HOUSTON—Noting his quiet demeanor and the fact that he has not been included in any of the conversations taking place around him, sources at Murphy’s Tavern and Grill confirmed Sunday with increasing certainty that a Cleveland Browns fan has shown up to the sports bar by himself.
The man—estimated to be in his late 20s or early 30s—has reportedly been standing silently between several groups of people he does not appear to be acquainted with in any way, and has seemingly not been looking around in an attempt to locate friends, relatives, or coworkers among the roughly 200 other patrons at Murphy’s, fueling speculation that he in fact purposefully and willingly came to the establishment alone.
Sources also confirmed that the man is the only person in the entire bar wearing a Browns jersey.
“I noticed him kind of standing on his own earlier, so I just figured he was waiting for his friends to show up, or maybe they were in the bathroom or something,” said 27-year-old Alex Rutland, adding that he has yet to see the man utter a single word to anyone in his immediate vicinity. “But then I looked back, like, 20 minutes later, and he was still just standing there by himself. He still is.”
“I guess it’s possible that he was supposed to meet people here, but then they canceled on him last minute,” Rutland continued. “It’s either that or he actually wanted to come here alone.”
According to witnesses, aside from briefly waiting to order a beer after initially arriving, the man has otherwise spent virtually all his time with his drink in hand while staring intently at the only television in the entire bar showing the Browns game. Whenever the game has gone to commercial, he has reportedly either turned to the Texans game being viewed by the majority of the bar’s patronage or simply looked down and browsed his phone.
Several early reports indicated that at one point, after Cleveland’s defense made a key stop on third down, the man shouted, “Yeah! There we go!” and clapped several times, which drew the attention of several neighboring patrons who looked around in confusion before realizing that he was talking to no one in particular.
While evidence continues mounting that the Browns fan has come to the bar by himself, the reasons behind why he has apparently chosen to do so are reportedly still unclear.
“The Browns game probably isn’t being shown on any of the local Houston stations, so this might be the only way he can see it,” said 34-year-old onlooker Erik Wickett. “But the thing is, you can just stream games online—there are a lot of sites that do that now. It’s not great video quality, but it still does the job. And that way you can stay at home instead of coming to a packed bar filled with a bunch of total strangers.”
“Is he trying to make friends?” Wickett added. “Is that what this is?”
Sources confirmed that at halftime, when everyone else in Murphy’s was busy eating bar food and engaging in friendly discussions about football, the Browns fan reportedly went to the bathroom and then, upon returning to the same spot where he was previously standing, watched the entire CBS halftime show with no volume.
Witnesses confirmed that he did attempt to converse with one other person midway through the third quarter, when, while ordering his second Blue Moon, he jokingly remarked to a bartender that Houston would be better off with J.J. Watt at quarterback instead of Ryan Mallett.
The man was also said to have largely ignored several nearby bar-goers who loudly cheered and exchanged high-fives around him while celebrating a Texans touchdown.
“To be perfectly honest, I’m having a tough time figuring out how this could possibly be an enjoyable experience for him,” said 31-year-old Denise Millman, who, like everyone else at the bar, reportedly came to enjoy football together with other people she actually knows and is friends with. “He looks like a perfectly normal person—and yet here he is at a crowded bar on a Sunday afternoon watching a football game by himself.”
At press time, after the Browns game had concluded, the man finished the last of his beer, placed his empty glass on the bar, and quietly walked out the door.