Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Oh, the Cleveland Browns.

It was kind of sad to see the Browns fans filing into their stadium on Sunday. Downcast already at the prospect of yet another humiliating loss, having already given the game up as a foregone conclusion. The stands were at maybe 3/4 capacity at kickoff, a little less after the first quarter, and down to about 50% by halftime. More people left during the third quarter than left at the end of the game, and by the time my Packers wrapped up their 31-3 dismantling of one of the NFL's worst teams, few Browns fans remained to lament the loss.

Part of this was, of course, due to drunkenness. The people we befriended during the tailgate party before the game were long gone, having been hauled away during the first or second quarter by security and police and other official folks who were not inclined to let fans sleep under their seats or vomit on children. Of course, we commisserated with those new friends after the game, agreeing that of course the security people are Nazis. Sure, we said. The least they could have done was to allow you to finish urinating before leading you away from the hot dog vendor's garbage can.

The people in Cleveland were uniformly friendly, whether sober or drunk. We felt that with our Packers jerseys on, we would be the target of some unfriendly stares, or at the very least some good natured ribbing. But this was not the case. Instead, we were met with vacuous stares and brief acknowledgements that our presence in the city was at least a little helpful to their economy. The beer part of it anyway. With many of the locals we talked football. Although they seemed to have entirely blocked the subject out of their collective minds.

I would mention the flu epidemic sweeping the Browns' locker room, and be met with the same vacuous stare.
"How about the Braylon Edwards saga?"
"He's that guy who punched LeBron's midget friend? I think I remember him. I might even be wearing his jersey, I'm not sure."
"Isn't it time to put Brady Quinn back in for Derek Anderson?"
"Quinn...Quinn...does he still live here? I thought he was selling his house."
"No, he's still here. He plays backup quarterback for the Browns."
"Maybe he should punch one of LeBron's friends. At least he'd get to leave this stupid team."

I couldn't tell whether the beer was meant to numb the pain that was sure to be incurred watching the Browns play, or whether they were intending to steel themselves for the beating their team was sure to suffer in a few hours. Either way, by halftime I realized that the game was irrelevant anyway. They would be gone after a quarter of "football" anyway. It wasn't just the Browns fans though. The friendly Packers fans from Long Island who were beside us in the parking lot had been ejected within six minutes. I could have seen that coming, I suppose. After all, by the time the game started they had taken more shots than Pacino did in Scarface.

They missed most of what proved to be a pretty uninteresting game. It was over by the time they were tossed out, six minutes in. The Browns operation is a pretty bare-bones excercise. No cheerleaders, nothing going on in the commercial breaks, no halftime show of note, just fans and beer and terrible football. And I love it. We sat near enough to the Dawg Pound to watch some of the more interesting conflicts and displays that arose during the game, which was better than any cheerleaders or halftime show could have been. It appears that at least forty Cleveland Browns fans will support their team through thick and thin. Things are pretty thin right now. So don't talk about Braylon Edwards or Derek Anderson. Soon LeBron James will be playing basketball. And then the whole city can forget that football even exists until next season begins.


  1. What else did you do in cleveland? You said that you did other stuff and you would talk about it later but you have only talked about football and the Rock & Roll HOF. Is there more to Cleveland that what you would think?

  2. Well, we went to a number of pubs as well...including Bob Golic's pub. He's a famous football player and his pub played rock and roll music. So...to answer your question, no.