Cleveland Browns fans have not celebrated an NFL championship since 1964. On Saturday, six days after their squad concluded the second 0-16 season in pro football history, thousands of them held a mock parade to mark a new low for a franchise that has had plenty of them.
At a gathering that was half-protest, half-party, advocates lined the streets around FirstEnergy Stadium and cheered as 80 vehicles, a rock band on a flatbed truck and a group carrying 28 tombstones to represent the team’s 28 starting quarterbacks since the team resumed play in 1999, took a “no victory” lap.
“We don’t deserve this. We deserve better people in the front office. We deserve better people coaching and we deserve better players, ” Patty Szylakowski, who grew up in a football-loving household with five brethren, told the Associated Press. “We’re buying Browns gear every year. We support them every year no matter what … Every fan in all the NFL cities should be thinking about this. If they get crap like we did, they would be doing the same thing.”
Most of the indignation was aimed at proprietors Jimmy and Dee Haslam, who purchased the Browns in 2012, but have been unable to produce the win they’ve promised.
One fan held a sign that read: “Jimmy and Dee Go Jump in the Lake.” Another be borne by a fan garmented as a bishop said: “Deliver us from Jimmy and Dee.”
The genesis of Saturday’s event came during the course of its 2016 season, when the Browns finished 1-15. With the NBA’s Cavalier winning their first championship and MLB’s Indian reaching the World Series in the same year, McNeil sarcastically tweeted: “This Browns team deserves a parade.”
Unexpectedly, many of McNeil’s fellow disgruntled fans jumped on board with the idea and began creating fund. McNeil canceled that year’s planned procession after the Browns won their only game of the season on Christmas eve and donated the proceeds to the Cleveland Food Bank.
This fall, as the Browns lost and lost again, McNeil’s accidental idea was resurrected. This time, the team didn’t spoiling the party and capped off their winless season with a 28 -2 4 New Year’s Eve loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers — who played backups at several key positions.
Not every Browns fan was fond of the imperfect season procession notion. John Rivera turned out to protest , not participate.
“I think it’s very embarrassing for Cleveland to go 0-16 and I think this procession is embarrassing, ” he told Fox 8.
“I don’t believe anybody’s looking at this thing and going, ‘look at these idiot Clevelanders who are celebrating 0-16, ‘” he told the AP. “I don’t think that’s the message. This is a clear message to those people( the Haslams) inside the building. That’s who we were looking for.”
Cleveland police conservatively calculated the crowd at 3,200, and reported no major incidents or arrests. McNeil said virtually $15,000 created for the event would be donated to the Cleveland Food Bank.
The Associated Press contributed to this report .
Make sure to visit: CapGeneration.com