Cleveland Browns: Kevin Stefanski’s fan-related comments make him even more likable

Jan 3, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski during the second half against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 3, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski during the second half against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cleveland Browns won on Sunday sans Kevin Stefanski, as you know

Leading into the Cleveland Browns Wild Card game at the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, it was awful to have thought Kevin Stefanski couldn’t be on the sidelines as head coach.

Stefanski, who has been an invaluable piece in terms of changing the culture, even in his first season, tested positive for COVID-19 this past week on Tuesday.

And as a Browns fan, that, to go with other coaches, such as offensive line coach Bill Callahan, was gut-wrenching leading into the game. Diddo for left guard Joel Bitonio, who tested positive for COVID-19 early last week, too.

On the plus side, Cleveland ended up having a performance us Browns fans will never forget, and came out victorious, 48-37. The Browns jumped out to a 28-0 lead, which was the first/only time that’s happened in the first quarter in NFL history.

The Orange and Brown would still have their share of pass defense woes, as Ben Roethlisberger, garbage production some or not, did have 501 yards, and set an NFL record for completions in a postseason game with 47 on 68 attempts (also a postseason record), via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. He had four passing touchdowns as well.

Albeit with Denzel Ward (COVID-19) out, and Kevin Johnson (also COVID-19), for instance, to go with the circumstances/big lead, it wasn’t the end of the world, and the Browns did get four interceptions.

Anyway, swinging back to Stefanski/his absence, though, his comments about his experience watching the game in his basement just makes him all the more likable.

Stefanski’s comments about that resonate with us Browns fans

Stefanski watched the Browns game in his basement, and clearly had a re-affirmed appreciation for fans. He touched on that in recent virtual media availability, and a few quotes jumped out from that, and these were transcribed by Anthony Polsal of

We’ll get into that soon here. Stefanski was watching in his basement with his phone off, and given his positive COVID-19 test, was away from his family, which was upstairs.

Anyhow, this first one made him, again, even more likable, from my perspective, via Polsal from Monday.

"“I don’t plan on doing that again,” Stefanski said with a slight smile Monday. He could say it with a hint of happiness after the Browns defeated the Steelers, 48-37, to advance to the AFC Divisional Round and extend Stefanski’s first season with the Browns at least one more week.“It’s a strange feeling. I just turned into a fan of the team and pumped for our guys like crazy. It’s a very unique feeling not to be there with them. There was a ton of nervous energy that doesn’t usually exist on a sideline for whatever reason, but it existed for me last night.” — Stefanski via Polsal,"

It was truly something else that Stefanski was tuning in just like most of the rest of us. He seemingly went through the rollercoaster ride us Browns have gone through for what’s felt like an eternity, and in Cleveland’s first postseason game in 18 seasons, mind you.

Fortunately, offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt called a whale of a game, and Stefanski likely had his imprints all over for the team, one would think, with how the Browns remained poised in crucial times.

Cleveland would have a few big plays — a 40-yard touchdown scamper after a screen pass delivery from Nick Chubb, who had a career-high 69 yards receiving in that one, and Chubb and Kareem Hunt both combined for 26 rushes for 124 yards. Hunt had two rushing TD’s, too.

And Baker Mayfield was 21-of-34 for 263 yards, and had three passing TD’s, and remarkably, was not sacked, nor hit.

Moreover, after the Browns finished off their first postseason W since New Years Day in 1995, it was cool to learn about the experience Stefanski had as well. Stefanski, as Polsal hit on, noted that Stefanski had a FaceTime call with Jarvis Landry initially, and then pass game coordinator and wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea, too, and while it was “drowned out” a bit due to celebration, it was meaningful for that moment to be shared.

Lastly, although he forgot to go back to live-action at some point pre-kickoff, and needed to pause briefly, Stefanski had a feeling something big happened right away because of his family cheering upstairs. This was because of a Steelers’ botched snap that Cleveland snatched up on the first play from scrimmage for six in their end zone, as Polsal alluded to.

Stefanski was a bit behind, again, but his family brought foreshadowing, essentially, as the Browns head coach demonstrated, via Polsal.

"“My kids were going crazy upstairs,” he said. “I had an inkling something good was going to happen on that first play.”"

Anyhow, it’s obviously a plus that Stefanski is reportedly set to be on the sidelines on Sunday in Cleveland’s divisional matchup at the juggernaut Kansas City Chiefs, as DPD’s Nick Pedone alluded to. But him showing such appreciation for the Browns fan experience/the stress that comes with watching Browns games in that way makes him all the more likable.

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We’ll see if Mayfield, Chubb, Myles Garrett, hopefully, Ward, Stefanski, and company keep the train moving, albeit Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and the Chiefs will be such a ridiculously tough opponent, as we all know. Maybe the Browns can shock the world again, though.