Browns fans gather, deal with frustration after playoff loss

Jan. 13—Browns fans gathered at bars Saturday afternoon for the team's American Football Conference wild card game against the Houston TexansCleveland's first appearance in the NFL playoffs since 2020.

In the end, they comforted one another as the Browns fell apart in the second- half loss 45-14 in Houston to end the season.

Ron Detore, one of the owners of the Crow's Nest in Ashtabula, said the Browns needed at least one playoff win to bring the intensity back to the glory days of the Kardiac Kids in 1980 or the Bernie Kosar-led Browns of the late 1980s.

"We were doing better awhile ago," Detore said after the first of two third-quarter interceptions by Browns quarterback Joe Flacco was returned for a touchdown.

Browns fans packed the bar area to cheer their team, but expressed frustration at the interceptions.

Detore had hope that the Browns could come back from the deficit, but also described the old mantra for Northeastern Ohio.

"We're from Cleveland," he said of the region's fear that if something can go wrong, it will.

The 440 Browns Backers packed the Corner Bar in Austinburg on Saturday, as they do for every game.

Jarrod Woodard, president of the group, said members have gathered for the last three years and this year became an official affiliate of the Browns Backers Worldwide.

"I am proud of that," he said.

There are almost 200 Browns Backers groups in the United States and chapters in New Zealand, the Middle East and throughout Europe.

Trevor Traven, of Austinburg, cheered loudly for the Browns, and comes by his passionate fandom naturally.

"I was raised a Browns fan. I was at 'Bottlegate' ... and I'd rather be here with these people than at the game," he said.

Matt Peet, an avid football fan and coach at Geneva High School, got his family together and headed to Chops

in Harpersfield.

"I think this team is a lot stronger than in 2020. The defense is better," he said while the Browns were hanging tough early in the game.

He also said football fans have interesting relationships with star players.

"We love Joe Flacco," Peet said before the interceptions. "The man we hated and now we love."

Flacco has spent the majority of his NFL career with the Baltimore Ravens.

Rob Simpson, of Jefferson, said he was at Chops because of the sports entertainment options.

"I am here because of all the TVs and the ribs," he said.

David Rihn, of Sheffield, had less skin in the game, but was enjoying good food and fellowship.

"I am a Steelers fan so I don't care," he said of the Browns game.

Rihn was also excited that he can now see the Steelers playoff game that was moved from Sunday to today because of bad weather in Buffalo.

Rihn said he had another commitment on Sunday so the change was positive for him.