This weekend the Plain Dealer’s Jodie Valade reported that Mike Holmgren had plans for more than just the players on the field. Holmgren wants to see the entire gameday experience change. Obviously that starts with putting a winning product on the field, but it also means creating a winning environment around the stadium as well.
In the Mike Holmgren Era, which officially began this weekend with the opening of Browns training camp, fans will be enthusiastic and supportive. Not aggressive or obscene. Not spilling beers or vehemently taunting opposing fans. Not being obnoxious or offensive.
You should read the entire piece. Holmgren was “overwhelmed” with stories from fans who would not purchase tickets anymore because of the behavior of the fans around them. He decided to take a stand and is asking fans to consider their behavior while at the games. He sees no reason that a man shouldn’t be able to bring his family to a game without having to worry about what words his kids might hear for the first time, or that they may witness an assault in the stands or walking to the gate.
I for one am standing and applauding you Mr. Holmgren. There is no way on earth I would ever take my daughter and wife to a Browns football game right now. And that is really a sad reflection on Cleveland.
I know how popular this stance is going to be around the stadium. (Holmgren’s obviously, not mine.) I know that fans are going to shout and curse Holmgren for trying to rob them of their “rights”. What I don’t understand is why anyone should think that they have a right to do things at a Browns game that they can’t do anywhere else? And as Holmgren pointed out, they actually aren’t making any ‘new rules’ they are just going to start enforcing the ones already in place.
I went to a game with a friend who had the entire backside of his jacket burned with cigarette holes because they thought the silver coat meant he was a Seahawks fan. The coat had no NFL markings on it at all. The guy really wasn’t even a football fan, he just wanted to go to a game. And the Browns weren’t even playing Seattle. But this story comes as no surprise to those that attend the games regularly.
Beer is thrown. Obscenities flow. This is not acceptable behavior anywhere in public, but for some reason Browns fans have a ‘right’ to act like zoo animals without keepers? What about the rights of the fans who don’t engage in that behavior? Yes. there is now a 4 foot square section called the family zone in the corner of the upper deck. Gee thanks. Perhaps there should be a caged section at one end of the stadium where those that want to behave like criminals can sit instead.
I hope that Mike Holmgren is able to change the culture surrounding the Browns. I hope that he is able to turn the team around and provide a winning product on the field. I also hope that someday Cleveland Browns Stadium isn’t an embarrassment of fan behavior. Perhaps that day I can take my family to a live game.