Cleveland Browns Stadium
New York Jets
vs. Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns Stadium
November 14, 2010
26 - 20 Loss
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Capacity: 73,200 seats
Playing Surface: Natural Grass
Draft Beer: $8.00
Hot Dog: $4.50
Stadium Parking: $25.00
1085 West 3rd Street
Cleveland, OH 44114
Stadium Review - True Cleveland Browns Tailgating
Pro Football Tailgating in Cleveland, Ohio is an institution. A tradition that’s handed down from father to son with an appreciation for the local franchise that spans several generations. Like most of the rust belt in the northeast, Cleveland Browns fans are exceptional blacktop culinarians who pride themselves on their ability to put meat to flame on any given Sunday. Browns fans personally understand the heartbreak of losing their team, but fortunately they also know the elation of having it returned to them, as the Cleveland Browns returned as an expansion team in 1999. However, much like my Buffalo Bills, Browns fans still await the excitement of their first Super Bowl Championship. So I guess in that respect we’re kind of kindred spirits. These days, however, it appears that the Cleveland Browns have turned the corner and are heading back toward respectability in the NFL while my Buffalo Bills appear destined to languish in the NFL basement for at least a few more years.
Wholesale franchise change starts at the top and the Cleveland Browns organization have been making all the right moves to complete the transformation from NFL basement dweller to perennial playoff contender. They were able to lure pro-football guru, Mike Holmgren, over from Seattle to the run the team; and from the coaching staff with Eric Mangini at the helm on down, they are on a solid foundation ensuring that success is near. The Cleveland Browns have also built their team the right way, investing several draft picks on the defensive side of the ball and on big men who can play the game, fortifying the most important positions first before bringing in the final pieces of the franchise puzzle. One of those pieces might already be on the roster in rookie signal caller Colt McCoy, who’s solid play over the last few weeks has helped lead this team to victories over some of the NFL's elite.
On the heels of dominant wins over the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints and Bill Bellichick’s New England Patriots, I was in town as the Cleveland Browns were set to take on the New York Jets, another NFL powerhouse. Our day began at 7:00am, which is actually rather late by traditional Cleveland Browns tailgating standards. In years past, Sunday start time for tailgating began at 4:30am, but his year with new ordinances by the City of Cleveland mandating that no lots will be allowed to open before 7:30am, Cleveland Browns fans begrudgingly begin their Sunday tradition three hours later than normal. For Browns fans, it just means when 7:30am hits, that they have a lot of catching up to do.
To show me what true Cleveland Browns Tailgating is all about, I employed the services of some Cleveland Browns Superfans. Cagey Browns blacktop veterans like Jay "the Old Man" Negin, John "Photo Guy" Ward, and the "Mobile Dawg" himself, Mr Anthony Schaefer, were on hand throughout the day to show me the ropes. We began in the Northcoast District Lot with the Old Man and Photo Guy. They're like the Batman and Robin of Cleveland tailgating. The fellas were onsite bright and early pulling in a mini tailgating trailer with their brown and orange short bus, the Cleveland Brown Bus. On the tailgating menu for the weekend were some exceptional local bratwurst, roasted pork tenderloin, and a wide array of burgers and dogs (with Stadium Mustard – definitely a must in Cleveland). In addition, John and his wife Melissa were taste testing their newly developed Cleveland Browns signature shot. Mixing whipped cream Vodka with either orange soda or root beer (to make the shots Cleveland Browns Orange and Brown in color), the “Orange and Brown Dawg Bites” were born. Brilliant in its simplicity and smooth in its delivery, I think we have a winner here folks.
After Spending the morning at the Cleveland Browns Bus, we decided to hit the lot to find out what other local fans had going on in terms of die hard Cleveland Browns tailgating. Fan Tailgating can be found in parking lots scattered throughout the stadium area and Cleveland has several lots within a few minutes walk of the stadium that are transformed into tent cities on gameday. With a reputation throughout the league for having some of the best tailgating in the NFL, I had to be certain to make an unbiased and thorough evaluation, and if that meant taste testing some local food and more importantly some local beers, I was up for the challenge.
I began in the Cleveland Municipal Parking lot, also known as the "Muni Lot". Notorious for its no-holds-barred tailgating approach, residents of the Muni Lot are widely regarded as some of Cleveland's most innovative tailgaters. With a number of fans trucking in custom modified fan school buses and trailers, I was in awe of some of the work put into these custom rigs to make each one unique in appearance and functionality. From the small cottages on trailers to the custom painted school buses and vans, a wide variety of tailgate vehicles were parked throughout the area. I especially liked the trailers that had built-on covered rear decks, like a back porch protruding from a fully framed cottage on the wheels. Those were most impressive.
On our way to visit with Mobile Dawg, who's a fixture in the Muni Lot, we stumbled onto a rowdy group of premiere tailgaters that call themselves the Browns Bunch. With a live DJ spinning tunes throughout the morning, a crowd had gathered in the Browns Bunch area that was flanked by several tailgate cruisers. To pass the time, they were playing a little beer keg bowling when we happened by. With ten bowling pins setup on one end of the main aisle, prospective bowlers who were accented appropriately in traditional bowling shirts and genuine leather bowling shoes, hurled empty beer kegs down the aisle in an effort to knock over all of the pins. Gutter balls were penalized severely as bowlers who miss all of the pins at the end of the lane were required to do forty pushups while the crowd counted out each excruciating muscular maneuver. Even female bowlers who missed the pins did the pushups. I guess when you’re surrounded by a massive group of spectators, peer pressure dictates that the rules must be followed.
After getting comfortably sauced by dropping in on several of the tailgaters in the Muni lot, we finally stopped in on Mobile Dawg's tailgate. Mobile Dawg is a seasoned pro and even though I wasn't sure exactly where he was located at Muni Lot, all I had to do was ask a couple of locals and they happily pointed me in the right direction. Serving up an exceptional meatball and ravioli soup, accented by some half pound black angus burgers, we chatted about the Browns and checked out his Mobile Dawg School bus that was painted in Cleveland orange and brown. The ultimate tailgating amenity had to be his custom toilet stall that included the likeness of former Browns owner Art Modell painted in the main bowl. After moving the team to Baltimore in 1996, I guess it allows Browns fans to exact a little well deserved karmic payback on Mr. Modell.
Soon it was time to head into the stadium. Cleveland Browns Stadium was built for the Cleveland Browns expansion team that returned to the city in 1999. Built on the same spot as the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium, the field runs east to west exactly like the original field and the Dawg Pound can still be found in their familiar East endzone bleacher seating. Security has tightened in the Dawg Pound area, as I noticed that unless you hold a ticket for those sections, stadium staffers will not allow you to enter the Dawg Pound. Renamed FirstEnergy Stadium in 2013, Cleveland Browns Stadium has some pretty standard concessions, with your generic dogs, popcorn, burgers, and beer and pricing is competitive with the rest of the league. The steep sided bowl construction of the seating areas ensures that there isn’t a bad seat in the house and with expanded concourses and ample restroom facilities, this stadium is on par with the newer venues in the league.
At kickoff, it was about 55 degrees on an unseasonably warm day in Cleveland and with Rookie Colt McCoy under center, the offense was effective in moving the ball against a Jets defense that appeared a little surprised by the physicality of the Browns offensive attack. Anchored by running back Peyton Hillis, the ground game punished Jets defenders and Cleveland pulled within four points of the Jets just before the half. The Jets dominated the second half of the game, but a late fourth quarter touchdown drive by Colt McCoy in the final minutes of regulation forced overtime.
During the overtime period, the Browns had their share of chances to win, especially after gaining momentum in the final minutes of the period from a third missed field goal by Jets kicker Nick Folk, but a costly fumble by Chansi Stuckey as the Browns were driving up the field sealed their fate. The Jets defense remained poised and shut down Cleveland’s steady signal caller forcing a punt in the waning minutes of overtime. Mark Sanchez connected with Santonio Holmes with 24 seconds on the clock to avoid the tie and the Jets squeaked out a 26 – 20 victory over a vastly improved Cleveland Browns team. One thing's for sure, these guys are for real.
For more information on the city of Cleveland, Ohio check out my other reviews by clicking on the links below:
NFL: September 29, 2013 - Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns
NFL: December 16, 2007 - Buffalo Bills vs. Cleveland Browns
NBA: November 13, 2010 - Indiana Pacers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
NBA: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland Cavaliers - General Information
|City of Cleveland Local Information|
Top Tourist Attractions:
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Great Lakes Science Center
Pro Football Hall of Fame (Canton, Ohio)
Polish Kielbasa, Pierogies
Classic Reuben Sandwich
Fresh lake fish
What They're Drinkin':
Great Lakes Dortmunder, Smithwickes
There's great tailgating in all lots around FirstEnergy Stadium, but the die-hards gather in the Cleveland Municipal Parking Lot (Muni Lot)
Pocket Map of Cleveland
RTA Regional Transit Authority Rail Map
Stadium Parking Map
Local Sports Media:
The Columbus Dispatch
Cleveland Plain Dealer
97.1 The Fan
Warehouse District (The Velvet Dog, Spy, Fusion, The Blind Pig)
East 4th Street District (House of Blues, Flannery's Pub, Corner Alley)
Historic Gateway District (Great live entertainment - blues and vintage rock)
The Flats (are dead, everything has closed up in the Flats)
East 4th Street (Harry Buffalo, Flannery's Pub, Lola Bistro, Saigon)
Historic Gateway District (Clevelander Bar & Grill, Local Heroes Bar & Grill)
Warehouse District (Blue Pointe Grille, Cleveland Chophouse, Brasa Grill
Steakhouse, Mallorca, Metro Bar & Kitchen)
Mortens Steak House
Getting to the Stadium:
Take the local rail system called the RTA. Take either the Blue of Green line to the West Third Street Station (W.3 - Browns Stadiums) which lets you off across the street from FirstEnergy Stadium. However, if you're staying in the downtown area, then FirstEnergy Stadium should be within walking distance.
Where To Stay:
Find a Hotel in the downtown area as it keeps you within walking distance of the stadium and the many attractions of the City of Cleveland. I would suggest staying at the Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center or the Crowne Plaza Cleveland City Centre. The Brighton Hotel Corp & The Keg & Quarter also both boast fabulous reviews.
Compare Prices for Cleveland Browns Football Tickets Here:
Click on the following links for Cleveland Browns ticket availability at each of the top online ticket brokers on the web. Try each link to find the cheapest NFL ticket prices:
|The Folks from TailgateDawg.com||That Bus has Balls||Several Jets Fans made the Trek|
|Resetting the Pins||Checking Lane Conditions||Strike!|
|Orange Guy - The Cleveland Browns Fan||Mobile Dawg and the Bus||Some of that Famous Meatball & Ravioli Soup|
|The Old Man and Photo Guy||Quest Machine Made the Journey||Inside Cleveland Browns Stadium|
|Fifty Yard Line||A View from our Seats||Stadium #3 on the Quest for 31 Revisited|
Please feel free to post any suggestions or comments you might have for my journey to
FirstEnergy Stadium, including the following:
- Local Hotspots (Bar Districts, Restaurants, Clubs)
- Local Foods (Traditional Cuisine, Micro Brews)
- Tailgating Traditions
- Your Experiences or Helpful Hints
- If you saw me let me know!
All commentary will be moderated. Your e-mail address will not be published.
|Brian J Sulak from Cleveland||
Hey Man!! Thanks for the
nice comments about Brownie's Place (cottage on wheels). I am 1 (DJ) of
3 owners, appreciate the article & comments. Keep up the great site.
been telling everyone about. Good luck on your travels.
|Gus Angelone from Cleveland||Hey, if you
wanna check out the latest Superfan gaining much popularity as of late,
check out Pumpkinhead and his crew under the route 2 bridge for every
Browns home game, its one block south of the stadium. feel free to check
us out at facebook.com/pumpkinpatchBB