CLEVELAND — The last time the Cleveland Browns made the playoffs was 2002. For Browns fans, that’s 17 years of disappointment.
The Browns play the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, in hopes of ending their 17-year postseason drought.
What You Need To Know
- The Cleveland Browns play the Pittsburgh Steelers Jan. 3
- If the Browns win, they'll go to the playoffs, the first time since 2002
- The game is expected to draw a huge number of viewers and that will boost the restaurant and bar business
- This boost is needed after many months of financial disappointment amid the pandemic
Browns fans are known to be loyal no matter what happens, but if the Browns win this game, there’s no better way to kick off 2021 said Aaron Bisheimer, general manager of Town Hall Ohio City in Cleveland.
“This is a big Browns town. I love the Tribe, I love the Cavs, don't get me wrong, but like, fans here love the Browns so much and I really, really can't wait,” said Bisheimer.
For Bisheimer, the game will be a tribute to how loyal Browns fans are. Win or lose, Clevelanders do it together.
“I think a lot of people are going to be out or celebrating and getting ready,” Bisheimer said. “We'll obviously be on pins and needles the entire time, even if we're up like 50 to nothing, it's going to be, we’re going to be nervous, but we'll be okay.”
Chris Tsilianidis is the owner of Happy Moose Bar and Grill in Mentor. A die hard Browns fan himself, he’s not only looking forward to the business this day is expected to bring, but the comradery as well.
“We can only seat who we can seat, but we definitely like, we'll see a whole bunch of to go orders,” said Tsilianidis. “We'll have a lot of people calling in for curbside and to go, so it helps, it helps. And just the morale of everyone in here, you know, everyone's, we're, Brown's fans, everyone's hopeful.”
Amid the pandemic, Tsilianidis said Happy Moose was down about 40 percent in sales in 2020. But big days like this can help 2021 get off to a good start.
“We lost probably, I would say about a third of our seating, so it fills up pretty quick. So that's what makes it tough is that with a game like this, you know, we can only fit the tables that we have. So it's a little frustrating, but what can you do? You know, that's what we have to do, but, we'll definitely be at capacity for the game for sure. We will be. So, yeah, it's exciting,” said Tsilianidis.
In what’s been a whirlwind year, Bisheimer said for Clevelanders, the Browns finally winning some games has been the distraction many needed.
“I think people are just kind of tired of sitting at home, watching the game on TV. And you can't go to the, I mean, what 12,000 fans go to the game right now? And it's been a real bonding thing,” Bisheimer said. “I think for people in Cleveland in 2020 is the Browns. So people coming out, it helps people kind of get along like, ‘Hey, this is all something we can love in 2020.’ Our lives are not great here, here, here, and here, and not going the way we want them to, but ‘Hey, the Browns are winning.’”
A boost in morale, money, and mindset is a positive outlook entering 2021, as the Browns try to make it a memorable year for the right reasons.