Though he had been a Cleveland Browns fan since he was a kid, when the Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens after the 1995 NFL season, John Erzar's loyalties went with them – and so did he.
Erzar went to Baltimore for the first-ever Baltimore Ravens game at Memorial Stadium in September 1996 and watched his Ravens beat the Oakland Raiders.
Though Erzar appreciates the Cleveland Browns' history, he easily transitioned to the Ravens 1996. The team – the players and staff – was essentially the same team as the '95 Browns. After all, it was a team not a town he liked. He has no affinity for the current Browns team, which was created as an expansion team in 1996 to mollify fans outraged over the move.
I hate them, Erzar said of the Browns. Right after the Steelers. I love getting on the fans who stayed with the Browns.
One of Erzar's earliest favorites when he was a Browns fan is Bill Nelsen, the Browns quarterback from 1968 to 1972.
Erzar's all-time favorite Browns player is Greg Pruitt, an All-Pro running back from Oklahoma who had three consecutive 1,000 plus rushing seasons for the Browns from 1976 to 1978.
His earliest memory of a specific game is a disappointing one, a loss to the Minnesota Vikings in the 1970 NFL championship game for a spot in Super Bowl IV.
As a sportswriter for the Times Leader, Erzar knows something about the game of football. He said the Ravens should make a point of hitting the 49ers quarterback when they can, whether he carries the ball or not.
Asked where he will watch the game today, he said, Somewhere where nobody will bother me.
That somewhere is the basement of his home in West Wyoming, where he'll be decked out in purple from head-to-toe (he even has purple sneakers) with his young son, Thaddeus, and his Raven that sits on its perch with a Steelers doll in his claws.
Erzar predicts a 28-10 Ravens win. That losing streak at the end of the season, there were a lot of factors. They are playing excellent now. They're healthy.