CLEVELAND - A blistering cold Saturday in January will go down in history as the day Cleveland Browns fans finally have their say and show they have had enough of their beloved team's mismanagement following an abysmal winless season.
Fans plan to take to the streets and hold a parade to protest the team's 0-16 season.
Don't be fooled though — it's not a parade of Clevelanders mocking the Browns — it's diehard Dawg pound fans that are sick and tired of the way the team's management has represented the players and the city.
Parade organizer Chris McNeil said in an interview that a parade celebrating a losing streak may look like Clevelanders poking fun at the team but in reality, it's just the opposite.
"It's more nuanced than that. This is about having a fun afternoon while also protesting what's going with the Cleveland Browns," McNeil said. "Protesting what is going on in the front office."
This is the second year a parade has been in the works. Last year Browns fans delighted in a single win when the team defeated the San Diego Chargers, avoiding a winless season at the 11th hour.
This year the most dedicated fans braved wind, rain, sleet and snow to cheer on the Browns. A testament to Cleveland's tenacity, Browns fans sat in their seat loss after loss to show support for a team that was once the heartbeat of Cleveland.
While diehard fans still came to the games, empty seats tell a tale of a city dissatisfied with the organization.
Since owner Jimmy Haslam took full control of the team five years ago, attendance has plummeted year after year. In 2013, the team brought 569,939 fans to the stadium but the average has dropped by nearly 59,000 people each season — almost equivalent to an extra home game.
The parade points a middle finger, not at the team itself, but at the way management has done nothing to give back to the fans who have stayed true to a team through the ups and downs and refused to let defeat bring them down.
Parade day brings freezing temperatures and biting wind and Browns fans will take to the streets to show Cleveland isn't a city of fair-weather fans — it's a city that will not give up on itself or its sports teams.
The parade isn't a mockery of the players, it’s a message to the owner and management of the Browns that Clevelanders and the team deserve better.