Cleveland Browns: 7 Goals Browns Must Reach to Consider 2012 Successful

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Cleveland Browns: 7 Goals Browns Must Reach to Consider 2012 Successful
Rob Carr/Getty Images

"All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem."—Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Measuring success in most NFL cities typically follows one of two trends. One occurs exclusively in the realms of perennial contention surrounding such temples of victory as Lambeau Field. The second success-evaluation process is far more modest and prevalent in NFL cities across the country.

Binary success metric No. 1: did, or did not, our team win the Super Bowl? As of 2011, only about six to 10 NFL cities can really claim membership in this exclusive club of perennial Super Bowl contenders.

Two of the Browns' division rivals, Pittsburgh and Baltimore, troublingly number among those franchises. Other squads with resumes like three playoff appearances in a row or recent Super Bowl births include New England, New York (Giants), Green Bay, New Orleans, and until recently, the Indianapolis Colts.

The NFL's middle class, that is to say, the Tennessees, Kansas Citys, Detroits, Minnesotas and Cincinnatis must engage in a slightly more nuanced evaluation process, with two distinct questions: first, did our team make the playoffs, and second, did our team improve on last year's performance?

For various reasons, including historical rivalries, recent struggles and the psychological effect of losing and regaining their beloved franchise in the 1990s, Cleveland Browns fans in 2012 will consider their team's performance with their own unique perspective.

Looking toward the future for Browns fans has become somewhat of a cruise-control gear as the team has perpetually "rebuilt," for over a decade since its return to NFL football in 1999.

While outsiders may not envy the likes of Brandon Weeden or Trent Richardson joining one of the NFL's most hapless franchises, Cleveland's modest bar for success and win-hungry fanbase will compound any momentum the young Browns manage to gain in 2012.

Simply put: if the Browns win six games, this town will go nuts.

You can follow me on Twitter: @StepanekButton

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