It’s September. The leaves are changing colors as summer transitions into fall, pumpkin everything is sold in stores and coffee shops, and with all of that change comes football season.
Football season in Cleveland is usually always filled with hope in September and despair in December. This year, however, despair is a word that many Browns fans feel confident they can rid from their vocabulary. There is a new hope, a new energy, and a new sense of optimism centered around the Browns that hasn’t been truly felt in Cleveland for a long time. Every year Browns fans say “this is our year,” but I think this year we actually believe it. Not that this is our year to win the Super Bowl, but this is our year to not be the worst team in professional sports.
There is a general sense that this Brown’s season could be one of the most fun, enjoyable, and successful that we’ve seen on the shores of Lake Erie in a long time. This isn’t just blind hope — there is tangible evidence of this as well. HBO’s Hard Knocks and many national sports media outlets have noted that the Browns significantly upgraded their roster. Perhaps there was no greater upgrade than that of the quarterback position, which is widely regarded as the most important individual position in all of sports. The Browns quarterback depth chart went from not having a quarterback that had even won a game to having two veteran quarterbacks, which included Tyrod Taylor, who just lead a starved Bills franchise to their first playoff berth in almost two decades. And I haven’t even mentioned Baker Mayfield, the #1 overall pick in this year’s draft. Taylor and Mayfield alone should instill a good amount of optimism in fans. Add in the other free agent/trade/draft pick-ups such as Jarvis Landry, Demarious Randall, Denzel Ward, Terrence Mitchell, and Genard Avery, and the Browns have a level of talent that we haven’t seen in many years.
This Sunday begins a new chapter, a new journey, and a new season in Cleveland Browns history. And why not begin that season than against none other than the hated Pittsburgh Steelers? Pittsburgh comes into Sunday’s game as favorites over the Browns yet again and favorites to win the AFC North division. The Browns have not beaten the Steelers since 2014 and are 2-14 against the Steelers since 2009. One Cleveland victory on Sunday could ignite this classic rivalry back to what it should be, which I think is the greatest rivalry in professional football. Check out some of the rivalry’s moments in the video below:
If the Browns want to rebuild this franchise and elevate it to the heights it used to be at, it all starts with a culture change and an attitude change. That change started in the off season with the hiring of John Dorsey as GM and his moves to infuse the Browns with more talent, and there would be no better way to accelerate that turnaround than to beat the Steelers in Cleveland on Sunday and proclaim that the Browns are back. How about Myles Garrett sacking Ben Roethlisberger in the fourth quarter to seal a Browns’ victory…I can see it now.