A Packers team press release leading up to Thursday’s Packers-Browns preseason game stated: “The two franchises have produced some of the greatest teams and players the league has ever seen.”
To see the Browns and the word “great” in the same sentence is laughable. A once proud franchise has fallen on hard times.
To put it politely, the Browns have been an embarrassment for as long as anyone can remember. They are an NFL doormat and laughingstock. Over the past 20-plus
years their record goes beyond putrid.
Beginning in 1990, they have exactly three winning records to their credit and two playoff berths. By comparison, the Packers have 16 winning records and 14 playoff berths over that span.
To be fair, the Browns went out of existence for three seasons (1996-98) when owner Art Modell stiff-armed the city of Cleveland and moved the team to Baltimore to become the Ravens. The Browns resurfaced in 1999 as an expansion franchise, but in the 13 seasons since they’ve been beyond awful.
The new Browns have produced two winning records, one playoff berth (in 2002), no
division titles and no post-season victories.
Pity the poor Cleveland fans, who have suffered year after year and must be wondering if their team will ever turn things around.
The Browns have exactly one playoff victory to their credit in the last 22 years. The
Packers, by comparison, have 16 playoff victories over the same time period.
The Browns have zero division titles since 1990, while the Packers can boast eight.
Since returning to the NFL in 1999, the Browns’ overall record is 68-140. The Packers, by comparison, are 60 games better at 128-80.
To put it another way, the Packers have averaged 10 victories per season over the last 13 years, while the Browns have averaged five.
That’s beyond brutal for the Browns and their fans. Perhaps the Browns can glean some hope from the Packers, who went through a rough patch between 1968 and 1991, when they produced just five winning records and two playoff appearances during a 24-season span.
But in truth, the Packers’ Gory Years could be considered respectable when matched up against the horrid Browns over the past 20-plus years.
From 1968, when Vince Lombardi retired as coach, until the 1992 season when Ron Wolf and Mike Holmgren took over, the Packers went 145-201-9, a .421 winning percentage.
From 1990 through the present, the Browns have a 107-197 record, a .352 winning
Maybe most galling of all for Cleveland fans is that they had to watch their former Browns team, masquerading as the Ravens, win a Super Bowl following the 2000 season.
They have also watched as one of their former coaches, Bill Belichick, has taken the
Patriots to three Super Bowl titles and two more appearances in the big game.
Perhaps new ownership this year will bring new hope for the downtrodden franchise. How can things possibly get worse?
Reach Vandermause at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @MikeVandermause.