I am a Cleveland Browns fan.
I have 3 items of official merchandise: a #57 Matthews jersey predating my fandom, a cap also predating my fandom but worn in First Energy Stadium on opening day 2004, and a Cleveland Browns phone case commemorating the NFL’s Centenary year – this just arrived on Christmas Eve. This isn’t what makes me a fan.
Since becoming a fan I’ve also bought a Bulgarian-made bright orange custom Red Right 88 tee, a #7 Scottish Hammer tee (Szabo Apparel) and a bright orange CLE beanie (also Szabo.) This isn’t what makes me a fan.
I met Sam Rutigliano before that 2004 game, and what a great guy he is (long story), but even meeting him and Dante Lavelli and Kevin Mack in the stadium didn’t make me a fan.
It’s not seeing Browns memorabilia in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton Ohio.
It’s not the parallels I saw between the Browns at the end of the 2017 season and the Dallas Cowboys – a team to which I committed after their 1-15 season, at the point the JJs took the reins, after which they went on to win a Super Bowl within, 3 years was it?!
It’s not because I read Terry Pluto’s ‘False Start: How The New Browns Were Set Up To Fail’ – the account of how the Browns were shipped off to Baltimore one night in 1995, and Cleveland had no football until the league grudgingly allowed a new team to exist in 1999.
It’s definitely not the team’s W-L-T record since 1999, but who doesn’t love the underdog‽
I didn’t even become a fan because I’ve found a home of sorts in Reddit’s r/Browns discussion forum, or due to the fact that only a small number there habitually downvote my posts and comments.
I can probably think of more reasons which singly didn’t contribute much to me becoming a Browns fan.