This is tough.
As I’ve said many times, if you asked me at the beginning of the season if I would be happy with 10 wins for the 2020 Browns, I would have been absolutely thrilled. However, with the way this year has gone, it’s just simply different.
Looking at this team, especially the defense, are they ready to contend for a Super Bowl? Most likely not.
Of course, a playoff birth with a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at First Energy Stadium (or another scenario) will be exciting. It’ll be the first time the Browns have made the playoffs since the 2002 season – a long 18 years. Basically, my whole life as a Browns fan has been filled with misery.
Let’s say the Browns win this matchup and get into the playoffs. While we never know, it’s hard to see this team making it very far against the best of the best on the biggest stage. I’d say they have a lot of work to do in order to be a true Super Bowl contender. Sure, wild card teams have won it all before, but it doesn’t happen often.
Yes, I’ll be extremely excited that the Browns got over that long playoff drought. I’ll finally get the chance to watch my team in a playoff game after all these years. That would be the preferred scenario, obviously.
BUT, win or lose on Sunday and this has to be looked at as a fantastic season. Here are just a couple of the many, many reasons.
- We finally have our franchise quarterback.
- We have amazing running backs and a great offense as a whole.
- We have a competent head coach.
- The identity of the team is changing with a winning season.
- The future is bright and there is an opportunity to improve the squad this offseason to be even better in 2021.
Yes, there are plenty more reasons, but those were just a few of the big ones.
Also (and there’s no way of knowing this for sure) but had the COVID-19 virus not struck the Browns before the Week 16 game against the Jets, it would have resulted as a victory and the Browns would have already clinched a playoff spot. Let’s not use the fact that all of the team’s starting wide receivers were out and Baker was throwing to a bunch of no-names as an excuse. Eh, I think that’s a pretty solid excuse even though the team did blow some opportunities and made mistakes in the loss.
Of course, I want the Browns to win. They *should* win a home game against the Steelers’ backup quarterback. Even if the horrible outcome of missing the playoffs does happen, wipe away those tears! It’s not as if the NFL gets to take away all of the talented players and coaches that will be in Cleveland for a long time.
Certainly, it will take me some time to get over the missed opportunity. However, in the long run, this team is on the right track for the future, win, lose or draw against the Steelers. Playoffs or not…
I’m excited about the coming years and you should be, too. From the draft, to free agency and the improvement of the players already on the roster, 2021 and beyond is going to be fun.
With all of that said, let’s make this easy…
BEAT THE STEELERS!!!