The world is ending. In fact, I've already received an ominous sign: an hour before December 21, 2012, my power went out. I entered today without any power. It has since come back on, but it is inevitable: this is it.
I asked the staff members at Dawgs By Nature to share their favorite moments in Cleveland Browns history, so that we can all go out with some good memories about the team we love, especially after last week's stinker to the Redskins. You should do the same in the comments section below.
rufio - "My favorite Browns memory doesn't even have to do with the Browns--which might be fitting because we haven't been very good in my adult lifetime. I moved to Berea in 1997 and when I arrived the whole town was already buzzing about the Browns despite the fact that the team wasn't even coming back to the city for another 2 years. I had sort of thought "big deal, they weren't that good and it's just football" at the time. Looking back, it really opened my eyes to some of the ways that sports can make a positive impact on specific people and on our society in general. The game is truly more than just a game, and being relocated to an environment where sports really meant something helped me grow as a human being."
Matt Wood - "As the end of the world approaches, I remember my favorite Cleveland Browns memory.
December 17th, 1989. I was 8 years old at the time, and my father and I were sitting in the Dawg Pound, around 25 rows up. It was quite simply the coldest day I had ever been a part of at that time in my life. High only reached 2 degrees, and the wind chill was at 15 below zero. But the Browns were facing Herschel Walker and the Minnesota Vikings. It was a great game, Matt Bahr banged through a 30 something FG in crazy winds to send it to OT. It was the Browns fourth overtime game of that season. By this time, the sun had gone down and the wind was nuts.
In OT, the Browns drove the ball down to the Vikings 14. Instead of attempting the game winning FG, the Browns faked it. Mike Pagel hit back-up LB Van Waiters for the Touchdown. The place went berserk. To this day I remember jumping into to the arms of a complete stranger as we were screaming like lunatics over the win. It was the first time that I could really say I was a Browns fan, and it has never wavered. "
- "My favorite Browns memory goes all the way back to 1994.
I was only 5-years-old and, honestly, not really old enough to really comprehend what was happening on the field. There was one thing I did know. The Browns were playing the Dallas Cowboys, so called "America's Team" in middle of their heyday. I wasn't thinking about it at the time, but it turns out this regular game was on a Saturday at 3pm. I remember my family gathering to watch the game. My brother, older by three years, thought the Cowboys were going to win. All I knew was that I was rooting for the same team my dad was rooting for, and the rest of the family was rooting for.
Well, my brother was utterly convinced the Browns didn't stand a chance. Upon reflection, it probably wasn't too crazy a call for an 8-year-old. The Cowboys did enter the game 11-2 and defending Super Bowl champs. Nevertheless, we stood our ground. I don't remember the intricate details of the football being played, I do remember letting my brother hear it anytime the Browns scored. When the game was finally over, my sisters and I really let him have it for "rooting" for the Cowboys. We may have taken the bragging a little to far, as my brother started crying. My 5-year-old self didn't really care. I was elated that the Browns won. It was one of the happiest sports memories I can recall from my childhood.
A year later I wouldn't understand why everything was falling apart, and the one following that I'd wonder why the Browns weren't around anymore, why I was getting a Green Bay Packers blanket for Christmas. My brother got the same blanket in a Cowboy equivalent, and a hat too. To his credit, he claims to this day that he only thought the Cowboys were going to win, never hooted for them, and that's why he was upset. I never really bought that and still poke fun at him for it from time to time."
Chris Pokorny - "It's really tough to answer my own question. I didn't attend my first Browns game in-person until the 2008 season when the Browns stunned the defending Super Bowl Champion Giants on Monday Night Football. Sure, that was memorable, but in context, is it really what I want to hold on to as my favorite Browns memory? It ended up being a terrible season. What about my first training camp experience in 2011? That was special too, but not necessarily earth-shattering. I'll always remember Jim Donovan screaming about the Browns getting a Hail Mary touchdown against the Saints in 1999, but I was too young back then to have enough context.
Looking back, I'll say the defining moment for me came in March 2006, when I started Dawgs By Nature as back of the SB Nation network. I had been writing about the NFL in general for a few years prior to that, but my commitment to trying to cover the Browns took my interest, knowledge, and passion about the team to a level beyond my wildest imaginations. I can't miss a beat about the Browns -- even though I'm not a big X's and O's expert, I have to know what I'm talking about at all times. It's stressful keeping up with everything, but I wouldn't trade it for anything."