Since 1975, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ faithful have gained national notoriety by flailing their “terrible towels” in the air at Steelers home games. Clearly not wanting to be outdone, the Cleveland Browns will also be rolling out their own version of this little gimmick. When the Steelers head to the rock n’ rock capital of the world this Sunday, the raucous Cleveland Dawg Pound will try to instill fear into the hearts of their opponents by standing as one and waving their...white flags?
I couldn’t even make this up for fear it would sound too ridiculous to be believable. Yet, in a promotion with The NFL Ticket Exchange, every fan in the stadium will in fact be handed an inflatable white Cleveland Browns flag. Am I missing something here? I realize the Browns are 2-8 right now and their playoff chances this season are about as good as…well, the Browns’ playoff chances most years, but come on, really?
I feel as though this should go without saying, but how can the Cleveland Browns’ marketing department not realize a white flag is the universal sign for surrender? Seventy thousand white flags being waved in unison while the Browns endure another lop-sided defeat may be too surreal a scene to handle. Cleveland Browns new slogan: “Come for the football, stay for the irony.”
If Cleveland has really resigned itself to its fate, I can only say this white-flag promotion feels on par with a small schoolboy accepting the fact that he is going to get punched by the class bully? “Alright, fine, just nothing in the face, it’s picture day” is pretty much the message the Browns are sending with this giveaway.
The Browns were a once proud NFL franchise, and still boast one of the most faithful fan-bases in all of pro sports. It is a shame to continually see them being cast in the role of the NFL’s court jester, particularly seeing as how these latest wounds will come via self-inflicted shrapnel.
And I know what you are thinking, fans have routinely donned paper bags or made clever signs to voice their frustration with their team, but this isn’t one of those instances. The white flag fiasco – as it will undoubtedly be referred to in years to come – is not a fan-driven initiative; the Browns themselves will be handing out these cringe-worry souvenirs at the gates of Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Although, since the Browns are only 4-20 against the Steelers since the franchise returned to Cleveland in 1999, maybe the white flags make more sense than I think. The Steelers also hold the all-time record in the Turnpike Rivalry with a mark of 64-56.
Waving a white flag may signal that the Browns are ready to lose…but come to think of it, doesn’t Colt McCoy’s moustache already do that?