Baker Mayfield made a point at the start of his postgame press conference following a historic win against the Pittsburgh Steelers to turn his hat backward — a subtle, yet well-planned shot by the Cleveland Browns quarterback at radio host Colin Cowherd, one of his biggest critics.
Cowherd went on a rant earlier in the week when Mayfield showed up to one of his press conferences with a backward hat, saying it “just says playoff loss.”
“Interesting, wearing his hat backwards,” Cowherd said on his show. “Of course, backwards hat, guy that does it never gets it. Those who don’t get it don’t get they don’t get it. It’s not quarterbackial.
“I know, it’s no big deal, says the guy who wears the hat backwards. Look at that. That just says playoff loss, doesn’t it? Doesn’t that just say down 12, sack, fumble, minute-and-a-half to play? It doesn’t say playoff winner to me. It says things are unraveling in Pittsburgh this weekend.”
Obviously, Cowherd was wrong. Mayfield passed for three touchdowns and 263 yards, proving to be the franchise quarterback Cleveland has been missing for decades.
Cowherd did try to extend an olive branch of sorts to Mayfield pregame.
“Wishing Baker Mayfield the best of luck in his first playoff game. #ColinisClassy,” he wrote.
Mayfield’s wife, Emily Mayfield, was not having it.
“You’re a touch late,” she wrote after the game was over, with the hashtag bandwagon.
Emily Mayfield hasn’t been shy to speak her mind about situations involving her husband on social media. But she shared a heartfelt message after the victory.
“Jokes aside,” she wrote, “so damn proud of my 6.”
Baker Mayfield: ‘There is a New Standard’ in Cleveland
The victory on Sunday night was the first playoff win for the Browns in over a quarter-century. Making it even more special, it came against Cleveland’s division rival, Pittsburgh.
“We are here for a reason,” Mayfield told reporters. “There is a new standard, and I keep talking about it. I know I was not here for the things that have happened in the past, some of which I was too young to even remember. There is a new standard, and we are going to try and keep it that way.”
Mayfield stepped up in the second half of the season, helping lead the offense and taking care of the ball. After struggling with interceptions a year ago, he tossed just eight this season — five of those coming in a three-game stretch.
“That guy has an amazing amount of self-confidence in a good way and I know he has some swagger to him, but I love the way he handles adversity,” said Browns special team coordinator Mike Priefer, who was the acting head coach on Sunday. “The way he responded when Pittsburgh was coming back in the second half, it was extremely impressive.”
Browns Big Underdogs Against Chiefs
Cleveland is a double-digit underdog next week against Patrick Mahomes and the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs. The Browns are listed as 10-point underdogs, per Odds Shark.
When asked about being counted out against the Chiefs, Mayfield said: “Sounds pretty normal to me.”
The Browns are +2,500 to win the Super Bowl, the highest odds of the remaining teams by far. The Chiefs are the favorite at +200.