In the first quarter of yesterday’s Cleveland Browns game, I turned to my buddies around me and said Sean Jones is going to an interception and this drive. A few plays later Jones picked off a Matt Hasselbeck to stop the opening drive. From there on I knew it would be a good day for the Browns.
Being inside Cleveland Browns Stadium last night was one of the best sports moments of my life. It was an amazing atmosphere, amazing game and amazing fans cheering on an amazing team that is doing amazing things.
By now, all Browns fans know the stars of the game – Jamal Lewis’s 4 touchdowns, Kellen Winslow’s 11 catches for 125 yards, the two defensive stops on fourth down, Derek Anderson leading the comeback by not throwing an interception in the second half and Phil Dawson redeeming his missed extra point with the game winning field goal.
But I can’t say enough about the fans and the atmosphere inside the stadium. Trailing 21-6, no one was discouraged. Upset, yes, but not discouraged. In past years, the stadium would have been half empty by halftime because you knew they weren’t coming back. Not this year. Even down 15, the fans knew the Browns would get back in this game. No one left. The stadium was just as full at 7:00 was it was at 4:00. The cold, the deficient, nothing could make the fans stop cheering this team. And the cheering never stopped. Everyone was up on their feet for all important plays in the second half and no one sat down from the time the 89-yard, 14 play drive that tied the score, started.
There’s no doubt I’m tired and throat is a little soar this morning but it is well worth it. If the Browns would have lost it would have been a devastating loss. Fighting that hard, for that long in that big of a game would have all seemed for nothing if Jones doesn’t make that fourth-down tackle in overtime. But he did make the play and the Browns made every play they needed to in the second half (expect Braylon dropping a pass in the endzone which could have killed my fantasy team if I didn’t have Adrian Peterson).
Last week I wrote that this team was finally fun to watch. Not only are they fun to watch, they are more fun to cheer for. The Browns have always had great fans and have sold out the stadium every game only for fans to go home disappointed nearly 70 percent of the time. Fans would leave early and wonder why the spend so much money to watch this team not even be competitive. The sellout crowds never really seemed like a sellout crowd. There was basically no home field advantage. Not this year. With an exciting team that is never out of any game that is finally winning games, Cleveland finally has a home field advantage. Nearly 73,000 orange and brown dress people cheered as Sean Jones intercepted that pass in the first quarter. The same 73,000 people were still there to cheer as Phil Dawson’s 25-yard field goal won the game and no one left wondering why they came.