Hat tip to Randy Dimitroff for alerting me to this article. Dave Johnson, an early 1980s Gryphon offensive lineman, is a Burlington resident and a Cleveland Browns season ticket holder.
Why these Canadian fans go the extra mile to show their loyalty to the Cleveland Browns: Browns Battleground
CLEVELAND, Ohio – Canadian citizen Kevin Neufeld was never more “proud to be an American,” than on a warm autumn evening six years ago at FirstEnergy Stadium.
The police officer and his friend Dave Johnson had made the trek from Burlington, Ontario, to watch their Browns dismantle the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants, 35-14, in a nationally televised Monday night game.
As is tradition, the patriotic Lee Greenwood song filled the venue to salute America’s armed service at the end of the first quarter. Neufeld respectfully removed his cap, placed his right hand across his heart and before he knew it found himself splashed across the stadium scoreboard.
“My buddy gives me the old elbow and says, ‘Look up at that screen,’ ” Neufeld recalled. “There were a couple of Canucks with (‘God Bless the USA’) on. It was kind of a highlight.”
Johnson and Neufeld don’t share the same nationality as the majority of Browns fans, but nobody who’s seen them around the stadium or in the Muni Lots would question their allegiance. They are among the Browns supporters in it for the long haul – in their case 5 1/2 hours one way from the Greater Toronto Area.
Neufeld has come aboard during the worst six-year stretch in franchise history. At a time when poor football and great television technology make it easy for fans to stay home, his group of Canadian friends enjoys nothing more than a weekend in Cleveland rooting for the Browns.
… Johnson played football at the University of Guelph (Ontario) under coach Tom Dimitroff, who later served as a Browns scout. His son, Thomas Dimitroff, worked for Belichick in Cleveland and New England before becoming the Atlanta Falcons’ general manager….
Read the full story: In it for the long haul