The NFL Playoffs are set. We have our Wild Card matchups, our first-round byes and every pundit with a blue check on Twitter is opening the folder on their desktop labelled “Aaron Rodgers GOAT Facts.”
And while fans across the country are celebrating their team’s victory, we should all take a second to turn towards Cleveland and congratulate the Cleveland Browns.
If you are unaware of why we should all tip our caps to the Browns and their fans, the reason is probably one you’ve heard before about a different Cleveland team. In 2020, for the first time in seventeen years the Cleveland Browns have advanced to the NFL playoffs.
While there have been other playoff droughts, and a plethora of terrible franchises, the Browns have been a laughing stock for… well, the last seventeen years.
In 2014, the Browns heaped all of their hopes on Johnny Manziel, taking him 22nd overall and missing out on quarterbacks like Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr, and Jimmy Garoppolo. That draft came two years after they took QB Brandon Weedon in the first round of the 2012 draft. How many first-round picks are you going to waste on QB busts?
Even worse, the Browns have had 12 head coaches over the last 17 years. Honestly, I’m surprised they didn’t just install a revolving door for the Head Coach’s office. It might have saved some time.
Misery. Pure Misery.
The Browns have spent 13 of their 17 playoff-less seasons in the basement of the AFC North. In one of those seasons, the 2017 season, the Browns finished without a win. The season before that, they won just a single game.
Since 1944, only five NFL teams have completed a winless season: the 1960 Dallas Cowboys, the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the 1982 Baltimore Colts, the 2008 Detroit Lions, and the aforementioned 2017 Cleveland Browns.
Do you know how many teams have had a two-year period where they only won a single NFL game? ONE. The Cleveland Browns form 2016-17. That’s how absolutely horrible this stretch has been for the Browns.
I want you to close your eyes and imagine that you’re watching your favorite football team in Week 17. The game is basically over, the second teams are taking snaps and your team has only tasted victory once in the last 635 days.
And in the midst of that horrible drought, there’s a literal dumpster fire outside of your stadium. The metaphor isn’t lost on you as you weep into your Skyline Chili, served in your Cleveland Browns bowl.
All this is to say, the Browns and their fans have had it really, really rough these past 17 years. So if you know a Browns fan, or you happen to see someone crying in a Baker Mayfield jersey, or maybe they’re gathering around a fire, burning their paper bag masks, give them a thumbs up. They’ve earned it.
Congratulations, Cleveland! You did it!
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