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On Brandon Weeden and fandom

Brandon Weeden quieted the masses in a big way on Thursday night. Here’s why that matters.



Photo Attribution: USATSI

Photo Attribution: USATSI

I half-watched and half-followed on Twitter the Cleveland Browns game last night against the Bills.

As you know by now Brian Hoyer tore his ACL in the first quarter and Brandon Weeden was handed the reins after being out for a few weeks with a busted-up hand. Twitter immediately went into “we hate Brandon Weeden, he iz so dum” overdrive.

National writers, fans, sports blogs — the whole country was on board.

So naturally Weeden proceeded to throw for 197 and a touchdown to lead the Browns to a win and have a cameo on the set of NFL Network’s postgame show with Deion, Michael Irvin, and Rich Eisen…oh and put the Browns in sole possession of first place in the AFC North division.

This is not a post about the arc of Brandon Weeden’s career or a breakdown of the points per drive Cleveland scores with him vs. without him.

It’s just a reminder (to myself more than most) that sports were made for us to enjoy them.

The older I get the less I care about titles and rankings and all of that mess and the more I care about moments. When Cleveland intercepted Jeff Tuel to end the game last night and I got repeated highlights of Weeden delivering his signature fist pump after having taken, according to him, zero reps in practice over the last two weeks.

That was a moment.

All of this goes back to that 2011 season. In 45 years when 73-year-old me and 74-year-olds Amilian and Carson are having beers at some place in OKC, I won’t care very much that OSU didn’t play for the title in 2011.

I’ll remember the good stuff — the night the goalposts came down at Boone Pickens, the night OSU rolled with Stanford in Glendale, the 3 AM Tulsa game, all of it.

Those were moments and I think Twitter and all of this madness makes us forget that it’s OK to have them sometimes.

Sure, we’ll continue to try to figure out what went wrong with our favorite teams and why they aren’t living up to the expectations we have for them and, my gosh, why Gundy still tucks his jackets into his slacks, but those things are not why we watch games.

I think I enjoy watching Weeden more now than I did even at OSU because I’m not trying to decipher what it all means.

So at the end of Weeden’s career, even if he wins a division title or conference title or any of that, I hope last night’s game is the one he shows his future kids. Sure, in the big scheme Buffalo-Cleveland on a Thursday night in October means very little. But all of that other stuff can adequately be measured with rings and trophies and everything else.

You can’t measure bouncing back from an injury with your whole city booing you on national television and conjuring up images of the 2009 Colorado game in the process. That’s the fun part of the journey — one that was meant to be, at times, stressful, yes, but ultimately enjoyable.

And if you’re looking for proof of that…

That, my friends, is a moment.

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