Two days removed from Christmas on a cold day in December 1964, was another classic tale of David vs. Goliath. The Cleveland Browns entered into the 1964 NFL Championship as heavy underdogs to the Colts of Baltimore. Packed with a superstar lineup which consisted of names the likes of Johnny Unitas and Lenny Moore to name a few, and having their best season since 1954, some experts speculated it could be over for Cleveland early.
After a scoreless first half by both teams, the Browns exploded for 27 unanswered points, shocking the football world in the process by shutting-out the Colts 27-0 to win their fourth NFL Crown. Unfortunately for Cleveland, with great triumph ungodly hardships can arise, and arise they did. For little did they know it, but this would be the last taste of championship gold for the city of Cleveland.
Fast-Forward to June of 2003, Cleveland has the number one overall pick via NBA Draft Lottery Pick and are able to sign their beloved hometown hero LeBron James fresh out of high school.
While LeBron was expected to lead the Cavaliers to the Promise Land, Cleveland did not make the Playoffs until his third year in the NBA. The Cavs were able to defeat the Washington Wizards in six games despite sloppy play by James, who committed a six game series record 34 turnovers. The run was cut short in the second round for Cleveland, as they fell to division rival Detroit Pistons in seven games.
It was not until next season, and arguably the most memorable one for the Cavs faithful, that James led Cleveland to a Championship series. LeBron gave Cleveland their first post-season sweep in franchise history as they defeated the Washington Wizards to advance to the second round. The King,(LeBron,) then followed it up by defeating the New Jersey Nets in six games moving the Cavs into the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in 15 years.
In the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals the Cavs were up against their arch rivals the Detroit Pistons, who had knocked Cleveland out of the Playoffs the previous year. As the Pistons took a 2-0 lead in the series, it looked as though the dream was over for Cleveland....but their hero THE KING would have none of it. After the knotting the series at two games apiece LeBron went on a scoring frenzy, cashing in 29 of Cleveland’s 30 final points, including a game winning lay-up in double overtime. The next game the Cavs continued to dominate with a 98–82 win at home in Game 6 sending them to their first Finals in Franchise history.
Sadly the Matchup of Cleveland versus the San Antonio Spurs proved too much for The King and his fellow knights to handle; The Cavs were swept in four games to Tim Duncan and the Spurs; it would be Cleveland’s only championship appearance with the king.
The closest they would come was in the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals against the Orlando Magic. After giving up Game 1 at home to Orlando, and a Hedo Türkoğlu jumper that put the Magic up by two, it looked as though hardship would continue for Cleveland. LeBron received the inbound pass while fading away, and with Türkoğlu in his face, James hit a buzzer beating three pointer to give the Cavs the win and tie the series at one game each. The win only prevented the inevitable, as Cleveland was defeated in six games on Orlando's home court.
The following season would be The King's last hoorah in Cleveland, as he lead the Cavs past Chicago 4-1. This was the last series the Cavs would win with LeBron James at the helm. Cleveland moved on the face the Boston Celtics, who would eventually win the conference, in the second round. This series is called by most as a series The King threw away, especially in game five in where he shot 3 for 14 from the field and scored only 15 points. The Celtics followed it up by sending James and the Cavs back home, by defeating them in game six in Boston.
Then on July 8 of this year, LeBron announced to the whole world on "The Decision,"(a one hour special on ESPN,) to where he would go play next season.
“This fall I am taking my talents to South Beach and play with the Miami Heat. The major factor was the best opportunity for me to win, to win now and for the future also. Winning is the most important thing for me. I feel like this is going to be the best opportunity."(As said by LeBron during his announcement on ESPN's "The Decision.")
The Era of LeBron was over, people all over Cleveland were seen burning James Jerseys, many started throwing rocks and vandalizing his Nike Billboard downtown, and a city which had hoped The King would be the answer to their Championship drought felt betrayed and backstabbed.
Now that LeBron is in Miami, it seems highly unlikely that Cleveland will see a championship this decade. The Cavs won't bring it to them as most of their stars have moved to other teams. The Indians won't do it, at least not this season, a 34-54 record and 15 games back in last place in the AL Central division before the All-Star Break doesn't look to promising. In my personal opinion the team that has the best chance to bring a championship to Cleveland is the Browns.
I am not a Browns fan, but the AFC North is a division where anything is possible,(plus I really like the addition of Colt McCoy at QB he is underrated by most because of his injury in this past National Championship.) If the Browns put their best foot forward headed into training camp, we could see big things out of this squad, and spectacular excitement and joy from the city of Cleveland.
It has been far too long since Cleveland won a championship, we as a nation must now join them, in a process they have had to handle for the past 46 years; waiting.
~James Cook Future Associated Press
Writers Note- The purpose of this, my first article, is to understand how the community feels about my neighbor state, Ohio, and the chances of a title coming to their city of Cleveland with the departure of LeBron, so please any and all feedback is welcome.