Baker Mayfield, with help from his wife, generous fans and some team podcasters, helped make a dying man’s wish come true.
This past Sunday, Tom Seipel, a life-long fan of the Cleveland Browns, was able to see his team, in person, clinch their first play-off spot in almost two decades. And he and his dad did so in the comfort of Mayfield’s suite at FirstEnergy Stadium. Emily Mayfield, Baker’s wife, arranged for the seats as her husband threw for 196 yards and a touchdown to help clinch the Browns’ 24-22 win.
Seipel wrote about his terminal diagnosis and how his one wish was to see the Browns in person on the team’s Reddit page. That was a couple of weeks ago. Two hosts with the Dawgs of War podcast read the post about Seipel’s three-year battle with kidney cancer. So did Emily Mayfield, who told her husband about Seipel’s plight.
A GoFundMe page raised more than $24,500 to pay Seipel’s costs to the game. Seipel now lives in Georgia. Sunday’s game in Cleveland was his first in two years.
When Seipel found out he’d be going back to Cleveland, he posted a thank-you video on YouTube. He reacted how any fan would, knowing he was about to see his favorite team.
Seipel said: “This is the coolest … I know it’s just sports guys, and it’s a game, right? But I’ve lived and breathed Cleveland Browns football for so long, it’s just really cool. So thank you to all those who are making this happen, I’m lucky as heck.”
Baker Mayfield also posted a video message for Seipel. Mayfield said: “You’re extremely inspirational, man, you’re a warrior. Just want to say, keep fighting. Appreciate your support and we’ll see what happens when we get into the playoffs, we’ll see if we make those dreams come true, bud.”
To Seipel’s delight and the delight of all Browns fans, Cleveland won. Browns fans have been disappointed at the end of every season for the previous 18 years. But the Browns snapped the playoff drought. They’ll turn around and face Pittsburgh again, this time on the road. But a playoff game for a long-disappointed fan base is blissful.
Baker Mayfield helped make Seipel’s experience after the game even more special. The quarterback video chatted with Seipel. Then Baker and Emily Mayfield met Seipel and his father outside the stadium to meet in person. They took photos to commemorate the happiest of days.
“That’s the class act that he is,” Seipel said of Mayfield. “Baker is every bit of swagger, Mr. Dangerous. He’s got that cool, edgy attitude, but at the same time he has the biggest heart in the world.”
Seipel is in hospice now. Doctors gave him only a few weeks to live. But Baker Mayfield, his wife, some generous fans, and a couple of podcasters gave him at least one more joyous day.