You can’t play football, because you are a girl. You can’t talk about football, because you are a girl. Don’t even think about being a writer about football, because you are a girl. Yea, well, look at me now.
So, because I am stubborn and I don’t follow directions very well, I decided that my first female fan interview was going to be one of the special ones. Not only is she smart, she knows her football, and she also talks about it on her podcast “That’s What B Said”. I always personally felt like I was the odd man out because I was a girl that knew her football. She is a diehard, bleeds brown and orange, female Browns fan that doesn’t know how to let the possibility of a championship season die. So sit back, relax and get to know a fellow Browns fan @BurdsIVue AKA: Brittany Mollis.
What made you want to be a journalist?
When I was in college, I subscribed to ESPN the Magazine. There was one specific article that made me fall in love with journalism. It was a personal article about Terrell Owens. It completely changed not only how I view athletes, but also how I view people, in general. We all have reasons for being exactly who we are. We all have chapters in our lives we don’t like to talk about. We’ve all been misunderstood. Our most important job, as people, is trying to understand each other. Lack of understanding leads to lack of empathy, and then we just turn to anger and hatred.
I wanted to be a journalist because I wanted to tell stories like the T.O. story—I wanted to tell stories that would help people understand each other.
Many of us were born into this fandom. What made you a Browns fan?
I wasn’t always a Browns fan! Shocking, I know. But when I started watching professional football, the Browns weren’t back in the league yet, so I was a Redskins fan. Lavar Arrington, Clinton Portis, Steve Spurrier, Joe Gibbs—I loved them.
I didn’t become a Browns fan until 2007. The moment they traded up in the 1st round to grab Brady Quinn, I was all in. I was already a fan of the other two Cleveland teams, so it just made sense.
What is your favorite memory as a kid watching the Browns play?
I didn’t pay attention to them as a little kid, and let’s be honest, since 1999, there hasn’t been a lot to be excited about. But I used to love watching Josh Cribbs and Braylon Edwards—specifically Cribbs. He was such an exciting player.
I noticed that you once posted a Roger Clemens video when he was pitching to Cabrera, what is your favorite thing about that match up?
Oh my gosh, I’m so glad you asked this! I share this clip every time I see it on social media!
I always loved the intimacy of baseball. It was the World Series, and millions of people were watching, but at that moment, the entire focus was only on two people—an all-time great pitcher and a 20-year old rookie. Clemens backed him off the plate with his first pitch, and Cabrera stared at him with confidence you wouldn’t expect from someone so young going against someone so good.
It was a long sequence, he got Cabrera down in the count. But this young rookie would not quit—he battled his way back and eventually made Clemens pay by blasting one to right field. Everything about that clip emphasizes what made baseball so magical. I still get goosebumps when I watch it today.
Besides football and the Browns, do you like any other sport or team?
I love basketball—the Cavs, specifically. I admit to only watching college basketball during March Madness, and I have three “favorite” teams. Notre Dame, Kansas, and Wake Forest.
I’ll always love the game of baseball, I’m just not as invested in it as I once was. But the Indians will always have a special place in my heart. They were my first love.
And of course, college football. Go Irish.
Many of your followers know that you have a podcast called, “That’s What B Said”. What made you and your fellow creators decided to do this pod? (Which I love you and Bri for doing)
I wish I could say I’ve always had a lot of confidence, and I’ve never been afraid to speak my mind, but that would be a lie. Truth be told, I’ve hidden behind my fears for most of my life. I’ve always relied on writing because I’m not good at speaking. I’ve never been good at trusting my voice. My brain goes in a hundred different directions at once, so I struggle to translate thoughts into sentences. Also, most of my tongue is numb, so I slur words when I talk too quickly. All of these things have contributed to my fear of sounding “stupid.” This is why writing has been my preferred communication. I can take my time and choose my words, carefully.
I didn’t want to hide behind these fears anymore. Luckily, I found two extremely talented women to take this journey with me. Bri, Meredith, and I saw a need for a female presence in Cleveland sports talk. You know better than anyone that this fan base is rich with smart, passionate female fans—we wanted to represent them. And we’re having so much fun doing it!
Being that we are both into football and talk a lot about it. I know I tend to get negative feedback several times a day. What is the hardest thing that you deal with when it comes to social media?
I know I’m an acquired taste. I’m opinionated and passionate. I’m not for everyone, and that’s OK. But you don’t have to be nasty to people you don’t like. It’s not required.
It’s hard when my family reads the nasty stuff because they’re the only people in this world who know me. They know things about me that I’d never share on social media—the struggles, the things I’ve been through. They know me as a human in a way these people don’t, so it’s tough for them to read these horrible things, knowing they can’t do anything to protect me from them. That’s probably the toughest thing about this.
Do you find that it’s difficult to talk football in a predominantly male sport?
I think one of the things people like about me is that I am relatable and I don’t take myself too seriously. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve always had a fear of looking/sounding stupid. One of the advantages of having that fear is that I’m always thinking one step ahead, and that certainly helps me when I talk about sports. Men do try to catch me in “gotcha” moments, but it’s pretty difficult because I do my research before I say things.
I’ll never pretend to know all the X’s and O’s of football, and that’s OK. I’ve found a way to talk about sports in a funny, thoughtful way. As long as I’m being authentic, I think people will continue to appreciate what I contribute to the sports conversations.
What do you think about the current staff that our new GM and HC are putting together?
For years I’ve been screaming for the Browns to design a front office and coaching staff that align with one another. The power struggle has been creating a culture of chaos for years, and last year proved it doesn’t matter how much talent you have if the guys in charge aren’t working together. I think the Browns finally got it right.
They took their time, they hired a HC and GM who will work well together. Stefanski hired coaches with experience.
If nothing else, the culture should be different this season.
And that’s an important step in the right direction.
How are you approaching this season? Full of optimism and hype like last year or a “wait and see” type of approach?
I am currently cautiously optimistic, but by preseason, I will absolutely be leading the hype train!
What do you think are going to be the keys to victory for the Browns this season?
I think the most important key to victory has already been addressed—organizational alignment. This establishes accountability, respect, and one common goal. When everyone has the same vision, the path to success becomes easier to navigate. Last season they struggled to find their identity on offense. When a coach doesn’t have a game plan past the first 15 plays, it’s impossible to succeed, so that’s another key for victory.
I do think they’re in much better hands now.
Do you think that Coach Stefanski is going to be able to handle all the big personalities that are currently on this team?
Coaches aren’t babysitters, but they are managers. When you have a team full of personalities, it’s important to have a coach the players respect. I think Freddie tried too hard to be a friend rather than a leader, and that leads to chaos.
Kevin Stefanski seems like a calm, smart, and approachable leader. I’ve said many times that if given the chance, I always want a smart, calm person in charge. Of everything. They think things through, they have a plan. They don’t let emotions get the best of them.
I think the Browns found a good one. Finally.
What is the one thing that you would change about the Browns organization?
I would be thrilled if ownership shows patience with this new regime. Historically, ownership has had a difficult time designing a plan and sticking with it. Now that everyone is on the same page, I hope they’re not too quick to pull the plug when things get tough.
How do you think the “Cleveland Media” has done in reporting all the changes and activities when it comes to the Browns?
I think some media members have done a fantastic job this offseason. Mary Kay Cabot has been phenomenal. I love Camryn Justice’s contributions. Ben Axelrod and Hayden Grove are great. Ken Carman does a wonderful job of discussing his concerns without being too negative.
I was a little surprised by how some professionals covered the interview process and the eventual hiring. It’s fair to be skeptical of the Browns organization, of course. But to get on social media, as media professionals, and blast them for not doing what you would have done seems unfair.
After last season, Browns fans needed reasons to be positive during this time, and it was disappointing that some media members insisted on being exclusively negative. Not surprising, but definitely disappointing.
If you could write a love letter to the Browns what would you say?
It’s been a wild 13 years with you—a lot of ups and downs.
OK, mostly downs. But that’s what you do when you love something, right? You stick it out with them when things get rough. You don’t give up on them. You’ve taught me how to be patient and loyal, even in the worst of times. You’ve shown me how quickly things can go wrong if you don’t have a plan, which is something I need to be reminded of, constantly.
You’ve helped me find my voice, and that’s something I can’t thank you enough for. But to repay you for that gift, I will forever try to find the good in you, no matter what. I’ll forever be cautiously optimistic, and I’ll defend you when I need to.
Thank you for all the wonderful people I know because of you.
I’m forever on your side.
I want to thank my friend Brittany for taking the time to sit on The Browns Couch with me. It was a true honor to get to know a fellow Browns fan who is kinda like me. Remember, the bottom line is no matter what, we are ALL Browns fans and we just want a Super Bowl win.