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2017 Blanton Collier
Award Winner:
1964 NFL World Champions Cleveland Browns
Award Celebration at:
The Lexington Opera House
Lexington, KY
June 23, 2017

Character is a Decision

Frank’s Dawg Pound

Hi, my name is Frank Minnifield. I was born January 1, 1960, in Lexington, Kentucky. I played defensive back for the Cleveland Browns from 1984-93. I attended Henry Clay High School in Lexington, but was considered too small for college football at just 5'9" and 140 pounds. I walked on to the football team at the University of Louisville, and as a junior in 1981, I led the nation in average yards per kickoff return (30.4). After graduation in 1982, I joined the Chicago Blitz (later the Arizona Wranglers) of the USFL, but I had to successfully sue the Wranglers for the right to move to the NFL, where I signed as a free agent with the Browns in 1984. I quickly became a fixture at cornerback for the Cleveland Browns and was named to the Pro Bowl four straight years from 1986-89.  I was named to the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team as selected by voters of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but perhaps more importantly to Cleveland fans, my  fellow cornerback Hanford Dixon and I originated and named the Dawg Pound cheering section at Cleveland Stadium.

The “Dawg Pound” started during the 1985 Training Camp at Lakeland Community College in Kirkland, Ohio. Hanford and I started the idea of the pound to try to get more pressure on the quarterback. We had the idea of the quarterback being the cat, and the defensive line being the dog. Whenever the defense would get a regular sack or a coverage sack the defensive linemen and linebackers would bark. This attitude carried into the stands at the training camp, where fans started barking along with the players. We then put up the first "Dawg Pound" banner in front of the bleachers before the first preseason game at old Cleveland Stadium. The bleacher section had the cheapest seats in the stadium, and its fans were already known as the most vocal. They adopted their new identity whole-heartedly, wearing dog noses, dog masks, bone-shaped hats and other outlandish costumes.

“Woof” “Woof”

There you have it.

Franky Minnifield