Many fans love flooding to Downtown Cleveland for each Browns home game, or to the Muni Lot to enjoy some pre-game action. For road games, or those not going in person, there is often an element of “homegating” that is a great call for watching Browns games. This refers to the traditions you take each week to make the football season feel special, no matter how exotic or silly it may seem.
Here is how I spend my typical Sunday homegating for a Browns game, including for the team’s upcoming Week 1 match-up against the Carolina Panthers.
I used to get up really early, around 7 a.m. with butterflies in my stomach, anxious for gametime to arrive. Over the years, I think I got a bit too accustom to losing. While my spirit and excitement on gameday remained, the one side effect is that I decided to sleep in a little longer, usually until 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. (Or, maybe this is just a side effect of getting older)
Checking Twitter & Pre-Game Shows
If you search for Browns or NFL news on the Internet, I still feel like Twitter is the go-to place for any late-breaking headlines. I check Twitter out for a bit to see if there’s any morning Browns news that I need to cover for Dawgs By Nature; if not, there’s usually other pertinent headlines around the NFL that catch my interest.
I also start checking out some of the pre-game shows, either on TV or the radio, mostly as background noise. This is another element that has changed dramatically with me. Ten years ago, I would sit in front of the TV and watch all of the pregame shows from wire-to-wire. Now, like I said, they are just background noise for me to occasionally check out a segment, while I’m more focused on Twitter, browsing Cageside Seats, or updating Dawgs By Nature.
Food & Snacks
I stress eat during Browns games, so I need a combination of snacks: chocolate chip cookies, pretzel sticks, iced oatmeal cookies, butter cookies, fudge stripe cookies, Pringles, and cinnamon toast crunch. I don’t necessarily eat them all during a game, but I cycle through them, alternating week-to-week. Whatever I don’t snack on during the game, I finish at a slower pace throughout the week. If the Browns are winning or in a close game, my stress eating really becomes a thing. If we are playing like crap and completely out of it, I don’t feel like doing anything except sulking quietly.
The big treat, which I do for some weeks, is ordering pizza in anticipation of the game. There is a Domino’s Pizza nearby, so I’ll usually pick it up around 12:15 p.m., and have it home to start eating around 12:30 p.m., so I can scarf it down just prior to kickoff. Pizza goes hand in hand with watching football, but I don’t like eating a meal during the game, especially since my fingers need to be free of grease when I’m constantly updating Dawgs By Nature.
Enjoying the Game Itself
That brings me to game time. I have my big screen TV facing me as I sit in my chair, with my computer on my left (at a 90 degree angle). While the Browns game is going on, I am progressively writing the post-game recap — i.e. after a significant play, searching for scoring or turnover highlights on Twitter to embed, etc.
I always have nflgsis.com up so that I make sure I’m getting the yardage and clock correct when I reference it. This is where a 40-second play clock helps me, because after one big play happens, I can usually spin toward the computer, type out a sentence or two, and then spin back to the TV, ready for the next play to happen. When commercials come on, that’s when I get to expand a little on the context of my writing, so I ensure that when the clock shows 0:00 at the end of the game, I am ready to publish.
Throughout all of this, I also am paying attention to other scores across the league. I used to play fantasy football and would also get particularly invested in other games because of that, but I’ve had a hiatus from fantasy football for the past couple of years.
After the Game
Lastly, after the game, win or lose, I am reading comments from fans on Dawgs By Nature, and am also glued to Twitter to read even more reactions, hot takes, and fun statistics that might be worth noting for a future article.
Now it’s your turn — tell us your typical traditions when you are homegating for a Browns game!