by Tom Stroup, Mayor
October 30, 2009

Dawg Pound Mike’s heart is in the right place – he is one of many that want a return to the proud and glorious days of the Cleveland Browns that many of us remember.  His head is in the right place too – that it is time for the fans to send a message of their dissatisfaction to the Browns most senior management.   

Unfortunately, the tactics Dawg Pound Mike proposes for sending that message – an empty stadium for the kickoff of a Monday night, nationally televised contest – are all wrong. 

  • The color commentator for ESPN that night will be former Bengal Chris Collensworth, always willing to accept an opportunity to sucker punch Cleveland.

  • The market that will likely generate the greatest audience for the telecast will be our rival, baltimore.  I don’t think they will be feeling our pain with any empathy.
  • The national media – hell the local Browns media – loves giving Cleveland a black eye when it is deserved and when it isn’t.  Be assured that with or without the help of the Cleveland faithful, neither the Browns senior management nor their fans will be happy with that Monday night telecast. 

A Monday night game is an opportunity for a city to put on its best face – to light up the town.  What should Cleveland be most proud of?  How about its resilient and optimistic people?  Not blind, not accepting, not dispassionate – back to that later – but positive, enduring and even encouraging.


So what’s to encourage?  There’s a 50/50 chance that the opening kickoff on that Monday night will be being returned by Josh Cribbs.  I’ll root for the effort and the outcomes of Josh Cribbs.  I don’t want to be standing in the concourse while Josh Cribbs returns an opening kickoff in a Monday night game against the ratbirds.  Josh Cribbs is a great representative of the proud and glorious days of the Cleveland Browns.


What message would we be sending the Browns anyway, as we help give Cleveland another kick in the kidneys?  Is it that if things don’t change for the better, this is what they can look forward to – an empty stadium?  I don’t think so – not in the world of investments in PSLs, and loss of PSLs if season tickets aren’t purchased.  Don’t want to show up – that’s OK, just remember to buy your tickets first.  I think that Dawg Pound Mike would agree that someday OUR Browns will return in full (again, some of OUR Browns are already here – Cribbs and Joe Thomas among others) and I want to be there when they do. 


So how do we send a message?  How about not buying anything?  Anything.  Eat and drink before you come.  No beer – they’re going to stop selling at halftime anyway.  Nothing in the team shop.  Nothing to eat.  Nothing to drink, unless water if needed.  The truth is, that will send a louder signal to the Browns, because they are a business, and one that already has your ticket money whether you’re in your seat or not.  It is the loudest message that could be sent to the Browns business trust, and yet is one that is silent in terms of the national media and how
Cleveland is presented to a national audience.  The problem is that it’s unfair to the vendors who earn much of their living on tips – so give them a tip.


On Monday night the game is going to play out as it will.  It’s going to be on national display, along with the fans reaction to it.  We have a say in part of that script, and in what the national audience thinks of Cleveland Monday night, and for the rest of Monday’s to come.  Anyone who thinks about my seat during the Monday night kickoff is going to be thinking “that guy was loud”.


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