CLEVELAND, Ohio – David Bachman was eight months old, holding onto the TV while his dad was watching the Browns.
Bachman’s family had lived in Michigan at the time, as his father, an Air Force veteran, was stationed there. When Bachman got off the TV, he took his first steps, marking an important milestone in his life and Browns fandom.
Growing up in Connecticut, Bachman, 55, was surrounded by New York Giants fans. He doesn’t have a defining moment for when he became a Browns fan. The team has simply been a part of his life, in part because of his dad’s love for the team.
Bachman lives with his wife, Ashley, in Deep River, Connecticut. As he recalled his early years of being a fan, he talked about his fondness for the Kardiac Kids era.
“I liked Greg Pruitt and Brian Sipe,” Bachman said over the phone. “That Kardiac team have so many of ’em I really love. Clay Matthews. Jerry Sherk. I remember Bo Scott in the backfield. I didn’t really remember the bad parts of (Art) Modell’s ownership when he traded Paul Warfield. I remember my father always mentioning that he used to be a Brown.”
Another childhood memory he recalled was when the Browns beat the New England Patriots, 30-27, in overtime during a 1977 Monday Night Football game. He said he thinks he went to bed at halftime and then woke up to a note saying the Browns won.
During October 2014, he and Ashley traveled to Cleveland to watch the Browns play the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was Bachman’s first time seeing a game in Cleveland, and he got to cheer in the Dawg Pound as the Browns beat Pittsburgh, 31-10.
“Everybody was just so excited,” Bachman said. “I remember the guy sitting next to me was like, ‘I can’t believe we’re beating Pittsburgh by two touchdowns.’ And that was the game when (Alex) Mack, the center, got hurt. And we lost him for the rest of the year.”
Following that win, the Browns won four of their next six – and then lost their last five.
The Browns finished 7-9 in 2014, and then Bachman and other fans experienced more disappointment in the near future, with Cleveland going 3-13 in 2015.
“I mean it was just like ‘ugh,’” Bachman said of 2014’s end. “And then the next year we sucked. And it’s like ‘All right, we’re going to fire another coach.’ Poor Joe Thomas has never been 1-0, and he’s never been in a playoff game.”
With Bachman being a Browns fan in New England, he considers himself unique – but at the same time, he knows he isn’t. Browns fans are everywhere, with approximately 355 Browns Backers clubs in 14 countries, per the Browns’ website.
Bachman has seen up close how far a reach the Browns have. When he took his daughter on vacation to Philadelphia, he and a woman wearing a Browns hat glanced at each other. When Bachman went to Florence, Italy, he saw a guy wearing a Buckeyes hat, and he looked at Bachman.
“It’s just like, you’re an individual most places, but you’ll always run into Browns fans,” Bachman said.