Maybe they’ll rename it the Possum Pound.
During Thursday night’s game against the New York Jets, a fan of the Cleveland Browns captured a live possum and carried it through the stands to a team employee. The video of the capture quickly went viral, with some fans believing the “rally possum” is responsible for helping accomplish something nearly two years in the making: a win for the team.
The Browns rallied from 14 points down to defeat the Jets after top overall pick Baker Mayfield came into the game in relief of the injured Tyrod Taylor. Mayfield went 17-for-23 passing and the Browns crawled back to win 21-17, the team’s first win since the end of the 2016 season to improve their record to 1-1-1.
But after the game, many people instead were talking about the animal capture that took place during the first quarter. Video of the possum capture was first shared by Busted Coverage, showing the fan gingerly carrying the animal by the tail to a stadium employee who helped to put it in a box and take it away. The rescue gained cheers from the crowd, as at that point in the game, there wasn’t much action on the field for the Browns.
Nbd, just a Browns fan catching a possum tonight at the stadium pic.twitter.com/MxMWFWh4jS— Busted Coverage (@bustedcoverage) September 21, 2018
Some fans saw the possum as a good luck charm, and found it fitting that the wild animal would wander into a stadium where its bleachers are nicknamed the Dawg Pound for the colorful fans who inhabit it.
Browns have to make sure the possum is at every game now pic.twitter.com/Wq3mrViTgM— Robert Littal (@BSO) September 21, 2018
This is not the first time an animal has made a surprise appearance at a sporting event. Last year, a squirrel ran onto the field during a college football game between Louisville and Kent State, leading to a now-viral moment from play-by-play man Wes Durham when he decided to commentate the rodent’s run across the field.
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REPEAT: SQUIRREL TOUCHDOWN
Others animal interlopers have not been so lucky. In Game 3 of the 1975 Stanley Cup Finals, Jim Lorenz of the Buffalo Sabres used his stick to kill a bat that was flying just above the heads of players. And during a spring training game in 2001, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Randy Johnson accidentally killed a bird that was unlucky enough to fly right into the path of his pitch.
It’s not clear what happened to the opossum captured by the Cleveland Browns fan after it was stuffed into a cardboard box, but some of the team’s fans are hoping it can make more appearances and help the team win its second game since 2016.