The Johnny Manziel Era is quickly approaching for the Cleveland Browns. Will it turn out to be just like every other season or have the Browns finally found the next Bernie Kosar? Today is the first day in a 15-part series where I will go back in my DeLorean time machine and review a Cleveland Browns season of the past. Starting with 1999, I will work my way toward 2014, each day examining a new season. Most of these Browns season left much to be desired in-terms of wins, but there were still memorable moments that all fans remember

The 1999 Season
Record: 2-14

Forget the return of LeBron James, after a three-year absence, the Cleveland Browns return to the shores of Lake Erie. Al Lerner won the bidding for the team for $750 million. The Browns would also begin play in a brand new state-of-the art stadium, fittingly titled “Cleveland Browns Stadium”, which was built on the site of old Municipal Stadium. The Browns officially started the NFL season, when they faced off against the Dallas Cowboys (a team that still had Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin) in the NFL Hall of Fame Game in Canton, OH. The “New” Browns would start their existence off with a 20-17 overtime win. A first of what would end up being many wins; at least that’s what fans expected. But before the season started, the Browns had a tough choice, Tim Couch (Kentucky), Donovan McNabb (Syracuse), or Akili Smith (Oregon). The 1999 NFL draft was loaded with potential franchise quarterbacks; armed with the #1 overall pick, the Browns needed to choose who their man would be. After weeks of research, they decided that that man was Tim Couch. The Browns would also draft Kevin Johnson (WR) in the second round and Daylon McCutcheon (DB) in the third round.
The regular season and first game in Cleveland since 1995 happened on September 12th against a familiar foe, the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers would welcome the Browns back with a 43-0 drubbing, a game in which the Steeler outgained the Browns 464-40. That’s right; the Browns gained a total of 40 yards in their return to the NFL. If there was a positive that came out of this game, the Browns had nowhere to go but up. In week 2, the Browns finally were able to cross the goal line for the first time, when Tim Couch threw a 39 yard touchdown pass to Kevin Johnson. However, the Browns weren’t able to generate anything more in a 26-9 loss to the Titans. In week 5, the Browns finally looked like they would get their first win of the new era, they had a 17-12 lead over the Bengals early in the 4th quarter. The score would remain that way until 5 seconds left, when Akili Smith tossed a 2 yard touchdown pass to Carl Pickens to give the Bengals a 18-17 lead and the win; leaving the Browns still searching for their first win. It was week 8, at New Orleans when the Browns finally won. With 21 seconds remaining in the game, the Saints kicked a field goal to give them 16-14 lead. It looked like the Browns would have to wait another week for their first victory, but Tim Couch decided he didn’t want to wait. The Browns had a chance to run one more play before the game would be over and Tim Couch launched a prayer towards the end zone, Kevin Johnson ended up catching it and the Browns had their first win since December 17, 1995. Two weeks later the Browns registered their second win of the season against Pittsburgh Steelers, courtesy of a last second, Phil Dawson field goal, which gave the Browns a 16-15 win. In week 14, Kevin Johnson registered the first 100 yard receiving game, with 7 receptions for 135 yards in a 44-28 loss to Cincinnati. In week 16, the last week of the season, the Browns were still looking for their first home win. Leading the Colts 28-19 going into the 4th quarter, it looked like they would get the win. However, the Colts had a guy named Peyton Manning, who was able to engineer a comeback and beat the Browns by a score of 29-28.

Pro Bowl: None
All-Pro: None

Offensive Stats
Total Points: 217 (31st out of 31)
Total Yards: 3762 (31st)

Passing Yards: Tim Couch – 2,447
Passing TD: Tim Couch – 15
Passing Int: Tim Couch – 13
QB Rating: Tim Couch – 73.2

Rush Att: Terry Kirby – 130
Rush Yards: Terry Kirby – 452
Rush TD: Terry Kirby – 6

Rec: Kevin Johnson – 66
Rec Yards: Kevin Johnson – 986
Rec TD: Kevin Johnson – 8

Defensive Stats
Total Points allowed: 437 (29th)
Total Yards allowed: 6047 (31st)

Tackles: Wali Rainer – 108
Sacks: John Thierry – 7.0
Int: Marquez Pope – 2

— Chris Sladoje (@CST_Doje)

Photo via cleveland.com

Cleveland Browns: Season in Review

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

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