Apparently, there are Browns fans in Pittsburgh. I’m shocked by this. They’ve even formed a club: The Brownbacks. I ran into these devoted, die-hard fans at Peter’s Pub in Oakland, which is where my friend Justin and I went to watch the Steelers dominate the Bills.
The Brownbacks had the entire second floor of Peter’s to themselves. They were eating, drinking and being pretty loud. We here in Steelers Nation have a wicked sense of humor. After the first time the Brownbacks went nuts – yelling, clapping and stomping – I turned to a stranger and said: “What, the Browns get a first down or something?” The stranger replied: “No, they made a tackle.” Then the bartender chimed in, “Who they playing, Upper Saint Claire?” USC, of course, is a Class AAAA high school in the south hills of Pittsburgh.
A little bit later, a Browns fan came downstairs and asked the bartender for matches. “We don’t have any,” the bartender said. “You’re gonna have to go across the street to the convenient store.” After the Brownback walked away, the bartender turned to me and said: “We got matches. He’s just wearing a Browns jersey.” After I laughed, he said: “I’m just kidding, we don’t have any matches.”
This is the tip of the iceburg. At one point during the Stelers game, a Bills player was hurt on the field, a certain sports writer – we won’t mention any names – yelled out: “He’s paralyzed!” And everyone wearing a Steelers jersey laughed – very wicked sense of humor.
Once the Steelers game was well in hand, Justin and I headed upstairs to watch the end of the Browns game. We couldn’t resist. We knew the score thanks to the ticker on the bottom of the screen, and, the Brownbacks were being so loud.
I walked into the room chanting, “Here we go Browns, here we go!” and clapping. The Brownbacks do not share the same wicked sense of humor. “Go back downstairs!” someone yelled.
Instead of departing the floor, I sat down took it all in: men and women young and old, wearing Browns gear and cheering for a team that was winning. It was almost too much to handle. Justin stood near the big screen and proceeded to annoy the Brownbacks by not shutting his mouth. At one point, when the Browns almost sacked Carson Palmer, he even began chanting, “Kimo! Kimo! Kimo!” The manager of the bar pulled him aside and asked him to go downstairs. So, he left. I stayed behind and, as the Browns pulled off the upset of the weekend, I gained a new found appreciation of Browns fans.
Here are a people who aren’t too much different from Pirates fans: Their team is mismanaged, they never win, and they continue to cheer. In fact, Browns fans are more die-hard than Pirates fans. The Browns have been one of the worst professional sports teams the past 10 years, and yet they still huddle together in bars and cheer. It must be incredibly difficult to be a Browns fan, especially while living in Pittsburgh. We taunt them and ridicule them. Perhaps, we should cut them some slack. Their team did just hand us sole possession of first place. … Nah, let’s still make fun of them. But, just do it in a respectful manner every now and then. They’re darn loyal to their team.