Believe It Or Don’t: The Browns Are Legit Wild-Card Sleepers

Cleveland went 0-16 last year, hasn’t appeared in the playoffs since 2002, and has failed to win five or more games in 10 of the past 12 seasons. Should the team adopt this helmet design as a symbol of their continued ineptitude, or will their fortunes turn around in 2018? (Art: Scott Maxim)

This might be hard for anyone born after 1960 to believe, but the Cleveland Browns used to be good.

In fact, they once were a powerhouse. Their dominance between their inaugural season in 1946 and 1955 makes Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots look less like a dynasty and more like a — cue the air quotes — “dynasty.” Cleveland won 10 consecutive division titles and made the championship game every year over that stretch. The Browns won seven championships and added one more in 1964, trailing only the Green Bay Packers (13) and Chicago Bears (9) on the all-time list.

As the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars showed us in 2016 and 2017, a franchise’s fortunes can change in an instant. The 2018 Browns won’t remind you of Paul Brown’s dominant squads of 70 years ago, but this is a team primed for a big step forward and, with a few breaks, very well could shock the world and snag eight or nine wins and a wild-card berth. READ MORE>