BROWNSFEST 2015, Rochester, NY

by Megan Rock | May 14, 2015
Brennan and Winn provide laughs and insights

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Brownsfest ‘15, hosted by the Photo City Browns Backers, was held on Saturday, April 18, 2015 at the Diplomat Party House in Rochester, NY and featured Billy Winn and Brian Brennan and a sold-out crowd of 160 rabid Browns Backers. The rapport between Billy and Brian was evident from the moment they met, and they played off each other like an old-time comedy team, blending a mixture of nostalgic stories, frank answers and comedic repartee that kept the Browns fans laughing all evening long.
At the beginning of the evening, Brian and Billy cheerfully signed autographs, posed for photos, and joked with fans, repeatedly thanking everyone for having invited them. While waiting in line for autographs, attendees got the opportunity to view some of PCBB club member Ernie Mercier’s impressive memorabilia collection, including a helmet signed by the 1964 championship team and another signed by the Kardiac Kids team. And over 60 members took advantage of this event to renew their memberships. Even better, the club signed up 11 new members!
After a delicious buffet dinner, Billy and Brian enthusiastically joined in when the attendees assembled for a mammoth group photo.

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(DeRycke Motorsports Photography 2015)

The fun really began with the calling of the door prize winners, as Brian and Billy exchanged good-humored barbs, with Brian reminding Billy several times that at least when he played, we always beat the Steelers.  When the winner of the Browns History book came up for his photo, Billy asked, “Am I in that book?” to which Brian quickly responded, “These were the highlights,” and the audience howled. Immediately, Billy responded, “I sacked a Steeler,” and that started a rousing chorus of WOOF WOOFS!
The levity continued with the Raffle drawings, which included six unique Browns jackets and two pairs of Billy’s autographed cleats that he had generously donated. The highlight of the raffles came when an ecstatic Ernie Mercier bounded up to the podium to claim his game-worn Billy Winn cleats.

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(DeRycke Motorsports Photography 2015)

A face-paced and lively Q &A session was moderated by local radio host and life-long Browns fan Paul Guglielmo, pictured above, who purchased a tuxedo and orange tie especially for the occasion!
Billy and Brian provided answers that were both humorous and insightful.
In response to a question about the three Browns head coaches he has had, Billy gave a very honest assessment, making it clear that his favorite is “Mike Pettine, no question. He’s a player’s coach and the best coach since I’ve been with the Browns. All the guys agree.” When asked his opinion of the new uniforms, Billy’s response was “I love the new uniforms. I’m glad we don’t have to wear all white at home – I look like the Michelin man!

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(DeRycke Motorsports Photography 2015)

Brian provided some amusement in describing the hardest hit he took – by none other than the 49ers Ronnie Lott. Afterwards, Brian went to the sideline, and it wasn’t until a couple of plays later that the Browns trainer came to get him – Brian had no idea that he was standing on the 49ers sideline! And despite Brian’s good natured ribbing of Billy, he made it clear that even though this was the first time they had met, he thought very highly of Billy, saying “It’s so nice to meet an athlete today that embodies what a team is all about, a true professional.” 
As the evening ended, Brian was very gracious in thanking the crowd. “It’s so nice that I was able to play for the Browns, and there’s people like you that make me feel so good about what I did.” And Billy commented on how great it was to have such a large crowd at the event; he even took his own picture of the group.
We don’t have the photo that Billy took, but John DeRycke, the official photographer for the event, has posted hundreds of photos on the PCBB website.