Ask Jason Brown about some of his biggest Browns memories, and he'll promptly take you to the ground. Twice.
For the very beginning, Brown remembers his father's bedroom floor in Valley View. That's where he'd be every Sunday the Browns played, watching his childhood hero Brian Sipe and later the unforgettable teams of the mid-1980s rattle off some of the most memorable wins in team history.
"I'd lay on the floor and he'd lay on the bed because that was the one bedroom that had air conditioning," Brown said. "He's yelling at the TV and I'm yelling at the TV and he tells me I'm getting too loud."
Decades later, Brown was yelling again.
It was 2013, and the Browns were on their way to a win over the Bengals that would move them to 2-2 in the young season. Buster Skrine had just picked off Andy Dalton, and Brown was going wild alongside his FirstEnergy Stadium family in Section 112, where he'd watched games as a regular attendee dating back to the franchise's return in 1999. That excitement turned into palpable nervousness when a fan in front of him collapsed and fell to the ground. His son Preston, just 7 years old at the time, was the first to spot him, and Brown sprang into action.
Brown, a longtime physician's assistant at University Hospitals, perched himself on the ground between the rows of seats and initiated CPR. After a few moments, some life returned into the stranger's body and paramedics were on the scene. The man was stable thanks to Brown before he was wheeled away and taken to a nearby hospital.
Brown found out the next day the man had survived and was going to be OK.
"You could see color coming back into the guy, and you typically don't see that, but you could actually see what CPR does," Brown said. "For my son to see me do that and everyone else, like, that's what I do for a living … for him to see me do something like that, that's a great thing."
Brown, with a fitting last name to boot, is the Browns' nominee for the NFL's Fan of the Year award. The NFL collected nearly 35,000 submissions from fans vying for the chance to represent their team as a nominee. The contest will seek to identify one winner among the final 32 nominees to be named the ultimate NFL Fan of the Year at NFL Honors in February 2022.
Brown, soft-spoken and self-deprecating in his everyday conversations, transforms on Sundays and embodies why the Browns have one of the best fanbases in professional sports.
"I'm pretty passionate, so I get loud and my wife and daughter always tell me to calm down before I have a heart attack," Brown said. "Everyone says you're nuts. It's the Browns, and we've had lots of ups and downs. Right now, it's an incredible ride to watch how good we are and the depth we have. Even with injuries and everything, we're not out of anything at this moment."
Brown — who resides in Mayfield Heights with his wife, Kim, daughter, Payton, and son, Preston — is similarly passionate about his professional and family life.
A University Hospitals employee since 2006, Brown has worked as the Lead physician's assistant for the Division of Thoracic and Esophageal Surgery at UHCMC since May 2017. Like everyone in his line of work, Brown was thrust onto the frontlines when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020.
Brown's role was a vital one. He helped lead the implementation of the hospital system's use of the Masimo Home Vital Sign monitoring system. With beds and space at a premium, the monitoring system helped keep patients out of the hospital who didn't necessarily need to be there. If a patient's vital signs became unstable, the system would allow UH to respond quickly and deliver the best possible care to those who needed it most.
The days were long, and the nights were, too, during the toughest moments of the pandemic. Seeing the Browns on Sunday provided a few hours of relief Brown was able to cherish with his family.
"You go through that time frame where you're not thinking about anything other than watching the Browns," Brown said. "That excitement just takes away everything. It puts a pause on your life and brings joy back into it. Winning, losing — I mean, right now, we're winning, so it's even more fun — but it's a complete mind-changing experience because your focus is on watching the Browns play more than anything else at that moment."
Brown, of course, has been focused on the Browns from the very start. The franchise's best — and worst — memories have been intertwined with every stage of his life.
Now, Brown is playing the role of the father on the bed while his two children are the ones on the proverbial floor — the next generation of Browns fans being raised by one of the team's most passionate supporters.
"It's incredible to watch with my son, and the last couple years, my daughter has gotten older and getting her into has been even more rewarding because she gets so excited now," Brown said. "Every birthday party, and everything else is planned around us going to the Browns game. Luckily, my wife supports me in that. We don't miss."