Browns fans face Doomsday
Fine. Calm. No problem. Totally cool.
Mike Snow is selling hard that he is all of these "on the outside" as his Cleveland Here We Go Brownies Here We Go! (woof, woof) do their best to survive 10 minutes … an eternity in fourth-quarter football time.
Especially for a Browns fan.
If he is buying the popular Doomsday Prophecy that "it's not over, there's a lot of time left," Snow flat out refuses to let on.
Think he doesn't know that!
How couldn't he• If one of the hundred-plus Pittsburgh Browns Backers who have converted the Oregon Bar and Grille into Cleveland Browns Stadium South has said as much, then all of the hundred-plus have.
Snow knows. He just refuses to consider "that" — a Steelers comeback from this 33-21 deficit with less than 10 minutes remaining in an AFC wild-card playoff game that the Browns have so far owned — is possible.
No way. Not after the disasters Browns fans have suffered over the years, including "The Drive" and "The Fumble," or "the team leaving, all that waiting and that first season."
It's just not possible that any more misery could befall the Cleveland Here We Go Brownies Here We Go! (woof, woof) or their fans. Especially these fans, the always suffering ones who must live in — gasp! — Pittsburgh of all places and gather on Sundays in a North Hills bar.
So Snow insists he's fine. Calm. No problem. Totally cool.
And he's lying though his teeth.
"It shouldn't be this close," he says, matter-of-factly, between chugs from his bottle of Budweiser.
He's right, it shouldn't. But it is, and what he doesn't want to think about is already a topic of conversation among some of the less indignant believers of the Doomsday Prophecy.
As is pointed out perfectly by Larry Webster, "We could lose this game."
Not if there's a God … and Ronda Colapietro assures Webster there is.
Makes sense to him. How else could a native of Median, Ohio, who "moved here 20 years ago," have raised two Browns Boys in Steelers Country?
"I'm pretty proud of that," he boasts as he and those Browns Boys — Neil and Kiel — painfully watch the Steelers march down the field and pull within 33-28 with now less than four minutes remaining.
A Trespasser begins humming the theme to "M*A*S*H*," but this pack of Dawgs is too concerned with what is going down on the big screen — specifically, their team — to care.
Snow tries to remain unfazed, arguing that the Here We Go Brownies Here We Go! (woof, woof) will recover the on-side kick and run out the clock. When confronted with the very real possibility that neither will the Steelers attempt an on-side kick nor the Browns suddenly find a way to run — "they haven't all game," argues Steelers fan Bernie Gulley — out anything, Snow chooses to rise from his stool-like chair and join his leader, Paul Carson, in a chant that could very well serve as the Pittsburgh Browns Backers' plea to the football gods.
That for the first time Gulley and her suddenly brave — that is, if vulgarities are an indication of bravery — compatriots match the collective roar of the Cleveland Clockwork Orange is not, as Snow's face seemingly indicates, a good sign.
And neither is it the only one that points toward the football gods waving Terrible Towels, as "the (blank) Steelers" forcing Cleveland to punt confirms the mostly unspoken suspicion that Doomsday has indeed arrived.
Not Snow, though. No way. Who cares that the speed with which he is rubbing together his hands pretty much predicts what could happen?
It just isn't possible … except that it is.
"Damn!" he lets loose. Steelers 34, Browns 33 … under a minute left. "Don't do this to me."