TOLEDO, Ohio — Football is back and fans are ready to enjoy it together again since the pandemic limited gatherings in 2020.
Ye Olde Cock N' Bull in downtown Toledo is once again an official Browns Backer fan bar. And the local chapter, Backers on the Bay, is expecting a successful season for the Browns and for the community.
Cheers and applause filled the room again at the bar as Browns fans turned out to watch the season opener on Sunday. After making the playoffs for the first time in almost 20 years, fans have high hopes.
"Very excited for this season," said Backers president Zach Nowaczyk. "First time in a long time that everything seems to be coming together."
Sarah Mettler is co-owner of Ye Olde Cock Bull and is happy to welcome fans back.
"Last year was our first year being the official Browns Backer Bar," she said. "So we're hoping that's good luck and we're sticking with it. And fingers crossed for this year."
She stressed it was hard to attract people last year with COVID restrictions.
"We could only fit so many people in here and you're trying to spread the word about Browns Backer bar and come on in," she added. "So this year, it's exciting to know we can fit more people. We can maybe do more stuff outside. We have a speaker set up on our patio now."
Watching the game at the bar once again looks normal. But enjoying the games isn't the only thing the Backers do.
Browns Backer Worldwide is dedicated to helping local communities. Each week, they offer giveaways and raffles.
"We raise funds, raise money to help out in our community through various charitable organizations," said Nowaczyk.
"Our main focus is autism," Mettler noted. "So last year we donated to Project I Am, who does the Acoustics for Autism every year in Maumee."
After a year away, everyone agrees, the games are best when watched together.
"You know when things are going good, the vibe can't be beat," said Nowaczyk.
And poised for another playoff run, fans believe this could be their year.