First Browns Win Since 2016 Drowns Northern Ohio in Bud Light

There are more hangovers in Cleveland than usual this morning after a crazy night of football

click to enlarge Bud Knight guarding a Cleveland beer fridge can't contain his excitement now that he will finally get some time off to spend with his family - PHOTO: @BUDLIGHT
Photo: @budlight
Bud Knight guarding a Cleveland beer fridge can't contain his excitement now that he will finally get some time off to spend with his family

The good news: free beer! The bad news: it’s Bud Light.

That was the scenario in Northern Ohio last night, after Ohio’s other pro football team came from behind to beat the New York Jets, marking the team’s first win in 635 Days.

Long-suffering Browns fans got a good storyline to go with the 21-17 victory. The team’s No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft, Baker Mayfield, replaced injured quarterback Tyrod Taylor late in the first half when Cleveland was down 14-0; after a second-quarter field goal, the Browns scored 18 more points in the second half to clinch a long-awaited victory, giving the hometown fans a much-needed football-related high.

In his first NFL game, Mayfield threw for over 200 yards and even caught a pass — a successful two-point conversion that tied the game in the third quarter. The Browns won the game in thrilling fashion when Cleveland's Terrance Mitchell intercepted a pass from the Jets' quarterback and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown with 11 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

At least for the night, Mayfield attained Bernie Kosar-level legend status and Cleveland was deliriously happy about sports again.

The other big part of the story came as the result of one of the shrewdest marketing ploys in recent memory. After the Browns' winless 2017/2018 season, the geniuses at Budweiser came up with a scheme to give away a few thousand dollars’ worth of product in exchange for millions of dollars in free advertising. Bud Light refrigerators were installed in bars around the city before the season began; when the team won its first game, they would be unlocked and the enclosed beer would be free for all (of legal drinking age; drink responsibly).

The plan worked perfectly. Only 10 fridges were installed (with about 200 beers in each), but every story in the media about the game (plus several based on the promotion, like this one) contained the words “Bud Light.”

The giveaway was also a viral sensation on social media. Even the Cleveland police were one-day Budweiser spokespeople, tweeting at the end of the game, "We WON!!! —-Wait....Oh God. The free beer thing...Ok Cleveland. Stay calm. GO BROWNS!!! @Browns @budlight." (The cops followed up with an Uber plug: "Also drive sober. Or Uber. Or RTA /public transit home to celebrate.)

Mayfield also did some free advertising work for Budweiser, even dropping a Bud catchphrase in the nationally-televised post-game interview. After asking, "Did they open the Bud Light things?," the rookie QB said, "Dilly Dilly to the Cleveland fans."

Scenes from the great "Bud Light Unlocking" of 2018:

Further helping to push last night's game over the top and forever into Brown's lore, a possum got into the stadium just before the start of the game. It was caught and escorted out, but hopefully staff kept him or her — after the game, the critter became the "Browns Rally Opossum" and was hailed as a good luck charm that helped the team win. The possum even has a Twitter account (because of course) and if it will be shocking if it doesn't get a parade and luxury stadium box for life (again, if it survived until the end of the game).

Oh, the stories that await Dawg Pound grandkids for years to come. 

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