Joe Haden is a huge Cavs fan. Though he never attended an NBA game before coming to Cleveland, he’s one of the court-side mainstays, even while wearing his walking boot. While the Cavaliers just beat the Toronto Raptors in Game 2 to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals series Thursday night, tHaden said he believes a championship football team in Cleveland would trump anything, including the wine and gold winning the championship.
“That’s not even a question. I talk to [Cavaliers forward] Tristan [Thompson] all the time. He knows if the Browns were winning like the Cavs are, it’d be a whole different vibe. Not to knock it at all, but it just is what it is. So just being able to know how much love they show the Cavs and how much the fans are still supporting the Browns, even though we haven’t really gave them anything to be proud of, it just shows that when we do flip it around, it’s going to be special. We know that. We honestly seriously do.”
Haden may be right. The city of Cleveland is a football town. But at this rate, it’s hard to imagine the Browns becoming competitive at any point soon, let alone a Super Bowl contender. Since their return to the shores of Lake Erie in 1999, they have just one playoff appearance and two winning seasons. They may have head coach Hue Jackson now leading the way, but the disappointing Browns franchise doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon, at least on paper.
Either way, the cornerback, while he would be ecstatic if LeBron James and company brought a professional sports title to Cleveland for the first time since 1964 — as documented in 30 for 30’s “Believeland” — knows the importance of having a good Browns team in The Land. With the additions the team has made during the offseason, Haden feels as though the new-look version of the Browns has the chance to be something special, it will just take time.
“Seeing how the fans are, seeing how much they really, really love and support the team and they just want a winner and they stay behind the Browns, even though we keep taking all these [losses]. I feel with the team we have now, with the coaching staff we have now, everybody has an opportunity to change that, to make this thing special.”
Haden knows a championship Browns team would trump everything else, but he also realizes how important any championship would be to the city of Cleveland which is one of the many reasons why he is a big Cavs supporter. A football town, sure, but everything has seemed to turn into a wine and gold, especially come June.