The Lesser of Two Evils

January 15, 2009

In yet another twist in the NFL’s ongoing mission to make Cleveland fans miserable, we will now be forced to watch a Super Bowl with either the Ravens or the Steelers for the 3rd time this decade.  In an ‘icing on the cake’ style move, one of these team will inevitbly win the Super Bowl which will wrap up an NFL season that saw our Browns win 4 games, not score a TD in their final 6, lose 4 times to the afformentioned rivals, and have their GM and Coach get canned.  So the questions obviously is, which team do you want to win in the AFC Championship game?

A disclaimer; I will in no way be cheering, rooting, or otherwise supporting either team this Sunday.  No, in a game that features the two teams that we hate the most playing each other for the rights to go to the Super Bowl, the only acceptable behavior is to hope for injuries, embarrassment, heartbreak, or some other form of debacle to to occur during the game, the outcome of which will significantly which impair the winner’s chances of hoisting the Lombardi trophy.

And let’s be honest, any casual observer should be able to see that neither team deserves another championship.  The alledgedly ‘great’ Steelers fans haven’t had to see a period of extended losing for over 40 years.  Seriously, they could go 20 years without a  winning season and I would still consider them spoiled.  Even when they do win championships they always do it with Ohio guys featured prominently in the win (Knoll, Roethlisberger, Lambert).  This time around is no different with their best player on both offense and defense being from Ohio and attending Ohio colleges.

The case against the Ravens is a little shorter.  They stole their team from us 13 years ago and in no way should be rewarded by getting a second Super Bowl win with our former team while the fans from Cleveland who are still the only ones to successfully fight a franchise move get ‘rewarded’ with a decade of mediocre football.

Seriously, I don’t think anyone could write a script where a city continues to get slapped in the face by one twist of the knife after another like Cleveland has and still keep it believeable.  It’s not enough to get our team back, only to watch a decade of terrible football, but then to have our rivals continually in the championship mix (with players/coaches/ties back to Ohio) is about enough at this point.

Ultimately, if you are a Browns fan, you have to have a preference for one of these teams to win though.  I mean, one of them will probably win the whole thing given the barely above .500 teams the NFC is producing this year.  So after much thought, i’ve decided that I would rather have the Ravens win on Sunday.  I know it’s essentially our team out there (and look, Matt Stover is still alive) that was stolen from us and transplanted, but for some reason I think I could stomach another Ravens championship more than watching another Steelers Super Bowl win and hearing about what ‘great fans’ they have–like it’s really hard to root for a team that has won 5 rings and is an annual playoff participant (which is a topic for another post, but I wll admit the Steelers have good fans when they go through 3-4 losing seasons and they are still showing up at road games.  Until then I will only admit that they are ugly) (Ed. note:  relatives/in-laws excluded).

Either way, it’s not going to be a fun Super Bowl for Clevelanders–barring a surprise win by the NFC.  And just like the stock market, we’ll be left wondering if we’ve finally hit bottom–something I’ve been wondering for about 10 years now.  I know it’s a lot to ask, but not having the worst possible ending occur would be a little solace to Browns fans.  Still, come September the fans will be be at the Muni-lot at 6am ready for another season that we’ll be certain will be the one that  reverses our luck–just like the past 48 years and counting.