It's bad enough that they took our proud old team away and replaced it with this feeble parasite that sucks our money and our memories like a bloated tick. These are the Browns we grew up with? My foot. This is a cheap imposter.
It's bad enough that, while our team is ritually humiliated week after week, year after year, our supposed arch-rival is perhaps the model franchise in the entire NFL, as much a picture of stability and success as we are a picture of upheaval and failure.
And it's bad enough that the Steelers are back in the Super Bowl for the second time in four years, for the seventh time overall, while we wait... and wait...and wait... to be there just once, just one stinking time.
But now you tell me to root for the Arizona Cardinals against the Steelers in the Super Bowl? As if that's going to make it all better? You're kidding, right?
To quote Ricky Watters: For who? For what?
What difference does it really make to the Browns and their fans if the Cardinals beat the Steelers a week from Sunday? It wouldn't change the records. The 2008 Browns will still be 4-12 and the last-place team in the AFC North. They'll still have a streak of twenty-four consecutive quarters without an offensive touchdown. They'll still be the personification of rudderless suck.
Besides, why on earth should we invest a scintilla of our positive energies in the direction of the Cardinals, a vagabond franchise with some of the most venal, grotesquely incompetent owners in North American professional sports? That's the definition of casting pearls before swine.
And if you think an Arizona victory will help beat back the tide of Yinzer-dom ever lapping away at the shrinking borders of Browns Country- please, don't kid yourself. No matter what happens in Tampa, the Browns will still be inferior to the Steelers, and the Steelers will still own the Browns, lock, stock and barrel. The black-and-piss bandwagon will still be piled high with the soulless and the toothless, because the orange-and-brown alternative is still too terrible to even consider for those poltroons.
The only team that can reverse the tide in this region is the Browns. No other team can do the dirty work. Until the Browns develop the talent and mindset to consistently go toe-to-toe with the Steelers and beat them, nothing will change. Honestly, do you really think people are going to come back over from the dark side because the Steelers lost a Super Bowl, when our own team still can't find the end zone with a search party, can't find a plan, can't find a clue?
There's just something pathetic about openly cheering for a team to do something our team doesn't have the capability of doing itself. Putting the Steelers in their place shouldn't be the job of the Arizona Cardinals. It should be the job of the Cleveland Browns. If the Browns aren't up to it, the Steelers can go 19-0 and win the Super Bowl by fifty points, for all I care. It's all the same when you're looking up from the depths.
In the end, it comes down to schadenfreude. Browns fans want to revel in the agony of Steelers fans. It's an understandable desire. But damn, it's gotten old. Because that's all we have left- hoping someone else beats Pittsburgh so we can get a couple of laughs about it before the next season begins and the bi-annual beat-downs and annual black-and-piss takeover of CBS commence anew. It's thin gruel. It certainly isn't enough to stick to my ribs.
I'm no longer able to derive any satisfaction out of rooting against. I want something to root for. I want a team to be proud of, a team I'd put up against any opponent in the league, Steelers or otherwise, when it comes to pride, poise, and physicality. I don't want to demean myself with the Arizona Cardinals. I want to wrap myself in brown-and-orange and shout to the heavens that this is my team, and we'll take on anybody, anywhere, anytime.
Until then, it doesn't matter.
But hey, far be it from me to tell anyone how to spend their Super Bowl Sunday. If you want to haul out the Terry Metcalf throwback and root your heart out for the Cardinals, don't let me dissuade you. Me, I'll be doing what I always do. I'll be eating chili, drinking beer, and wishing the Browns were playing. And waiting for the day when the tables will be turned- by our team, and no one else's.