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"If they're there, I've got to be there': Browns fans braving dangerous cold to see team play on Christmas Eve

Browns fan Jason Kapcar
Posted at 5:33 PM, Dec 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-23 18:48:46-05

CLEVELAND — When Jason Kapcar learned the weather was going to be brutally and dangerously cold on Saturday, it didn't change a thing for his plans for the Browns-Saints game at FirstEnergy Stadium—aside from his wardrobe.

"I didn't think about it at all. It didn't really affect my plans in any way, just I kind of sort of knew in the back of my head that I would have to dress slightly warmer," Kapcar said. This is gonna be about what I'm wearing....A sweater and the hockey sweater and a heated vest. There's a heated vest under this."

Kapcar, layered up, had a practice run on Friday to prepare for the frigid temperatures and gusty winds, putting on his gear and taking in the cold weather outside with his husky, Rollo.

The reasoning to attend despite the arctic atmosphere?

"We're sort of like the Whos down in Whoville, their Christmas came without the boxes, ribbons or tags. We're doing it without Super Bowls, division titles or wins. So you just sort of show up," Kapcar said.

Fans have been showing up in the elements for decades. From the Jan. 4, 1981 playoff game against the Oakland Raiders that saw a wind chill of -13 better known as Red Right 88, to the most recent bitterly cold matchup on Dec. 17, 1989 when the Browns took on the Vikings with a wind chill of -13, the franchise has experienced their share of frigid football.

But with wind chills as low as -20 and wind gusts up to 40 mph, Saturday's game will test Kapcar's endurance and the endurance of every other fan planning to go. Still, that won't change the routine for many.

"Usually wake up on a game day around—and I will do this tomorrow—I'll wake up around 7 a.m. and I'll make the breakfast of champions, that way you get a base layer down in order to enjoy the rest of the day," Kapcar said. "I'll get my husky and have a mush me down to the stadium because I'm not sure how the roads will be."

After a few beverages, he and his Browns buddies will head to their tailgate, feasting on some hot soup to keep warm before heading into the game. All in all, it seems as though many refuse to change their game day rituals.

But dressing in layers and arriving prepared is the most important thing for all fans.

"Be smart about it, understand the conditions you're going into and the things that you have to endure. So make sure that you're warm, you're dry and whatever it is you have to be safe in order to have fun," Kapcar said.

Even though there will be dangerously cold temperatures and extreme winds, fans are tied to this team. They love their Browns and even if it is a December game in a season with a less than 1% for a playoff appearance—they're going to show up for them.

"If they're playing the game then that means you get there. So I mean, if they're there, I've got to be there," Kapcar said.

And while the Browns prepare for their brutally cold matchup, they've also taken time to appreciate the fans like Kapcar who will be inside FirstEnergy Stadium on Christmas Eve, wearing their warmest orange and brown items and cheering through the icy air.

"That just shows you how much they love Cleveland football. That's just real loyal fans. We're loyal to them, they're loyal fans to us. They're the support system," said Browns defensive end Alex Wright. "So without Cleveland fans, there wouldn't be Cleveland football."

Camryn Justice is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.

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