All the Rev. Mike Brown wanted to do was get 100 kids to come to a youth group meeting following a New Albany High School football game in fall 1999.

All the Rev. Mike Brown wanted to do was get 100 kids to come to a youth group meeting following a New Albany High School football game in fall 1999.

If the members of the youth group could recruit 100 students to participate in "Fifth Quarter" activities at Franklin Church in New Albany following the game, Brown agreed to dress up in a fan costume for the next game.

It was supposed to be a one-time thing, but after walking away from the stadium one last time last Friday wearing a New Albany football jersey with a maroon and gold cape and a gold wig, the man dubbed "Superfan" had realized that it had become much more.

"A part of me wants to be Brett Farve and never retire," said Brown, 50. "It was fun for me, and it was fun hearing from all the fans. I hoped it would be fun that one time, and it became more fun than I ever dreamed of."

Today when Brown talks about his role as Superfan, he does do in the third person. It's never I or me. It's always Superfan. To be Superfan, the pastor at Franklin Church had to take on an alter ego. He kept his true identity a secret as best he could.

"Yeah, because nobody would probably have stayed in my church," said Brown, whose been a pastor at Franklin Church for 20 years. "You have to go into a different kind of mode although we preached once at the church in Superfan."

He's persevered through irate fans, heart surgery and bad weather. But finally it was a combination of wanting to spend more time with his wife, Chris - they are empty-nesters now - and not being able to perform like he could a few years ago that led him to hang up the cape.

"I had two herniated disks," Brown said. "I just can't jump the two or three steps without it hurting. If I can't do it at 100 percent, then I don't want to do it."

Superfan's emergence coincided with the Eagles' rise out of the doldrums. The year that Superfan had his debut, New Albany had hired Jack Hatem to turn around a program that had seen more bad times than good.

The Eagles barely missed the playoffs in Hatem's first season in 1998 but had risen to relevancy. Team spirit was peaking, and Superfan was asked to return for a second season.

The next year the Eagles made the playoffs, and the team's top fan watched his role on Friday night become entrenched as a normal part of the festivity, much to the chagrin of his daughter, Stephanie.

Stephanie was a senior the year that New Albany made the playoffs. She once hid the Superfan costume to keep her dad from showing up to the game wearing it. Mike Brown showed up at the game anyway and paid $10 to find out the whereabouts of the costume.

It was under Stephanie's bed. He was back - in costume - in time for the second half.

"I think it was tough on her at first," Chris Brown said. "I think when her friends were making comments on it. She started to accept it a little bit."

Superfan's signature moves were holding up handcrafted signs with funny and sometimes controversial messages. He also threw gum into the crowd. New Albany fans appreciated Superfan, but some visiting fans did not.

At a home game against Whitehall in 2007, Brown threw some gum into the visiting crowd and the crowed threw it back. At a playoff game against Martins Ferry in 2004, an opposing fan shoved Superfan and then followed him back to the New Albany sideline. Brown had to get a police officer involved to ward off the upset fan.

But the most serious threats came from his heart. Brown suffers from heart arrhythmia and during his time as Superfan, he suffered bouts with it. He had a surgery to help repair the condition in January 2007 and that July he made an appearance as Superfan during Fourth of July parade.

That was on a Saturday, on Monday doctors had to shock his heart back into normal pace.

Brown saw it as all part of being Superfan.

"The whole thing was for the people getting behind the kids on the football field," Brown said. "If they got more excited because I helped them with that, then I did my job."