It was the 1950 championship game, Browns vs. Rams. My brother and I got on the Cleveland-Lorain highway bus and we went to Cleveland. We sat at that time what was called the center field bleachers. And it was a cold, cold day. I remember toward the end of the game, (Lou) Groza kicked a field goal toward us, and the Browns won, 30-28. I remember after the game, our feet were so cold, we were so cold, that we jumped over that railing and we slid down a snowbank onto the field. We couldn’t even feel our feet for about three or four minutes, that’s how cold it was. It was a fantastic game, and that’s one game I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
— Gene Michaels, Lorain
I have two distinct Browns memories: 1. My grandfather, Ed Groenstein, had two season tickets in the upper deck boxes of Municipal Stadium for as long as I can remember. The unusual thing about that was that he was blind. He always carried a transistor radio with him at the game so that he could listen to the broadcast while he “ watched” the game. He became so well known that one of the local paper (either the Cleveland Plain Dealer or the Cleveland Press) ran a story about him and his radio. 2. One year in the mid-60s, I was sitting with my grandfather in those box seats and it was minus-6 degrees with a good wind coming in from the lake. It was REALLY cold up there! Everybody in the boxes got a good laugh when the beer vendor came around selling “Ice cold beer! Get your ice-cold beer, here!”
— Tom Brandt, Moscow, Idaho
I was a season ticket holder in the Dawg Pound, and Eric Metcalf had two touchdown returns that were punt returns for a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Browns squeaked out a victory. It was truly an amazing experience. That was before the Browns moved, and that was when the Dawg Pound was the Dawg Pound, and the fans were just so full of energy. I remember the stadium rocking so hard, it was shaking from the fans cheering and clapping. ...Final score of 24-23. Greatest game I’ve ever been to, and especially against Pittsburgh, it made it 10 times better.
— Jon Stemple, Painesville
In Cincinnati in 1980, I was there watching Brian Sipe and the original Kardiac Kids come back and defeated the Bengals to win the division. It was the final win in a magical season as two weeks later the Browns lost the Ice Bowl on Red Right 88.
— George Staursky, Brunswick
For me, my Browns memories will be with the original Browns before they moved to Baltimore. I grew up with them. I’m 42 years old, but in a lot of ways I miss the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium. Fans really got into the games more there and the Browns had a home-field advantage. I also have memories of the different players who have played for them and the playoff games and the games against Denver specially the ‘86 AFC championship game when Brian Brennan caught the ball and the Denver defender fell down. I know myself and probably many other fans probably thought the Browns were on there way to the Super Bowl. There are so many more memories I can mention. I will always have those memories and hopefully this new Browns team can have the same winning tradition as the original team. Go Browns!
— Will Kallas
My first Browns memory is the 1986 Jets playoff game at the old Cleveland Stadium. I was 7 years old, and I remember the excitement when I found out that my dad scored tickets from work! Being so young you would think that I wouldn’t remember much, but it made such an impression on me that I still have vivid memories. I ate my first dog bone that day, saw my first playoff win and shared it all with my dad! Now that he is gone, I still get nostalgic every time I see highlights of that game on TV. Browns fan for life!
— Louis Trivisonno, Lyndhurst
My first memories of the Cleveland Browns begin at their beginning — the first game — a 44-0 drubbing of the Miami Seahawks. I was 11 years old, and my dad took me to the game. The previous year we had gone to see the Cleveland Rams play their last game here, a 15-14 win over Sammy Baugh and the Washington Redskins. As I grew older, some friends and I had season tickets behind home plate in section 22 of old Municipal Stadium. Those were the glory years when the Browns were annual contenders culminating in the NFL championship in 1964 — our very last one! I became an official in 1972 and found that I really loved the game. Little did I know that I’d eventually become a practice official for my beloved Browns. I was fortunate to work their practices at Lakeland, BW and at the Berea complex for 15 years. I got to know coaches Schottenheimer, Shofner, Carson, Belichick and Davis. Not to mention Cowher, Saban and Pagano. Now I’m a spectator again — mostly at a Browns Backers club in sunny Port St. Lucie, Florida. Sometimes I dream of running around the field with BK, BB, Flex, Dix, Minnie, Clay, Reggie, Boyer (pronounced Boy-Yea), Big Daddy, Michael Dean, Bubba, and Matt Bahr — who could always make me laugh. I miss them all!
— Jerry Sulecki
Art Modell came up with a new idea — having a twi-night doubleheader in the NFL. Cleveland played the Steelers in the nightcap following a Lions-Cowboys game. Two things stick out in my mind about that night. One was when Ernie Davis, whom the Browns had made their no. 1 pick (in exchange for future Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell), was introduced to the crowd. He was not in uniform because he was diagnosed a few months earlier with leukemia. With the spotlight focused on him, he slowly walked across the field, dressed in a white suit, naturally to thunderous applause. It was an extremely sad moment and sight to behold, this great college back, who knew he may never play again. He never had the chance to show his talents and passed away not too long afterward. The second memory of that night involved another great college athlete — John Havlicek. Havlicek, an All-America basketball player at Ohio State, was drafted by the Browns and decided to give football a try even though he hadn’t played since high school. I remember that he was credited with a real fine block from the receiver position. Luckily for him, he was “cut” by the Browns and decided to give the Boston Celtics a try. It turned out to be a pretty smart move as he became one of the NBA’s greatest 100 players of all time and a Hall of Famer.
— Dennis Gabrie, Amherst
One of my greatest memories about the Browns was in 1964, and I got two tickets to the Browns championship game for Christmas from my dad. I was 15 at the time and two days later, my dad and I go to the game. It was very exciting, 0-0, at the half. In the second half, Gary Collins scores three touchdowns and Lou Groza kicks two field goals for a 27-0 victory. Wow, what a game. Growing up, everyone wanted to wear No. 32, Jim Brown’s number and wear the double face mask, and there I am watching him live with my dad win a championship. To this day, that was the best present that I ever got in my life. I’ve been a season ticket holder since the mid 1970’s and saw some great games, but nothing compares to the ’64 championship game. I keep waiting for that magic to come back. Maybe this year.
— Norm Locker, Kirtland Hills
I’ve been a loyal Browns season ticket holder for 35 years. Of all of the Browns games I have seen over the years, the one I want to talk about is the ‘Ice Bowl’ back in 1980. I was there for ‘The Drive,’ the week before I was there for the double-overtime victory against the Jets, when it was so loud you could not hear what the person next to you was saying. The first year I got my tickets, I believe they cost $7, and they didn’t make us buy the preseason tickets, unlike now when we have to spend all this money for games that don’t count. The first thing that comes to mind is how cold it was. It was like minus-20 below zero when the game started. I think that is the coldest I have ever been. It was the Kardiac Kids against the Oakland Raiders. It was a grind it out game until the last couple of minutes of the game. As the Browns had done all season long, they were driving down for the winning score with less than two minutes left in the game. We actually left our seats and followed the Browns down the field. The old stadium was as loud as I have ever heard it. I saw Brian Sipe drop back to pass and try to throw the pass to Ozzie Newsome, the infamous ‘Red Right 88.’ It was intercepted, and I have never heard the stadium that quiet. We were all stunned. I can still remember walking out of the stadium after the game, and nobody saying a word. It was like 100 percent complete silence. Eighty-thousand fans leaving the stadium at the same time, and not one person said a word. I still believe had we won that game, we would have won the Super Bowl that year.
— Rich Hoffman, Lorain
Even though I am a Bengal fan, I had access through a family member being able to go to Browns games in the ’70s at a young age and saw all the games the Browns played, the Bengals and Steelers. I was at the Bradshaw/Turkey Jones game at age 9. It’s hard to believe the game was almost 37 years ago. The story is well documented and I was in the upper deck of the horseshoe and had a clear view of the play. I’ll say, that’s when the hatred really began between the Browns and Steelers fans as three fights broke out within 10 minutes in the general area I sat in and another half dozen outside the stadium. I had never witnessed a fight at a football game up to that point. Football is still my favorite sport, yet that era will be the greatest time of my life. I didn’t know how much money they made and didn’t have 24/7 networks and 10,000 websites telling me how much they did. Can you imagine Swann doing a riverdance? Lambert would have knocked his head off.
— Mike Meli, Willoughby
Created by Cheryl Sadler | CSadler@News-Herald.com | Twitter: @nhcheryl
Photos from The Associated Press and the Cleveland Browns archive