Mobile Dawg is Dawg-gone mad at Browns bosses

SANDUSKY The Cleveland Browns are known for their fiercely loyal fans. But if you thi
Tom Jackson
May 24, 2010

SANDUSKY

The Cleveland Browns are known for their fiercely loyal fans.

But if you think you're a genuine Browns fanatic, try this quiz to see how you stack up against Browns fan and Perkins Township resident Tony Schaefer:

Q: Do you have any broken bones?

Schaefer once become so upset when the Browns lost after a silly penalty at the end of the game, he slammed his hand into a door, breaking his hand. His hand was in a cast for weeks. An orange cast, of course.

Q: Can your grandchildren earn $1 simply for yelling "Go Browns!"?

Cecily Schaefer, 11, has found the slogan a reliable way to pick up pocket money from her grandpa.

Q: Does it still work?

"Yeah," Cecily affirms.

Q: Do you have your own Web site? If so, does it have a "Steelers Suck" section?

Schaefer has both.

Q: Do you own a bus painted in Browns team colors? Does your bus leave for Cleveland on game day at about 6 a.m., and does your bus squirt water from the bulldog figurine on the hood?

Schaefer can answer yes, yes and yes to those questions.

For good measure, here's one more question -- a very big one:

Q: Have you become nationally famous for leading a fan revolt against your team's hapless management?

Schaefer can answer yes to that, too.

Schaefer, whose Web site is mobiledawg.com, recently got fed up with his favorite team's mounting losses and its hapless performances.

So he and his friend, Mike Randall, also known as "Dog Pound Mike," decided to dramatize their concerns.

Schaefer came up with the idea to have fans arrive late to their seats for one Browns game to demonstrate their unhappiness.

The two men fixed on the Nov. 16 Monday night game against the Baltimore Ravens as the event to make their point.

Their planned event -- both men said they dislike labeling their protest a "protest" -- ignited a media firestorm.

Schaefer's name, invariably misspelled as "Tony Schafer" in news accounts, has been printed in newspapers all over the U.S. Sports talk shows have called, and so have representatives of talk show host David Letterman.

The fuss helped the two men land a Tuesday meeting, which lasted almost two hours, with Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner.

Schaefer said Lerner emphasized how upset he was that the team isn't winning and promised to bring in a strong football man to run the Browns. The Browns didn't explain the firing of the team's general manager, George Kokinis, but hinted that it was tied to a scandal unrelated to football, the two men said.

"It was definitely not football related," said Randall, who posted an account of the meeting at www.dawgpoundmike.com.

The two fans appear to be taken by surprise at how much attention they have received.

"We're in every single paper across the United States," Randall said. "Today I've done five actual interviews."

Schaefer said he is "very surprised" by all of the attention.

He admits that it's kind of fun, but adds, "I'd rather have an 8-8 season."

The two have received a torrent of e-mails, which Schaefer has printed out and organized into various folders.

One particularly thick folder consists of messages of support.

The casual fan who watches the Browns on TV for a few minutes and then goes outside to rake leaves? That's not the kind of fan the two are hearing from.

Kevin Kozieracki wrote, "Mike, I am a season ticket holder. I live in Connecticut and drive the 10 hours each way to attend the games."

"You think I'm a fan? That's a fan," Schaefer said approvingly.

Joe Sexton, the president of the Treasure Coast Browns Backers in Port St. Lucie, Fla., wrote to announce that his club will be walking in late to the Florida tavern where the members gather to watch Browns games.

"We'll be gathering in the parking lot until after the first quarter starts," Sexton promised.

Schaefer, 58, has been a Browns fan for a long time.

"I think my dad took me to my first game when I was 8," he said.

When the infamous former Browns owner, Art Modell, moved the team to Baltimore in 1996, Schaefer took the news hard.

"Man, it made me sick," said Schaefer, vice president of Raymond Schaefer, a building company in Sandusky. "I took a couple of days off work .... I was so upset and sick."

Other Browns fans were content to vent at Modell's decision. Schaefer joined a group of fans who rode buses to a meeting of NFL owners. The Browns eventually came back to Cleveland, but the good times have been slow in returning.

The team went 10-6 two seasons ago, but were 4-12 last year.

This year, the team has won one game. It isn't clear whether they'll win another.

Schaefer worries there's only so much bad news that even a Cleveland Browns fan will take, and that the team's following will finally dwindle. Schaefer attends most Browns road games but has noticed fewer fans rooting for his team.

"There's usually tons and tons of Browns fans wherever you go," he said. "Now, we're about the only ones there."

In the meantime, while they wait for their team to turn around, Schaefer and Randall continue to spend much of their time using their fame to aid charity drives such as Toys for Tots.

"One year, we raised almost $5,000 for cancer research," Randall said. "Anything we can do, we'll do to help out a good cause."