It takes time. This is a saying preached by Browns management for well over a decade now. The words have been whispered by the likes of Al Lerner, Mike Holmgren, and Sashi Brown. Even current Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has spoken the words into an active microphone. In every case, the dialogue has proven empty, until now. With GM John Dorsey flipping the situation on its head roughly one year ago, the Cleveland fan base has established faith in something that hasn’t been seen outside of a religious service.
While things are still in the early stages of righting the Browns’ ship, one needs to look no further for proof than the Dorsey-built Kansas City Chiefs who were essentially a coin flip away from this year’s Super Bowl. If the Chiefs are the Avengers, then Dorsey is Nick Fury, masterfully uniting a plethora of talent capable of taking on any opposition (which would make Bill Belichick Thanos, but I digress). When it comes to assembling a team of the best, Dorsey is one of the best around for the job. So what is the point in all of this? The road to a title.
I think one of the greatest watermarks in pro football management can be found in the early 1990’s story of the Dallas Cowboys. From 1988 to 1990, the team drafted future Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin, respectively. In 1989, Jimmy Johnson took over as head coach and the team went 1-15, following Tom Landry’s final year at 3-13. Under Johnson’s tutelage a year later, the team improved to 7-9. From there they increased their winning ways to 11-5, then in 1992 went 13-3, going on to win the Lombardi Trophy. In 1993, they won one less game, but continued their laser focus and repeated as Super Bowl champs. When all was said and done, the Cowboys won three championships in four seasons from ’92 to ’95.
Let’s take a look at the similarities in our own backyard. After two abysmal seasons, the Browns switched head coaches (albeit temporarily), and finished 7-9 after going 0-16 the year prior. In 2018 we traded for ace receiver Jarvis Landry and signed him long term. The same year we found our franchise quarterback with the first overall pick and then took running back Nick Chubb a day later in the second round. Then, of course, is the recent anointment of offensive schemer Freddie Kitchens as head coach. Granted, it takes more than three players and a new head coach to make an offense tick, but the main keys to our scoring success are in place.
Will the 2019 Browns’ season follow that same Jimmy Johnson-guided path toward perpetual improvement and ultimate glory? Things are certainly shaping up that way, and not to sound cliché, but time will tell. All good things come to those who wait, right? We Browns fans know a lot about exercising patience, but this time the air feels different, and I’m not talking about the recent polar vortex. This time, there’s a feel to the team’s future that’s invigorating. I’m excited, to say the least. I’m excited about free agency. I’m excited about the draft. I’m excited about training camp. So as we move forward through this Super Bowl Sunday, let’s hope that on this day in the very near future, the Browns will be one of the teams to grace the field and face off for that big silver trophy