The flat, almost putting-green smooth red carpet, the scratchy woven fabric of the furniture and the sleek, silver dials of the stereo system.
Those are a few things I remember about watching the Cleveland Browns from the basement of my familyís house in the suburbs of northeast Ohio.
It was usually dark ó the glow of the TV was the only light in the room.
Thatís because it was special, like movie theater special.
The outcomes werenít always the best (insert The Drive and The Fumble references here), but times spent with my family at that time were the special parts. It was just us those Sunday afternoons.
Thatís probably true for many households with NFL allegiances across the county. I know itís true for Packers fans.
Iíve seen their shrine-esque displays on newscasts and documentaries and Iíve seen them first-hand. My mother-in-lawís wood-paneled basement includes a framed payroll check signed by Vince Lombardi, a print of Ray Nitschke, a picture of Max McGeeís first Super Bowl touchdown and plenty of other Packers favorites.
My Packers basement is a little more toned down with just one Lambeau Field canvas print and a few old school beer signs.
Our basement, over the past few seasons, has become a place where family gathers to watch the green and gold on 64 inches of HD awesomeness with surround sound. Itís a time when we get together to cheer, yell and sit in silent disbelief.
The automatic ďSee you Sunday!Ē isnít a fixture year-round, which makes the 16-game NFL regular season special. And then a playoff run, even if itís just a one and done? The cherry on top.
Since starting work as an editor at the Press-Gazette in 2007, Iíve read dozens of stories about Packers fans who plan annual trips to Lambeau Field, go to each game with fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers and make getting together to watch the green and gold just something they do.
Thatís also the case for those who donít have season tickets and donít make regular trips to Lambeau Field. Those fans ó in Wisconsin and millions of miles away ó also couldnít imagine watching their favorite team without some of their favorite people.
Yes, the NFL is a huge business with big-time reach, but many people donít see that. They just see the opportunities to get together with friends and family to scream at the TV and even talk to each other in person.