History Of Cleveland Sports

David WhiteContributor IDecember 29, 2009

SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 23:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers warms up against the Sacramento Kings during an NBA game at ARCO Arena on December 23, 2009 in Sacramento, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Cleveland is a great city. From the schools, its culture, its restaurants, its hotels, and many other things. Clevelanders also respect the sports teams. While not the always the best at what they do, teams in Cleveland get respect from its fans, and rightfully so. There have been a large number of downfalls and letdowns throughout Cleveland sports history, and I would like to look back and see some of the things Cleveland and its people have been through.

 

Negative

1981, "Red Right 88"

The Cleveland Browns had the ball at the Raiders 13 yard line in the 1981 AFC Championship Game, down 14-12. Brian Sipe was told by coach Sam Rutigliano to throw a pass play called Red Right 88, and if no-one were open, "Throw it into Lake Erie." The pass was forced anyway to tight end Ozzie Newsome, and then picked off by Raiders safety Mike Davis, confirming a Browns loss and helping the Raiders advance to the next round and ending the Browns' season.

 

The outcome of this decision by Sipe, even though he became MVP, was one many Cleveland fans wished didn't happen. This very moment has been in the same category as many other infamous Cleveland Browns moments.

 

1985, Browns vs. Dolphins

In the divisional playoffs, the Browns led the Dolphins 21-3 at the midway point of the third quarter. The Browns then gave up three consecutive touchdowns led by Dan Marino and Ron Davenport to lose the game.

 

1987, "The Drive"

With the ball pinned at Denver's two with 5:32 left in the AFC Championship, the Browns looked like they would advance to the Super Bowl. John Elway then led a four minute and 55 second drive to score the game-tying touchdown, a pass to Broncos receiver Mark Jackson. Denver went on to kick a field goal in overtime to win it. This 98 yard drive is the exemplary performance of clutch football.

 

1988, "The Fumble"

The very next year, the Cleveland Browns played the Denver Broncos again in the 1988 AFC Championship Game.  Browns running back Earnest Byner looked like he was going to score the tying touchdown against Denver with 1:12 in a 38-31 game, but Byner was stripped of the ball by Jeremiah Castille at the three yard line. The Broncos then gave the Browns an intentional safety and went on to win the game 38-33.

 

1989, "The Shot"

After receiving an inbound pass in the First Round of the 1989 NBA Playoffs , Craig Ehlo drove to the hoop and scored on a layup. Then, after a Chicago timeout, Michael Jordan came off a screen and drained one from the free-throw line as time expired to give Chicago the game and the series. Ehlo also almost got punched by Jordan on the last play because of Jordan's fist pump in celebration of the shot.

 

1994, The Strike

With the Cleveland Indians in first place of the AL Central, and with a new stadium, a labor dispute over salary cap was never resolved, which lost the season for all of baseball and the Indians. Former Indians owner Richard Jacobs marked all merchandise saying "inaugural season at Jacobs Field" half off. Minnesota traded Dave Winfield to the Cleveland Indians for a player to be named later before the season was officially canceled, so no player was named. To settle the deal, the executives of the teams went to dinner, and Cleveland picked up the tab, meaning Winfield had been dealt for dinner.

1995, World Series

The Indians lost the World Series against the Atlanta Braves in six games. This was the first time the Indians had been in the World Series in 41 years. They since have not won a World Series since 1948.

 

1995, "The Move"

Art Modell moves his team to Baltimore after piling up many debts over the years with Cleveland, making the Cleveland Browns into the Baltimore Ravens. He was so far in debt; the only way he wouldn't pass on the debt to his family was to accept a deal from Baltimore to move the Browns. There were many protests, and for the first time in history, Browns and Steelers fans banded together in protest of the move. They protested against Modell and over 100 lawsuits were filed.

 

1997, Jose, Jose, Jose

Cleveland had the lead in the ninth inning of the 1997 World Series against Florida, but closer Jose Mesa couldn't keep it, and gave up a sacrifice fly to Craig Counsell after two previous Marlin hits. Then, in the 11th, Charles Nagy let a slider thrown to Edgar Renteria slip off his glove and fly into center field. Mesa and Nagy are still being criticized for that very moment in Cleveland history.

 

2002, Browns vs. Steelers

Cleveland made it back to the playoffs for the first time since "The Move," and had a 33-21 lead with five minutes to go against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Divisional Playoffs. Ultimately, the Browns lost the game, 36-33 after the Browns defense collapsed and some boneheaded coaching calls.

 

2005, Larry Hughes

Larry Hughes signed a five-year, $70 million contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the summer of 2005. He then only started 131 out of a possible 246 games in three years and was injury prone throughout the years. He was never liked in Cleveland and was a waste of money. He was then traded to Chicago and remembered as a bust.

 

2007, OSU vs. Florida

Ohio State lost to Florida in championship games in both football and basketball. Many fans throughout the nation criticized Ohio State for being unable to win a championship.

 

2008, OSU vs. LSU

LSU dominated the BCS championship game as the Tigers ran and threw all over the Buckeyes. There were many missed tackles on OSU's part and it was something the Bucks have seen before in their previous loss against Florida in the 2007 BCS Championship.

Other Notables

1989, Browns blowout against Denver in AFC Championship Game

1992, Cavs loss to Bulls in Eastern Conference Finals

·         Cavaliers draft picks: Luke Jackson, Desagana Diop, Dajuan Wagner, Shannon Brown, and Vitaly Potapenko

·         Browns draft picks: Tim Couch, Courtney Brown, Gerard Warren, and William Green

So in conclusion, Cleveland teams have been bad over the years, but these teams above were good. Maybe it's just that they were not as good as their opponents, or they might not have much luck, but even so, I'm proud of these teams. One day, a Cleveland team, whether it will be the Browns, the Cavs, the Indians, or the Buckeyes, will show that they can do it and win a championship. Who knows, it could be next year, or in 20 years, but as long as I enjoy watching the play, I am fine, disregarding whatever the scoreboard says.

 

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