In sports, as in life, you’re often known by your rivalries.
David had Goliath, Ali had Frazier, Godzilla had Kong. (Oh, and Mothra. And Rodan. Even King Ghidorah early on.)
But I digress.
In a world in which the stature of your rival defines your own worthiness, the Bears have ... the Browns.
That’s some low-hanging fruit.
The Browns are to greatness as the chicken dance is to ballet.
How are these teams from different conferences even rivals?
As it happens in modern times, the Browns threw down the gauntlet on Twitter. It seems they don’t like that the Bears will wear orange helmets for two games this season.
On Sunday, the Browns’ official Twitter site snarked: ‘‘oh nice helmet color. where’d you get that idea?’’ with a dubious face thrown in at the end. Twelve other NFL teams are wearing different-colored helmets at times this season, but the Browns chose the Bears to mock.
The more curious thing might be why the Browns themselves wear orange helmets and/or uniforms.
Tradition? Well, yes, they’ve worn orange since the 1950s. But the Bears have had orange as a secondary color for almost a century.
Then, too, isn’t brown a color? Yes, it’s gross, dull, blah. Reminds one of vile things. And the name might come from founder Paul Brown and not the color wheel. No matter: The Browns claiming orange is like MLB’s Reds claiming green.
But there you have it. The bulletin-board material is written. Lousy vs. lousy. It’s on.
And perhaps it’s fair.
The Browns, you see, are a consortium of lost souls searching endlessly for a quarterback. And many other things. For instance, they’ve had 10 general managers and four owners in the last 21 years.
The Browns never have won a Super Bowl. They never have played in one. They have had more first-round busts than the National Archives.
And first-round quarterback duds? Plenty. Try Tim Couch, Brady Quinn, Brandon Weeden, DeShone Kizer and, yes, the strangely addled Johnny ‘‘Football’’ Manziel.
In Cleveland, they still talk fondly about quarterback Milt Plum, who played his last game for the Browns in 1961. And the best quarterback in their history was Otto Graham, who finished his career 67 years ago.
Heartbreakingly, Baker Mayfield — the first overall pick in 2018 and a decent place-holder — is gone, as are his wondrous ‘‘At Home With Baker Mayfield’’ ads for Progressive Insurance. We only can hope his new team, the Panthers, gives him the keys to Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, and lets him continue his book club and yard sales.
But can the Bears gloat? No.
What they can do is throw out a long list of quarterback failures of their own. We could do the Dave Krieg-Moses Moreno-Craig Krenzel-Mitch Trubisky conga line dud dance, but we won’t. Its twists are well-known.
It’s bad enough the Bears have laid the weight of the world on the shoulders of second-year quarterback Justin Fields. They are so lacking in star power at key positions, such as offensive line and receiver, that poor Fields’ continued mediocrity seems almost guaranteed.
Some early betting lines had the Bears favored in only two of their 17 games. The Browns are picked somewhere around .500.
Quite a rivalry. Probably reasonable.
Throw in the Browns’ massive dice roll for likely-to-be-suspended quarterback Deshaun Watson, and you have the desperation of both franchises for a great quarterback laid bare. Even if Watson does play, what will female fans of the Browns think of the man who recently settled nearly two dozen sexual-misconduct lawsuits?
The Browns still painfully recall Brian Sipe’s last-minute interception against the Raiders in the 1981 playoffs that propelled the Raiders toward the Super Bowl championship and the Browns back toward nothingness.
Fans still remember Jim McMahon for guiding the Bears to their lone Super Bowl crown in January 1986. Living in the past is what you do when the present is weak and your future is likely to be messed up.
No, I guess you could say the Bears right now deserve the Browns as rivals. So load up, fans, for that key Bears-Browns preseason bash Aug. 27 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland.
That’s the last preseason game, and both teams will be protecting their starters. So all you scrubs and dudes who will be starting new careers in a week, go out there and win one for Chicago pride.
Win one for the orange.