Stop the presses, hold the phone and start spreading the news! Why? Because mega-diva—and the second coming of Jerry Rice—in Cleveland Browns wideout Odell Beckham Jr. reported to minicamp, that’s why!
Up until his God-like arrival in Berea on Tuesday, many in Dawg Pound Nation were predictably inodiated with the always constant 24-7 anti-Cleveland whining and hating from such “media outlets” as a certain Bristol-based Bullshit Entertainment Sports Network on the suddenly relevant Bad News—I mean Cleveland Browns—being the new national media darlings after proverbially stealing the 12th descendant of Apollo and Mercury from the Big and Bad Blue New York Giants for a pick and the artist formerly known as Jabrill Peppers.
We in Cleveland—and Northeast Ohio, a.k.a. The Land, The CLE or the 216—if you hail from the East or West Side, you’re indirectly and subconsciously ingrained to hate and ignore the national media due to their perennial downplaying of all Cleveland sports.
It’s our version of Stockholm Syndrome due to being the national butt of jokes for over 50 years. The Cuyahoga catching on fire, The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot. We get it already. However, now that their favorite punching bag went to a World Series and upset their beloved Warriors out at the Oracle in 2016, now they need to go bash to their old standby in ripping on the Browns.
Obviously an easy target due to all the hiring’s, firings and seemingly non-stop carousel of quarterbacks under center—along with a few first-round busts along the way—making a story on the Browns was the easiest way for media to get guaranteed traffic, clicks, likes and shares.
Thanks to going 1-31 including the league’s second-ever winless season, again, it was SO EASY to rip on Cleveland. And again, we as Browns fans had to endure all the taunts, trolling, shaming and overall embarrassment of being a fan of our team.
If you’re a born and bred Cleveland like The Dawgfather is, you can’t help but notice that it really grinds the gears of the so-called “experts” and analysts—with the emphasis on anal—that Cleveland is back on the football scene and about to get some respect on its name.
Sure, there is a lot of pre-season hype surrounding the Browns since the arrival of OBJ, and all of the media and various outlets have tabbed them as the du jour pick to win the AFC North and give them the third-best odds to play down in South Beach at Super Bowl LIV, but after the two-past decades of Jason-Freddy Kruger-like horror-like football that my Dawgs have been subjected to, we’ve earned the right to beat our chests for the first time since…since Bernie Kosar.
I mean damn, the media loves a good comeback story right? But only when it applies to one of THEIR teams.
Ever notice that?
The 2004 Boston Red Sox are by their logic the greatest bunch of idiots ever assembled in how that rallied from a 3-0 hole against the Evil Empire, and yet when the Cavs came back from a 3-1 hole vs. Dubs, the narrative of the Cavs catching a break because of Draymond Green getting suspended and Stephanie Curry being hobbled was the ready-made excuse already disseminated across all of social media.
So, when the woeful Browns stole fire from Mt. Gotham Olympus in getting OBJ, why no love for that? Because it’s CLEVELAND. Not the uber-sexy Miami or the too-cool San Francisco, but grimmy and dirty-ass Cleveland.
The Mistake By The Lake? Yup! That city.
And right on cue, you had hacks such as newly anointed Public Enemy No.1 and Troll-in-Chief, Colin Cowherd concoct stories of OBJ not being happy, head coach Freddie Kitchens being in over his head, questions about Baker Mayfield’s maturity and possible sophomore slump, blah, blah blah.
You had various blogs, media outlets and every Joe Schmo with a laptop ripping and hating the Browns post-OBJ. Maybe it was because of the fact that Cleveland landed one of the game’s premier talents, or the fact that many see the Browns as a threat and on the come-up, but overnight, the Browns went from being just the Browns to WHOA! (in my Keanu Reeves Bill and Ted voice!) to THE mother-fucking Cleveland Browns in getting FOUR prime-time games and all sorts of unchartered love normally reserved for Valentine’s Day.
So, naturally when the media suddenly makes a thing about OBJ missing out on voluntary OTA’s, and creating a story out of a non-story, playing on the ingrained separation/abandonment anxiety—The Decision for example—and inferiority complex of our fan base and you wonder why Cleveland sports fans are eternally cautiously optimistic and forever pessimistic.
I could bring up the 2008 Browns, whom after going 10-6 under Derek Anderson, and were given some prime-time love, that many in Dawg Pound Nation are guarded about the 2019 team that is so stacked that they could have subbed in for the Avengers against Thanos in the uber-summer blockbuster tentpole, Endgame.
AFC North champions, AFC championship game, Super Bowl. This is Cleveland, we are a meat-and-potatoes, salt-of-the-earth lot, and are doubtful for a reason, and the whole OBJ-missing OTA’s media-driven non-story is another reason why.
If you’re a Browns fan and watched the recent NFL Network segment on the Browns out in Berea, you couldn’t help but raise a Great lakes beer when you saw Kitchens call out the network and the reporters for inventing a “national media controversy’. To burrow from T.O., that’s my coach!
I mean you got No.45 meeting with Her Royal Highness, possible impeachment hearings for the Occupier-In-Chief and Netflix’s latest social media sensations in ‘Chernobyl’ and “When They See Us’ to distract you but by the Grace of God, Odell Beckham Jr. showed up at minicamp, Halleluiah!
It’s another example of what is called “silly season” and the national media trying to make content for the sake of making it since it involves the Browns. Hopefully, all of the energy and time that they’ve gained over the last 20-plus years in bashing and ripping the browns will be directed towards them when they take the field this season and defy their expectations in 2019, as these Dawgs are going to eat.
It’s Cleveland Against The World. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. Call me a homer, but this is my city and this is my team, and I’ll never apologize for calling it the way I see it.
As LBJ once said, Cleveland…this is for you!