This might be hard for young people to believe, but the Cleveland Browns were once a great franchise. So great, in fact, that they’ve had a winning record throughout the history of their franchise — until now.
With last night’s loss to the Ravens, the Browns’ all-time NFL record is 461-461-10. It’s the first time the Browns have ever been a .500 all-time team since they entered the NFL in 1950.
The Browns actually began outside the NFL, starting play in 1946 in the All-America Football Conference. That league existed for four years, and the Browns won the championship in all four of those years. The AAFC then folded, and the Browns were among the teams that moved to the NFL. In their first NFL season the Browns won the league championship. They made the league championship game in each of the next five years as well, and they had a losing record just once in their first 24 NFL seasons.
But all good things come to an end, and the Browns have been a lousy team for most of the last three decades, including both the franchise that moved to Baltimore to become the Ravens, and the new Browns, who still maintain the records of the old Browns according to the NFL’s official standings. Currently, the Browns are on a run of nine consecutive losing seasons. Last night’s loss made them a .500 team for the first time ever, and a loss next week to the Steelers would make them a losing team for the first time ever.
The new regime in Cleveland has big plans for stockpiling draft picks and young players and eventually turning things around. Cleveland fans can only dream that that approach can make the Browns great again.