Tony Dejak/Associated Press
Super Bowl W-L record: 0-0
Did someone call for an asterisk?
Sorry. We are fully aware of the fact that the artist formerly known as the Cleveland Browns became the Baltimore Ravens in 1996. Three years later, Browns fans were partying in 1999 when their club reappeared as an expansion franchise.
However, one of the agreements with the new franchise in Cleveland was that they inherited the Browns’ previous history in terms of records, accomplishments, etc.
Sounds fair enough? That also means the team hasn’t won an NFL title since 1964. It’s doubtful anyone in the city will be throwing a 50th-anniversary celebration regarding that “milestone” this year.
What about this year? Are the Browns capable of coming together and putting together a miraculous season? They say never say never, but let’s offer a little perspective here.
This is a club that has lost 11 or more games for six straight years. Cleveland hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2002, and the team’s last postseason win came in 1994 when Bill Belichick was head coach (we can report that he has since moved on).
On to 2014, as Mike Pettine is the team’s eight different head coach since 1999. And while there’s no game film of the team so far, there’s been plenty of video courtesy of rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel.
The 22nd overall pick in May has had his hands full this offseason—with seemingly everything but a football. But now it’s time to buckle down, and both the quarterback and the boss of the team agree.
“I don’t want to wear this subject out,’’ said Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, as reported by Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer, following the club’s initial practice at training camp. “Johnny said it himself. He made some mistakes. We expect better from him. I’m sure he’ll perform now. We’re anxious to see what he can do on the field, which is what really counts.”
So do these Browns have a realistic chance at winning a Super Bowl this year? There is certainly some talent on the defensive side of the ball, a quarterback battle between Manziel and Brian Hoyer and wide receivers such as Miles Austin and Nate Burleson to fill in should Pro Bowler Josh Gordon not be available this season.
But also keep in mind that since 2011, they are the only team in the AFC North to finish with a losing record in any of those three seasons. Climbing past the Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens is a Herculean task all by itself.