Hoping for Reversal In Browns’ Fortunes
As virtually a lifelong Cleveland Browns fan, I must admit that I am extremely disappointed and quite discouraged as to what this once very proud and ultra-successful franchise has now become.
I would like to begin with a review of the “early days” in the history of the Browns, when they were perhaps arguably the best team in professional football.
The Browns became a professional football franchise in 1946, as a member of the then-newly formed All-American Football Conference, chief rival of the already well-established National Football League, where they reigned as league champions for the 1946, 1947, 1948 and 1949 seasons, each year of the conference’s existence, entering the NFL in 1950, and winning championships during the 1950, 1954, 1955 and 1964 seasons, and were league runners-up in 1951, 1952, 1953, 1957, 1965, 1968 and 1969, with their earlier successes under the leadership of the iconic and innovative head coach Paul Brown.
In retrospect, the Browns were arguably the best team in the NFL, and professional football, prior to the ascension of the Green Bay Packers under Vince Lombardi in the 1960s.
However, in 1961 Art Modell became the owner of the Browns, and early on in his tenure perhaps showed his arrogance and lack of respect by his disrespectful firing of their very successful head coach, Paul Brown, and decided to fine the greatest football player of all time, Browns running back Jim Brown, for his inability to attend and participate in preseason exercises in 1966, as a result of his role in the filming of the motion picture “The Dirty Dozen,” which led to Mr. Brown’s premature retirement from professional football.
All this and more, prior to Modell doing the unthinkable and breaking the hearts of Browns fans everywhere by relocating the franchise to Baltimore following the 1995 season, even though the Cleveland franchise was, and had been, extremely successful financially, as well as by all other critical aspects of operation and performance for decades.
Perhaps that is the reason why Mr. Modell has not as yet been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, in spite of his work in being instrumental in negotiating very lucrative television contracts for the NFL over the years.
Another bit of irony is the fact that current New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who is widely considered as the finest professional football coach of this era, was head coach of the Browns from 1991 through 1995, when the Browns then departed for Baltimore.
In 1999, the Cleveland Browns returned to the NFL as an “expansion” team, but were permitted by the league to keep the history of the original Browns with them.
However, sadly since their “return” to the NFL the Browns have consistently been the epitome of futility, including their winning only one out of 16 games in 2016, while going winless thus far this season.
The Cleveland Browns, a once-proud franchise, is now perhaps the most incompetent and futile organization in all of professional sports.
I do, however, remain a devoted Browns fan and hope that in the relatively near future that their fortunes will have a clear and decisive change for the better.