It was a game rendered instantly forgettable in NFL history, and a ruckus which died down quickly in the fast-paced world of sports news.
The commentators had their say and moved on. No one talks about it anymore.
But, for some NFL players, the game will never be forgotten.
The quiet pain resulting from the Browns-Jaguars game - sometimes called "bottlegate" - on December 16, 2001 is still being felt. In psychiatrists offices, in the dead of night as players startle awake from the memories, the game still resonates for many of those who were involved.
Now, they are fighting back.
BerniesInsiders.com has learned, exclusively, that legal representatives for several players involved in the game are preparing a multi-million lawsuit against a large list of individuals and corporations considered to have a role in allowing events to spiral out of control near the end of the game.
The near-riot occurred after the Browns, still in playoff contention at the time, completed a pass to WR Quincy Morgan at the Jaguars nine-yard line. Despite running another play, officials stopped the game to review the Morgan catch. Cleveland fans, among the most knowledgeable in the NFL, realized quickly that the review was inappropriate given that play was allowed to continue after the ball was marked at the nine.
When the play was overturned, plastic beer bottles rained down onto the field, along with some handheld electronics or anything else that was easily hurled.
After the season, the Browns replaced the popular plastic beer bottles with souvenir beer cups, which are considered to be less aerodynamic and dangerous to players.
Jaguars and Browns players both had to run from the field, while officials endured a torrent of bottles and cups as they ran off the field.
Not only is the game memorable for poor crowd control, it has also spawned it's own "syndrome" in mental health circles, where the buzz about the game's psychological after-effects has quietly gained credence over the past year.
The case against the plaintiffs will be heavily dependent on whether the specific type of disorder, referred to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Psychiatric Association as "Post-Ploinking Disorder" (PPD), is considered to be serious enough to result in severe financial penalties.
Sources tell BerniesInsiders.com show that the case is likely to gain some notoriety as exposing the hazards of playing in front of unruly, bottle-armed crowds.
In the Journal article, one game participant (not a player) describes how the sound made by empty beer bottles bouncing off the helmets of slow-moving Browns offensive linemen was "like Chinese Water Torture". The sound, described as a sort of "ploink" noise, combined with the panicked screaming of back-up quarterbacks to create "a nightmare environment of girlish squeals and the roar of plastic bouncing off of plastic".
One player, again according to our sources, was visibly shaken as he was surrounded by team valets after leaving the field and may be part of the legal action. The player, reportedly a defensive lineman, was in a state of near-panic about the presence of beer on his otherwise clean uniform, and was only calmed down after rapid promises of laundering were made and a cold gin-and-tonic provided. The player later claimed to have a phobia about "overpriced beer" which, again, may be an element of the lawsuit.
It is expected that the defense will call upon several players present at the game - Gerard Warren is a possibility - to dismiss notions that the near-riot led to a fear of beer or alcoholic beverage containers of any kind.
In a time when discussion of steroids, "chemical performance enhancers", and "collective bargaining agreements" get more attention than coaches and schemes, it should be no surprise that Browns fans need to be prepared for a new acronym - PPD - to be the center of discussion very soon.
Ploink... ploink-ploink... ploink... ploink-ploink-ploink...
For some, the nightmare isn't over. Soon, via the newspapers and Court TV, the horrors will be re-visited and made apparent to all.
If you haven't figured it out by now, this story was our annual April Fools prank... our apologies if you got suckered into believing in the nightmare of post-ploinking disorder. Remember, as always, bouncing beer bottles off of football helmets is not a laughing matter. Thank you.