In addition to his admission that the Browns had a bounty system during Dixon’s days in Cleveland (like every other team), Hanford Dixon played an integral role in developing the Dawg Pound. In his new book, Day of the Dawg, Hanford explains how it all started-
“Think of the QB like he’s a cat, and you’re a dog. The dog needs to catch the cat.”
We lined up for another play.
”He’s the cat, you’re the dog. Don’t let him get away,” I shouted as I retreated to my right cornerback position. Then to help them remember, I let out a few barks. We ran the play, and then before the next play, I let out a few more barks. Pretty soon, it was a matter of routine. It was to let the linemen know they were like dogs, and they were to catch the cat.
Fans regularly attend preseason practice there at Lakeland Community College in Kirtland, Ohio, about a half-hour’s drive east of Cleveland. One of the first things I noticed after my arrival in Cleveland in 1981 was how crazy and obsessive Cleveland Browns fans are. Yes, other teams have very strong and loyal fan bases across the country, but here in Cleveland the fans are just sheer nuts. The Browns dominated the local sports scene. They had dominated the NFL in the 1950s, and because of the many lean years by the Cleveland Indians and, later on, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland was a football city first and foremost.
It didn’t take long for the fans attending practice to start barking as well. We’d line up for a play, I’d let out a few barks and the fans, sometimes thousands in attendance, began barking too. This kept on going and going throughout the couple of weeks that practices were open to the public.