The Browns are building momentum. At 5-7-1, they still have a slim chance of making the playoffs. And, while that’s unlikely this season, rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield is giving fans reason to believe. But, Mayfield had a message to fans after Sunday’s win over the Carolina Panthers: Show up to the last home game against the Bengals in two weeks.
WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says it’s hard for fans to relate to that sentiment, because Mayfield wasn’t around when the team went 1-31 with just one playoff berth since the team returned in 1999.
But, Pluto says his perspective is also refreshing. “His message to the fans is like, this is starting to get fun. And his other message is, we need you. It’s not the same old Browns.”
A different perspective
Pluto says Mayfield is coming from a perspective of someone who was always considered an underdog and worked to get to the top.
“He was lightly recruited out of high school, walked on at Texas Tech and started as a freshman. Then he transferred to Oklahoma. He didn’t get a scholarship, walks on and starts. He’s thinking, ‘I’ve had a lot of people my whole life tell me, you’re barely six-foot, you won’t be able to play at Texas Tech and you’re out of your mind to transfer to Oklahoma.’”
Then, he led Oklahoma to a 36-6 record, including 16-2 at home. “They were ranked in the top 5 most of the time. He played for an average of 86,000 fans. He won the Heisman trophy. He became the first pick in the NFL draft.”
“So, he came to the Browns from the beginning telling people he was the guy that could turn it around.”
And, Pluto says Mayfield is backing up those words.
“Right now the fans are so excited to see a quarterback who can throw a ball to his teammates rather than the other team. I promised myself I wouldn’t do it. But I’m breaking the Bernie rule. I haven’t seen a quarterback this good since Bernie Kosar.”
“At home they’re 4-2-1. They have a good shot to beat the Bengals in the last home game, and I expect fans will show up.”