Baker Changing Browns’ Culture
Is Baker Mayfield the quarterback Cleveland has waited for?
IT HAD BEEN years, and it felt like even longer, since that many people stayed to watch the end of a Cleveland Browns game at FirstEnergy Stadium. Trying to rush to an escalator, or elevator, was pointless. Almost everyone was caught in a slow-moving sea of orange and brown, a wave of thousands of jubilant fans, drunk on cheap beer or hope (or both), standing shoulder to shoulder and gradually inching their way down the labyrinth of ramps that wind their way to the stadium’s exit. Leaving a building long dubbed the “Factory of Sadness” had never been so difficult.
For the first time in 635 days, the Browns had won a football game, defeating the New York Jets 21-17 on a warm September night. A fan base that had been forced to accept misery as a regular part of its existence was now singing and clapping in unison, with such gusto that you could hear the chants echo off the buildings of downtown, and out into the waters of Lake Erie.