Good Morning Everyone:
Well the Cowboys open up this Sunday with the Cleveland Browns and I for one can not hold back my excitement that the season is finally going to officially kick off. I feel like if the “Boys” play the way they are capable of playing they should easily handle the Browns. I also feel like this game will allow the Cowboys to eventually rest some people and maybe get a few more those nagging injuries healed up before they face some tougher opponents down the road.
Long gone are the days of the immortal Jim Brown, Leroy Kelly, and Ozzie Newsom. In 1948 when the Brown’s became a franchise, they were a powerhouse in what was called the old American Football Conference. The new rival league consisted of 7 teams. The Baltimore Colts, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Hornets, Los Angeles Dons, New York Yankees, San Francisco 49ers, and the Cleveland Browns. Hall of Famer Paul Brown was the coach which incidentally was how the Brown’s got their name. The were led by Quarterback Otto Graham, running back Marion Motley and Lou” the toe” Groza. The Browns won 4 consecutive AFC titles before the league was disbanded in 1950 and the NFL adopted 3 of the teams including the Cleveland Browns. In 1950 their first year they beat the Los Angeles Rams to capture their 5th title, but now as a NFL team.
In 1957 the Brown’s selected in the first round a player from Syracuse named Jim Brown who would eventually become for many years the all time leading rusher in the NFL. Only later to be surpassed by Walter Payton. Of course as Cowboy fans we all know who would eventually be the all time leading rusher to this day, the great Emmitt Smith. From 1950 to present day, the Browns have struggled through many seasons of new coaches, a new owner Art Modell, who would later try to move the team to Baltimore and many great well known players, but never would regain that championship form they once knew. In 1999, Modell took his team to Baltimore and became the Ravens while Cleveland got to stay in Cleveland and remain the Browns.
Through all of this, there was one entity that remained firm and that is the “Dawg Pound”. Now for those of you that are not familiar with this group of Cleveland fans, on Sunday you will get to witness a group of individuals that are among a very a unique group. They sit in the east end zone and even in the new stadium, sit in old style bleacher seats. Each “Dawg Pound” member are season ticket holders but tradition has it they pay an additional $40 per seat just to grace the “Dawg Pound” section. They come dressed complete with dog noses, heads, ears and some of the strangest game apparel you will ever see.
“Dawg Pound” fans quickly developed a reputation for misbehavior as well as vociferousness. Team officials banned the carrying of dog food into the stadium, as bleacher fans would shower the visiting team with Milk-Bones, along with other objects. “Dawg Pound” fans also consumed hefty amounts of alcohol, even one time sneaking a keg into the stadium inside of a doghouse. Eventually, the team lined the “Dawg Pound” with security personnel and had spies monitor the section from above to look for violations of ground rules.
On at least one occasion, “Dawg Pound” rowdiness had a concrete impact on the outcome of a game. In the fourth quarter of a 1989 game against the hated Denver Broncos, the rain of batteries and other debris coming down from the bleachers was endangering the safety of the players. To move the action away from the east end, referee Tom Dooley had the teams switch sides. That put the wind at the Browns’ back. The Browns won on a Matt Bahr field goal that barely cleared the crossbar.
At the final game at the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium in 1995, members of the “Dawg Pound” ripped the bleachers from the stands, throwing them onto the field.
“Here We Go, Brownies, Here We Go!”, followed by “Woof! Woof!” is the unofficial chant of the Browns.
So Cowboys fans, when we travel to Cleveland on Sunday it may not be much of game, but you can rest assured the “Dawg Pound” will be out in full force. Now the Brown’s have talent in QB Brady Quinn, Kellen Winslow III, Braylon Edwards, and 3rd overall pick in Joe Thomas, but I think in the end the Cowboys will beat the Browns easily to get their season started off right.
Who knows it might be a better battle between the Cowboy fans and the “Dawg Pound”!