More fan commentary from long-time Browns follower Dale Galbraith...
No more boos
When Patriot's return man Bethel Johnson returned the opening kickoff 93
yards for a touchdown, the Browns heard a chorus of boos. Those would be the
last boos they would hear on a day they were beat in every phase of the game.
Fans became lethargic. They no longer wanted to spend any energy toward the
game on the field, not even to boo.
When William Green fumbled on the third play from scrimmage in the 2nd half
and defensive back Randall Gay returned it for a touchdown, fans started their
mass exit. The exodus continued slowly throughout the remainder of the game.
At one point in the third quarter there were more orange seats then people.
A Patriots flag on an upper deck wall glistened every time the sun poked its
head through the clouds. It was an appropriate symbol of the Pats supremacy on
the field that day.
Then late in the 3rd quarter Belechick stuck in the final dagger when Tom Brady hit David Patten with a 44-yard touchdown strike. Fittingly it was
Patten who delivered the blow. The sure-handed Patten was a Brown in 2000, but
Butch Davis didn't retain him when he took over in 2001.
The Patriots could have scored more, but compassionately Belechick held
them back in the 4th quarter. He pulled as many starters as he could and
passed on attempting a field goal. The fans that were left were grateful for
the touch of class.
Late in the 4th quarter the gulls began to circle above. They were waiting
for their moment to swoop down on an abandoned stadium and feed on the scraps
left by the fans. These same fans were so full of hope at the beginning of
There was an empty row between my wife and me, and the five fans sitting
two rows down. The GE Smith Band was playing the blues. A man from the group
below said, "This is like being at a funeral."
Actually the 2004 Browns are on life support. We will have to suffer with
them until January 2 when the plug is mercifully pulled on this season.
My hat is off to the Patriots fans I came in contact with at the game. Not
one was boisterous about their teams' win. They seemed to sympathize with our
suffering of yet another miserable season. Maybe they can relate to our
situation because of the many years of disappointment caused by the Red Sox
and "The Curse of the Bambino." Now it is up to Browns fans to exorcize "The
Curse of Modell."
The Interim Job
Terry Robiskie is the 4th interim coach in Browns' history. Here are how
the three previous interim coaches fared.
Dick Modzelewski took over for the last game in 1977 when Art Modell fired
Forrest Gregg with the Browns at 6-7 for the season. The team responded with a
19-20 road loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Modell fired Sam Rutigliano with a mid-season record of 1-7 in 1984.
Defensive Coordinator Marty Schottenheimer was named head coach. The Browns
finished the year 5-11. Marty was the only interim coach to date to retain the
position the following year. He coached the Browns through the end of the 1988
season. Injuries forced the Browns to use four different quarterbacks that
year but they still managed a regular season record of 10-6, but after a 23-24
loss to the Houston Oilers in an AFC Wildcard game Art pushed the panic
button. He fired Schottenheimer when the coach refused to make changes with
his staff. Marty ended his stint with the Browns with a 44-27 record.
During the 1990 season Jim Shofner replaced Bud Carson on November 4, the
Browns were 2-6 at the time. The Browns managed only one more win that season
beating the Atlanta Falcons 13-10 in the last home game. They finished the
Modzelewski and Shofner were the only former Browns players to be named
head coach of the Cleveland Browns. Modzelewski played defensive tackle from
1964 through 1966. Modzelewski came to the Browns from the Giants and finished
his playing career in Cleveland. He earned his only trip to the Pro-Bowl in
his first year with the Browns. Shofner was a defensive back from 1958 through
1963. He was also the Browns' number one pick in the 1958 NFL Draft.
Robiskie's future with the Browns is still up in the air. My guess is that
the Browns will win one, maybe two more games this season and Terry will not
be the head coach in 2005. Hopefully the Browns will find a place for him in
Blue Star Service Flag
There is a white flag with a red border and blue star in the center waving
below the Marines Flag at the Stadium. Many fans were wondering what the flag
represented. It is a Blue Star Service Flag and it honors our men and women in
the military during wartime.
The flag was designed by Captain Robert B. Quiesser, an Ohio National Guard
veteran of the Mexican Border (1916).
During WWI families would place the flag in a window of their house if a
family member was serving in the military during wartime.
The number of blue stars represented the number of family members
serving. The blue stands for hope and pride.
When a family member paid the ultimate price, the blue star was replaced with
a gold one to represent sacrifice.
A silver star was used when a soldier came home due to disabling wounds
sustained in combat.
You don't have to have a family member in the Armed Services to fly a Blue
Star Service Flag.
The flag represents the hope that all of America's children in the military
return home safe.
These flags can be purchased by the public at many websites.
In the concourse on the north side of Cleveland Browns Stadium there are
numerous plaques on the wall honoring Browns fans. Fans have paid to put the
names of loved ones on these plaques. In front of many of these plaques there
are beer carts and other obstructions. The Browns need to reposition these
obstructions so fans can have easy access to any of the plaques.
I attended the Cavs game with the Raptors and I think I have discovered a way
to increase the noise level at Cleveland Brown Stadium. Give away free stuff.
The most noise I heard the entire game was when the Cavs gave away tee-shirts,
pizza and lottery tickets during timeouts. Then because the Cavs scored 100
points fans were heard yelling, "Free chalupas at Taco Bell."
I think the Browns should do something similar. Here are a few of my ideas
for the San Diego game:
- Give away a free Whopper from Burger King if the
Browns score more than 40 points.
- Give the fans six chicken wings at Buffalo Wild Wings
if the defense shuts out the opponent.
- Pass out a free survival kit consisting of a paper bag
with face holes cut out, a voucher for one beer, and a button pin that reads, "I
survived the 2004 season."
- Give tee-shirts with "The Browns are #1" printed on
the front and on the back "In next year's NFL Draft."
The free stuff would be nice but I would settle for a win.