Cleveland Browns: Top 10 Best Pop Culture Moments

Mike Hoag@MikeHoagJrCorrespondent IIAugust 7, 2011

Cleveland Browns: Top 10 Best Pop Culture Moments

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    The Cleveland Browns are a storied NFL franchise most known for their stunning lack of success since the mid-1960's.  Despite this, there have been many significant contributions of the Browns to American popular culture.

    As one of the oldest NFL franchises and a team that has endured so much defeat and hardship, including many plays so devastating they have earned universally termed names such as, "The Drive", "The Fumble" and "Red Right 88," it is not surprising that the Browns have been mentioned repeatedly in pop culture.  This is also especially true due to the extremely passionate and spread out Browns fanbase that covers most of the United States and parts of Europe.

    The Browns may not overtly compete with the Cleveland Indians and the movie series "Major League," but the following slides will depict a strong presence within television, music and movies over the history of the franchise.

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Honorable Mention 1

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    Honorable Mention No. 1:

    A State Farm commercial in which LeBron James elects to play for the Cleveland Browns during a press conference.

    I KNOW...I KNOW...I KNOW. Before you stone me, hear me out.

    At the time, this commercial was epic and talked about a lot by Cleveland fans.  Had things gone differently with "The Decision," this would have easily been in the top 10 list that follows.

Honorable Mention 2

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    Honorable Mention No. 2:

    Cleveland fan's rendition of the popular hit song "Escape" by Rupert Holmes (aka "If you like pina coladas").

    I'm not sure how widespread this song reaches.  However, I am sure that it is hilarious!


10. Bosom Buddies

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    0:50 of the above clip is the Cleveland Browns reference.

    Tom Hanks stars as Kip Wilson alongside roommate Peter Scolari as Henry Desmond.  The show involves several Cleveland Browns references, and Scolari's character Henry, as seen in he clip, proclaims the Cleveland Browns are his favorite football team.

9. Family Guy Character

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    Cleveland Brown started as character on the hit TV show Family Guy.  Since, the character has starred in his own show titled "The Cleveland Brown Show."

    Interesting and little known fact: Cleveland Brown was conceived during the seventh inning stretch of a Cleveland Indians baseball game. 

8. I Am Number Four

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    The 2011 hit movie "I Am Number Four" stars a character named Bernie Kosar after the beloved 1980's and early 90's Cleveland Browns quarterback.

    Main character John Smith finds a dog and names it Bernie Kosar.  This dog is not just any dog, but a shape-shifting being from Smith's homeplanet of Lorien.

    I'm not going to go any more into detail on the movie plot; it only gets weirder from there.

    Additionally, for good measure, a Bernie Kosar poster hangs on John's wall.

7. The Express: The Ernie Davis Story

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    One of the most touching stories about Ernie Davis, the first African-American football player to receive the NCAA's highest award: the Heisman Tropy.

    This movie portrays the life and struggle of Ernie Davis and his relationship with Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown until his eventual professional career.  Davis is drafted first overall in the 1962 draft as the first African-American football player to be selected first in the NFL draft.  He is selected to join mentor Jim Brown and create the most feared running back tandem in the history of the game.

    All of that never materialized, though, as Davis contracted leukemia before he every played a down for the Browns.

    His number, 45, was retired by the Browns organization following his death in 1963.

6. Bernie, Bernie!

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    Bernie, Bernie, how you can throw!

    The hit rendition of Richard Berry's "Louie Louie," affectionately known by Cleveland fans as "Bernie Bernie," is a testament for the love Cleveland fans had for Kosar during his AFC championship runs of the mid-80's.

    It is not far-fetched to say Kosar is Cleveland fans' most beloved player in Browns franchise history. 

5. Drew Carey

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    Due to the poster of this clip disabling the embedding of the clip, it has to be viewed from YouTube.  The clip can be viewed here:

    The Drew Carey Show is the ultimate pop culture display of all things Cleveland.  Five years ago, any time I would meet someone new from a different place and told them I was originally from Cleveland, they instantly saw the show in their minds and brought it up in conversation.

    Although there are many Browns and Cleveland sports references during the show's existence, this clip clearly tops them all.

    Watch to see Drew Carey stop John Elway and the Broncos during the 1987 AFC Championship Game "Drive."

4. The Fortune Cookie

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    The Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon combination was dynamite in this movie about a cameraman injured during a Cleveland Browns football game.  The story continues as the cameraman (Jack Lemmon) is goaded by his lawyer (Walther Matthau) to exaggerate his injuries and try to obtain a very large settlement from the Cleveland Browns and stadium for his injuries.

3. Hot Tub Time Machine

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    Despite a couple inaccuracies of the game itself, the movie Hot Tub Time Machine brings comedy and relief to Cleveland Browns and football fans in general.

    During the famous 1987 "Drive" in which John Elway lead his team from behind with the clock winding down, a squirrel that traveled back in time with the main characters, runs out on the field and causes Mark Jackson to drop a pass, and the famous drive subsequently "Drive" fails.

    Thus, the Cleveland Browns win and go to the Super Bowl!  (We wish!)

2. Arsenio Hall

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    Arsenio Hall, a Cleveland, Ohio native, used several Cleveland Browns references in his hit TV show, "The Aresnio Hall Show."

    To begin each show, Hall ridiculed a specific section of the crowd to which he titled, "the dog pound."

    More significantly, Hall and his audience adapted a fist pump and "roof roof roof" chant that caught on in pop-culture for many years.

1. Peyton Hillis: Madden NFL 2012

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    The biggest pop-culture appearance by the Cleveland Browns is consequently the most recent.  Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis had a breakout season in 2010 and is the cover athlete for the Madden NFL 20120 video game.  

    Hillis beat out super bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers and resurgent comeback player of the year Michael Vick in a highly publicized public vote.  Hillis gained the support of the passionate Browns fanbase in an internet campaign in which Hillis gathered an almost cult-like following leading up to the final vote.


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