A minute later Kosar takes a snap. "Bernie!" Marianne cries. "Throw a little dink over the middle!" Kosar throws a little dink over the middle for a first down. "See, he listens to me," Marianne mutters. "I mean it—I should coach this team. I've got the mouth."
Marianne is not just a great talker but also a great explainer. She delivers more facts about the Browns than a 512-kilobyte computer chip. By the end of the first quarter, she has told you everything you never wanted to know about Kosar.
She agonizes every time Miami gets the ball. Marianne looks on with sly amusement when Dolphin receiver Mark Duper is upended by a Brown. "Super Duper gets put on his pooper," she says. Brittany, her oldest daughter, laughs. The six-year-old wanders in front of the set, obstructing Marianne's view. "I'm hungry," Brittany says. Marianne, who's conferring with the Brown secondary, points a thumb toward the couch. "Tell your dad," she says. The Browns trail 14-0.
After a halftime snack—sloppy joes enlivened with bottled ranch dressing—Marianne dons the Dawg Pound mask. When Cleveland running back Tommy Vardell gets stuffed at the line on two straight plays late in the third quarter, she heaves the mask Over her shoulder.
Suddenly the Browns come back. They score on a pass to Jackson. "Yessss!" Marianne cheers. The Browns score on a fumble return. "Yessss! Yessss!" When Mark Bavaro's TD with 1:18 left gives Cleveland a 23-20 lead, Marianne, Jeff and Don rise in one mass with their arms upraised. "You know why we're winning?" she asks. "It's because I threw that dog mask." Don and Jeff groan.
The celebration is short-lived. Like El-way in '87, Dan Marino drives the Dolphins 84 yards for the winning TD. Marianne whips her head away from the TV in disgust. Once again Cleveland has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory Marianne holds her head in her hands.
"Marianne...," says Jeff, consolingly.
"They lost," she says with great finality. "Don't mess with me."
She flicks off the TV. She flicks off the Christmas lights.