COMMENTARY | The Cleveland Browns have a chance to create some great memories for their fans on September 15.
On that day, the Browns will be at M&T Bank Stadium to face the Baltimore Ravens in their first road game of 2013. While every game against these fierce divisional rivals stirs plenty of emotion in even the most casual Browns fans, there is extra incentive for Cleveland to surprise the football world and defeat the Ravens in Week 2.
That's because this will be Baltimore's first regular season home game since winning the Super Bowl back in February. Ravens faithful will certainly be on cloud nine, as they celebrate Baltimore's second NFL championship since professional football returned to Baltimore in 1996.
Needless to say, Baltimore's success over the past 15 seasons has been stomach-turning for Cleveland fans, since the Ravens are the original Browns, who were uprooted from Cleveland in 1995 by owner Art Modell. Modell passed away last fall, but he will forever be reviled in Cleveland as a man who decided to put dollar signs above loyalty, breaking the heart of a city that gave his team it's undying love and support.
While it's been tough to see the Pittsburgh Steelers -- who will forever remain Cleveland's main archenemy -- win a pair of Super Bowls in the past decade, it's still not nearly as infuriating as when these purple-uniformed impostors from Baltimore hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy. With the Rooney family in it's 80th year of ownership of the Steelers, it's hard to foresee Pittsburgh ever relocating to another city.
The Browns had that same stability Pittsburgh enjoyed, until Modell pulled off his sleazy antics on that fateful day in November of 1995. Sure, we got our team back in 1999, but a lack of competitiveness from the rebooted Browns, along with Baltimore's on-field success, has created a lot of bitterness in this city. I can assure you, no Browns fan was happy on January 28, 2001, when Baltimore defeated the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV to win their first NFL title in a year when Cleveland went just 3-13 in their second season back in the league.
To make matters worse for Cleveland followers, the Ravens have basically owned the Browns over the past half-decade, winning ten in a row over Cleveland. In fact, you have to go all the way to November 18, 2007 to find the last time the Browns defeated Baltimore. In one of the most memorable games Cleveland has had since returning to the NFL, the Browns defeated the Ravens 33-30 in overtime that day. Phil Dawson's then-controversial 51-yard field goal to send the game to sudden death will forever live on in Browns lore.
Cleveland's trip to Baltimore in Week 2 is a must-win game in many regards. The Browns don't want to fall to 0-2 in the snake pit that is the AFC North, and it would be really nice to end that ten-game losing streak to the Ravens. But most importantly, it would be so grafitying to see the Browns ruin Baltimore's coronation day with a convincing win.
A Browns victory over the Ravens might be just one team beating a division foe in an early-season game to the rest of the football world, but it would do wonders for a city whose pride has been chipped away at for nearly two decades.
Shaun Heidrick is a Yahoo Contributor who has followed the Cleveland Browns for over 25 years.
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