On this website, we regularly profile legendary Browns players. This time we honour the legend of the Dawg Pound.
The Dawg Pound is the name for the bleacher section behind the East end zone at what is today called Cleveland Browns Stadium. But most important, it houses the very best and the most zealous fans in professional football.
The history of the name goes as follows. At the start of the 1985 training camp, Browns cornerback Hanford Dixon gave his defensive unit the name "Dawgs". Dixon and his fellow cornerback, Frank Minnifield, started the idea of the dog-cat relationship which eventually spun into the Dawg Pound. The concept was that the quarterback was the cat while the Browns defense, specifically the defensive line, was the dog. The plan was that whenever the defense would make a big play such as a sack, the defensive linemen and the linebackers would bark. As this progressed through training camp, Browns fans who were in attendance started to bark in the stands along with the defensive players. Before the first preseason game in 1985 at the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium, Dixon and Minnifield put up a "Dawg Pound" banner in front of the bleachers. The bleacher seats were the cheapest in the Stadium, and those fans were already known as being the most unruly in Cleveland. The rest is history - the fans in the bleachers started wearing dog masks and other attire to make the Dawg Pound what it is today.
Browns fans are the best in the nation, and Dawg Pound fans have developed a unique place in pro football in terms of a reputation for intensity. Team officials have had to ban the taking of dog food into the stadium to avoid opposing teams from being peppered with milk bones and other items of canine consumption. The alcohol tends to flow pretty well in the Pound.
The Dawg Pound has been at the center of some famous moments in Cleveland Browns history. For example, in the fourth quarter of a 1989 home game against the rival Denver Broncos, the Dawg Pound showered the Broncos with batteries and other objects to the degree that the officials forced the teams to switch sides. That switch gave the Browns the wind at their backs and helped them win the game on a field goal that just barely cleared the bar. In 1995, at the final game at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, the Dawg Pound fans ripped the bleachers from the stands and threw them onto the field.
The Dawg Pound is largely responsible for making our Team chant so well known throughout the league: "Here we go, Brownies, Here we go! Woof woof!"
The new Cleveland Browns Stadium kept the Dawg Pound at the East end and kept all of the seats bleacher-style. The only major difference is that the new Pound has two decks.
The Dawg Pound is so famous that the Browns have trade-marked its logo. The logo was created by the NFL and is the only official logo created for any NFL fan base.
In 2001, the new Stadium proved that the Dawg Pound was alive and well. The Browns were driving towards the Pound to win the game late in the fourth quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars. A controversial call by the officials gave the ball to the Jags and ended the potential winning drive. Dawg Pound fans started throwing plastic bottles and other debris onto the field and at the officials. The head referee called the game early and sent the teams to the showers. Commissioner Tagliabue then intervened and demanded that the players be sent back onto the field to finish the last several seconds of the fourth quarter. The Dawg Pound fans continued to hurl items onto the field, but the game was completed.
Dawg Pound tickets are still relatively inexpensive. Some famous persons like Hank Aaron have sat in the Pound over the years. But perhaps our most famous Dawg Pound fan is John Big Dawg Thompson shown in the photo sporting his #98 jersey.
There is nothing like the Dawg Pound in professional football. And there are no fans like Browns fans.
Devo's Cleveland Browns