18 years. You don’t realize how long it’s been until you think about how old you were when it happened. I was only 6- years old at the time. My memories of 2002 were faint, and I barely remember anything. 18 years later, there weren’t many good memories to latch on to. From countless QBs that filled out the infamous Quarterback jersey, to coaches that all were blurring together because of how inept they were; there wasn’t a beacon of hope from the franchise that my dad had passed down to me.
Just like my generation, we sat through countless Sundays in the fall, constantly wondering why I fell in love with this team, wondering why a team could be this bad, this dysfunctional, and how we as fans would still watch this pathetic product at 1 pm on a Sunday. Through these 18 years, we have developed Stockholm Syndrome as a fan base, hoping for the best, while knowing deep down this might be the same clown show that we’ve come accustom to. This season was when it broke me of that feeling.
This 2020 Cleveland Browns team had every excuse to think that this season wouldn’t be possible. The Browns were starting over again, this time with Kevin Stefanski and Andrew Berry taking over after a miserable 2019 season. Due to covid-19 running havoc across the country, it shortened the preseason. It was very easy for me to assume “same ole’ Browns”. After week one against a Ravens team that saw the Browns get boat raced, it was predictable to fall into the trap, and we didn’t have anything else to fall back on except the same habits we’ve developed from losing all the time. Yet, the Browns never let it define them and went on to win 11 games after that debacle.
That is the story of the 2020 Cleveland Browns, they didn’t let any game define their season. Even after losing key players like Nick Chubb or Wyatt Teller through periods of the season; even when Covid took away players, they always found a way to keep moving forward. The fact they never lost consecutive games is a testament to the mental fortitude that Kevin Stefanski has instilled in this team. They were never the bumbling, stumbling Browns we have come to know and loathe. These were the Browns that rolled with the punches and found a way to give the city its best season in forever and reward this long-suffering fan base with a playoff appearance that this team and city so desperately wanted. It is still surreal to think that it only took 18 years for that to happen.
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