CLEVELAND, Ohio – Dennis Martin fondly remembers the images of what took place following the Browns’ home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 26, 1995.
It was the last game the two rivals would play at Municipal Stadium. The Browns lost 20-17, but what mattered more is the togetherness the fanbases showed following the game.
“And after that game, walking out, all the Browns and Steelers fans were walking out together,” Martin said over the phone. “And I remember the hugs, just blended together, talking because that rivalry was gone at that time. And nobody thought the rivalry would ever come back.”
Martin, 62, said watching the Browns and Steelers fans walk out together was “the coolest thing.” He lives in Bellefontaine, Ohio, and has been a Browns fan since he was a kid. He’s a retired high school basketball and baseball coach, and he has made a cluster of memories watching his favorite football team.
He recalls watching the Browns when he was a little over a year old, and his dad was cutting his hair while the game was on. Martin said in his submission he remembers the Browns being down three, and after Lou Groza missed a late-game field goal, he started crying.
“I hated it. We lost,” Martin said. “I was such a Browns fan. I was raised that way. I’m a diehard Browns fan.”
Other memories consist of Martin gazing in awe at the happenings of the Dawg Pound. The Dawg Pound is one of the NFL’s rowdiest sections, and Martin has always enjoyed watching the passionate fans.
“My last game there, I was with a couple friends,” Martin said. “It was my son, a couple friends. I said, ‘you gotta watch this.’ And the game had just started. Five minutes into the game and somebody was already being taken out of the stadium. Yeah, they’re crazy down there. But it’s fun. It’s like you expect something crazy in the Dawg Pound.”
Martin went to the Browns’ first game at the new stadium in 1999, when the franchise played the Steelers to open the season. The Browns were routed 43-0, finishing 2-14 that season. Their only wins were against the New Orleans Saints in Week 8 and a road win against the Steelers in Week 10.
As the Browns were returning to the NFL, Martin figured they would be bad. Still, he didn’t complain – his team was back. Every year, Martin gets fired up. It’s a testament to how he and scores of Browns fans are some of the most loyal in all of sports.
“When you’re such a diehard, and your team’s ripped away from you for years, you don’t care what they’re like when they come back,” Martin said. “You’re excited they’re back. And Cleveland fans are crazy. Doesn’t matter what their record is, how terrible they are, they’re showing up. That’s just what Browns fans do. We show up.