There is a palpable irony to having a stadium branded with “FirstEnergy” be barren by the start of the fourth quarter in what is billed as a “rivalry” contest. With wind chill measures in the lowest of double figures and a Cleveland Browns point total stuck at the lowest of offensively-derived possibilities, the death march out of the venue began earlier than any game in recent memory. This wasn’t a stadium-wide attempt at beating traffic. Those who decided to not let their previously purchased tickets become a sunk cost were not in some hurry to get home in time for the four o’clock kickoffs 1 . This was a fan base who had been punched in the face by apathy, walking out on their team at halftime. A cursory look at the scoreboard would signal that the game was well in reach; an extended look at the field of play dictated otherwise.
- Though given the product they paid to see, seeing actual football being played, for free, doesn’t sound half bad. [back]