From 1996-98, the city of Cleveland, Ohio, was minus an NFL team.
Over the past 15 seasons, with a new franchise in place, it’s been somewhat hard to tell the difference.
The rapid fan base of the Cleveland Browns hasn’t had much to cheer about since the team reappeared in 1999 as an expansion team. It has been a rough 15 years for one of the signature football venues in America. And unfortunately for the residents of the “Dawg Pound,” they have been watching their team getting pounded on a continuous basis for too many years.
Since 1999, the Browns have lost more than twice as many games (163) than they have won (77). Since finishing 10-6 in ’80, the franchise is a combined 27-69 and has lost at least 11 games in each of those six seasons. The team has made one playoff appearance since its resurrection. That was back in 2002, when Butch Davis and his club wound up blowing a 17-point lead in a wild card loss to the rival Pittsburgh Steelers.
Enter Mike Pettine, the Browns’ eighth head coach dating back to ’99 and the third different sideline leader in as many years.
However, first things first and that’s getting back on the winning track. The Browns enter 2014 riding a seven-game losing streak. But you have to start somewhere.
This is the fourth part of a 32-team series in which we’ll look at the “if, and & but’s” of each team’s chances to make the postseason.
And Cleveland will reach the playoffs for the first time since 2002…