When your fans are literally using their dying wishes to criticize the team, your fan experience could probably use some work. The Cleveland Browns realize that, and they've decided to revamp the way home games go at FirstEnergy Stadium, with an eye on keeping things ... well ... interesting.
They've brought in Kevin Griffin, nephew of Ohio State legend Archie Griffin and most recently in charge of fan development with the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Sounders, each of whom have turned CenturyLink Field into one of the loudest stadiums in their respective leagues. (Yeah, the stadium is designed for it to be that way, but they've also got tons of fan support too.)
ESPN Cleveland lists the changes Griffin is trying to make. Some of his goals are pretty straightforward -- getting rid of a tailgate area ESPN Cleveland author Will Burge indicates wasn't used very often, a fan night, featuring an intra-squad scrimmage, fireworks, and a laser show, a halftime show by the Ohio State band -- get it, Archie Griffin -- and other stuff along those lines. But let's get into the more interesting stuff.
- Player intros. Wait, there are NFL teams that don't enter behind giant plumes of smoke and fire? I sorta thought they all did that.
- A weiner dog race. No, not the sausage races made famous by the Milwaukee Brewers, or even the hot dog races used a mile away from the Browns at the Cleveland Indians stadium. We're talking dachshunds, here. Burge reports the dogs will be released at the 50-yard line and directed by the Browns mascot -- which is a huge dog -- to run towards one of the end zones. He's apparently been doing this at Seahawks games.
Yes! Dogs running! Not greyhounds, which are trained dogs that always look way too thin and have creepy old men gambling on them. I'm talking about family-owned dogs being randomly put in an open field and asked to do something they don't know how to do. I will watch this.
However, this is a massive missed opportunity. I can see the tie-in to hot dog races/wiener dogs, but if you're going to have races between awkwardly long dogs with short stubby legs race and bellies that tend to get fat and scrape against the ground when they get older, there's only one good choice.
YOU COULD'VE HAD CORGI RACES, CLEVELAND.
LOOK AT THEM. THEY'RE BORN TO RACE.
- Updating the music: Griffin is reportedly interested in bringing the music up to "the 21st century." Personally, I hope this just means they're going to play music from 2000-2002 such as "I'm Real" by Jennifer Lopez ft. Ja Rule, and ONLY "I'm Real" by Jennifer Lopez ft. Ja Rule,
But I think he probably means, like, Pitbull. Which, come on. This is CLEVELAND. Home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It's supposed to have the Stones and AC/DC mixing it up during the breaks in action, as well as Cleveland-raised musicians like ... wait, why is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland again?
So this is a good start. I mean, they should also try making the playoffs to get fans excited, but dogs are a real start for the Dawgs.