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Browns nominate Daniel Haas for the NFL's 2023 International Fan of the Year

Haas earned a trip to the 2024 NFL Draft 

International Fan of Year

Daniel Haas' only Christmas wish in 2023 was to watch the Browns play the Texans on Christmas Eve.

Yet, a German tradition is to celebrate Christmas festivities on Christmas Eve. So, his family wavered from their normal tradition to watch the Browns play on Dec. 24, and he received his Christmas wish – witnessing the Browns beat the Texans in Week 16.

Haas first became a Browns fan when he was an exchange student in the spring of 1995 and 1996 in Cleveland. He didn't get a chance to see them play in Cleveland, as the team left for Baltimore for the 1996 NFL season, but he learned the rules of the game and began to watch with his host family. As he understood the game, he developed his interest in football and solidified his fandom in the Browns.

"Why I love the Browns, Cleveland was the first place I've been to in the States," Haas said. "I fell in love with the city and all the sports, but football is much more important to me."

As Haas shared his story about his Browns' fandom, he received an unexpected visitor, Hall of Famer Joe Thomas, on the screen over Zoom. Thomas greeted Haas and had a simple message for him, congratulating Haas as the Browns' nominee for the NFL's International Fan of the Year.

"I wanted to let you know that you're not just a finalist or NFL Fan of the Year, you are the winner for the Cleveland Browns International Fan of the Year," Thomas said. "Congratulations. It's pretty obvious to tell that you have a true and deep passion and that you bleed the Cleveland Browns, orange and brown – even back in Germany. It's so cool to hear your story. It's so cool to hear how you're evangelizing the Cleveland Browns throughout Germany."

Haas was speechless at the news. As he took a moment to process that he was named the winner for the Browns, a smile spread across his face.

As the Browns' 2023 nominee for the NFL's International Fan of the Year, Haas and one guest will travel to Detroit for the 2024 NFL Draft in April.

"Yeah, I'm super excited," Haas said. "I have the draft on my calendar already because obviously watching it every year, but it's so cool to be to be there in Detroit to see it live."

Haas said his affinity for the Browns grew following his time as an exchange student. Over the last four years, Haas said he has watched every Browns game on TV – even with the six-hour time difference between Cleveland and Germany. For the later Sunday night games, Haas said he would go to sleep for a few hours and set an alarm for about 2 a.m. to wake up and watch the game before he goes back to sleep for a little while before he has to go to work.

He's shared his love of the Browns with his daughter, who will watch games with him on Sundays throughout the season.

"It was never a thing of winning or losing, I was always a fan," Haas said. "Now that I understand the game, I'm getting more and more fanatic about it even more in the last years. So that led to not missing out on any minute of it."

Haas also attended the NFL's International Game between the Patriots and Colts on Nov. 12 at Frankfurt Stadium to experience an NFL game in person. Yet, he still found a way to represent the Browns through his gear. He also still did not miss the Browns' game that day, as he watched the first quarter of the game on his phone on the train ride back to his hometown.

Even with over 4,000 miles between Mainz, Germany, and Cleveland, Ohio, Haas' fandom of the Browns hasn't changed. Haas has witnessed football growing as an international sport and becoming more popular over in countries like Germany. When he wears Browns gear to work or when he is out in his hometown, he's received compliments on his gear and recognition of the Browns' logo. Now, he'll have the opportunity to represent the Browns and showcase his fandom in another manner in April.

"I'm really proud and honored to be the International Fan of the Year for the Cleveland Browns," Haas said.

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