; guys who are living off decade-or-older glory. They are everywhere…Shanahan, Parcells, and in your case, Holmgren.

    The Browns will never improve with Holmgren as part of the organization.

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