In November 1995, Cleveland football fans began the "Save Our Browns" campaign after owner Art Modell announced he would move the team to Baltimore after the season. By February 1996, the initiative influenced the National Football League’s decision to allow Cleveland to keep the legacy of the Browns and offer the city a new team. Letters found at the Pro Football Hall of Fame show how the Save Our Browns campaign illuminated a "culture of losing"–the combination of a declining city, poor sports teams, and angst from social change–in the greater Cleveland community. I argue that Clevelanders’ fight for the Browns represented their desire for a Cleveland of the past that included an idealized blue-collar identity consisting of expressions of heteronormative, white masculinity. These expressions show how some considered sports more important than other forms of social change in the Rust Belt city in the late-twentieth-century United States.