Why I Am A Browns Fan

My earliest memories of the Browns go back to 1969. Bill Nelson under center. John Demari and Gene Hickerson on the line. Ron Johnson (pre - NY Giant days) and Leroy Kelley in the backfield. Milt Moran at TE. Paul Warfield, Garry Collins, Chip Glass and Fair Hooker at receiver. On Defense there was John Garlington, Billy Anderws and Jim Houston at LB, Jack Gregory, Walter Johnson and Jim Kanicki on the defensive line, with Ernie Kellerman and Alvin Mitchell in the defensive backfield. Bill "no knees" Nelson led the Browns to the NFL Championship game vs. Joe Kapp and the Minnesota Vikings. I was hooked. I was so bummed when Ron Johnson went to the NY Giants. I remember when Mike Phipps was brought in. Not much went right for the Browns until a Monday Night in 1973. Cleveland Browns vs. Joe Namath and the New York Jets in the first ever ABC Monday Night Football game. When Homer Jones returned the 2nd half kickoff for a TD, the Browns took charge. The team still was not much until the first game of the season in Cincinnati in 1977. My dad and I (both big Browns fans) went to the game. Upper deck. Corner end zone. Then it happened. The Browns had a usual 3rd and long deep in their own territory. A young QB named Brian Sipe dropped back and threw it about 25 yards down the left sideline. In the years prior, this would just have been an incomplete pass and the Browns would have punted. But no! The pass was right on target and a tall, lanky receiver by the name of Dave Logan went up and pulled it down for a first down! I knew right there that this was a DIFFERENT Cleveland Browns team! They only went on to a 6-8 record that year, but that was just the start. It was the birth of the Kardiac Kids. We all know how it ended in 1980 with Red Right 88. I was never in the old Municipal Stadium. I remember driving past it once in 1992 headed toward Erie, PA. As I looked at it in my rear view mirror, I remember thinking, 'I've died a thousand deaths in that place and never set foot in it." I saw the Browns play several times in Cincinnati and even twice in Detriot. All through the Bernie, Mac & Byner and Ozzie years. When Art Model pulled up and went to Baltimore, I actually felt like a member of my family had died. I had purchased my young son a Browns football uniform for Christmas. I came within a gnat's eyelash of packing it up and sending it to Model, to thank him for breaking my young son's heart. But we hung with the new Browns. Tim Couch and the parade since then at QB. Then finally, for the home opener of 2011 against the Bengals with Colt McCoy as the starting QB and I had my two sons in Cleveland Browns Stadium (as it was called then). The only game I've ever been able to attend in Cleveland. But I have Sunday Ticket! And I am STILL a Browns fan!

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