The Cleveland Browns began professional play in 1946 as part of the All-America Football Conference. Named after co-founder and head coach, Paul Brown, the team would absolutely dominate the AAFC. The Browns won every championship in the league’s four-year existence.
Following the dissolution of the AAFC, the Browns entered the NFL. The franchise continued as it had been, going to the championship game every year from 1950-1955, winning three of those contests. Led by Jim Brown, the team went back to the championship game in 1963 and 1964, winning in ’63.
The AFL-NFL merger took place in 1970. It seemed nothing would change for the Browns as they were back in the playoffs in 1971 and 1972. But the years following would see a significant decline. They would go back to the playoffs in 1980, however, in an era when they were known as the Kardiac Kids, but they wouldn’t make it passed the first round.
A young 1985 draft pick by the name of Bernie Kosar would change the fortunes of the Browns for a while as he led the team to playoff appearances five seasons in a row, winning the division championship in four of those attempts. However, after the 1989 season, the Browns would once again see a decline.
In 1995 things would get even worse for faithful Browns fans. Owner Art Modell angered at the city’s seeming unwillingness to help fund a new stadium, announced he was going to relocate the team to Baltimore. Fans immediately began protesting and doing everything they could to stop the move. In the end, they couldn’t stop it, but there would be no Baltimore Browns. An agreement was reached in which the city would keep the team name, colors, and all records.
For the first time an entire team was moved, yet considered an expansion team. The Cleveland Browns were officially listed by the NFL as having ‘suspended play’. In 1999 fans would get their beloved Browns back, but in another oddity, for the first time ever a non-expansion team would have to fill its roster through the expansion draft.
Although they weren’t technically an expansion team, they have suffered the adversity of an expansion team. They did make the playoffs in 2002 but otherwise hadn’t given fans much to cheer about. In 2012 Jimmy Haslam bought the team and things seemed to go from bad to worse. At one point the team had a combined two-year record of 1-31. But he must be doing something right. In 2020 the Browns had a breakout year and found themselves in the playoffs again. Since then they have continued to be a very competitive team that is no longer taken lightly in the league.
The team has a rich history and great accomplishments to look back on. 29 combined playoff appearances between the NFL and AAFC, 12 combined division championships, 11 conference titles, and 8 combined league championships. With that being said, no fan base has suffered through so many years of turmoil and adversity as Browns fans. Yet they have stuck by their team through it all. Even during the ‘suspended play’ years. You won’t find a more loyal fan base in any sport anywhere in the world.
With their consistent play in recent seasons, the Browns seem poised to return back to their former greatness. You don’t want to be left on the sidelines for this. Watch it all unfold, game after game, on NFL Webcast. No need to buy an expensive sports package or multiple streaming services. NFL Webcast is the only streaming service you need and it’s 100% FREE!
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