CLEVELAND, Ohio — Cleveland just missed its shot at the first three-playoff professional sports year in the history of the city, so welcome to 2019, where things will get better, and worse, and stay the same.
Give the Browns that week 17 win over Baltimore and switch the result of the Oakland overtime fiasco, and Cleveland would be taking part in playoff football this weekend for the first time in 16 years.
Cleveland also would have watched three playoff teams in the same calendar year for the first time ever.
It may seem like decades ago, but in 2018 you watched the Cavaliers make the NBA Finals.
It may seem like years ago, but in 2018, you watched the Indians win the AL Central and make the playoffs.
And it may seem like 10 seconds ago, but in 2018, you almost saw the Browns make the playoffs.
The Cavs feel like they’re gone and the Indians feel like they’re fading, but the Browns are with you. Thirty-five weeks until the 2019 NFL regular season kicks off.
The last time the Browns made the playoffs, after the 2002 season, the Cavs were coming off a 29-53 season. No playoffs. The Indians had gone 74-88 and fired Charlie Manuel. No playoffs.
The time before that, after the 1994 season, the Cavaliers were in the midst of a five-year playoff streak. The Indians were on the cusp of their run, finishing second in the AL Central, but baseball canceled the postseason.
Before that, in 1989, the Cavs were a playoff team, but they had been ousted by The Shot from Michael Jordan. The Indians scuffled along with 73 wins. No playoffs.
Never have these three teams produced playoff seasons in the same calendar year. There were, of course, the years before Cleveland had NBA basketball. In 1954, the Indians lost the last game of the World Series on Oct. 2, and the Browns won the NFL Championship 84 days later. Not bad.
In 1948, the Indians won the World Series on Oct. 11, and the Browns won the AAFC Championship 69 days later.
Enough with the past. It’s forward, to Baker Mayfield and a year of living dangerously.
Look ahead, not back, and for me that means no more Hue Jackson. He’s gone, and though I’ve never been more right about anything than I was about Jackson, he has nothing to do with the Browns bright future. My New Year’s resolution is to move on.
First, let’s wrap up this tough three-year slog of rebuilding for the Browns that led the franchise to this point. Here are the regular-season NFL records over the last three seasons.
It’s important to know where you came from: