April 23, 2024

It was January 15, 1967 and the Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the first-ever Super Bowl. For Cleveland Browns fans back then they probably weren’t thinking that their beloved team would still be waiting 56 years later to even get to the big game. Their team had been a terror to the rest of the professional football teams back then. Led by their leader Paul Brown, the Browns won eight championships over a 20-year window. Their last championship win was in 1964 when they crushed the favored Baltimore Colts 27-0.

However, since that moment in time, Cleveland has only gotten close to getting to a Super Bowl a handful of times.

When I was growing up back in the 1970s and 80’s I didn’t think that my favorite team would still be seeking that first Super Bowl appearance. I’m now in my mid 50’s and that inspiring saying amongst Cleveland fans that “there’s always next year” isn’t as hopeful as it once suggested. Many fans my age now and those elders we still listen to who actually saw the Browns win championships in the past have come to terms with knowing that Cleveland reaching a Super Bowl will likely not happen again.

From an analytics view, the Browns probably have a better shot at getting to the Super Bowl than our hearts and minds can accept right now. There are only four NFL teams that have never been to the promised land that includes the Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houton Texans. As Cleveland fans, we know the Texans and Jags don’t really count in this discussion because they are so young in terms of franchise age. Lions fans though have a case for being such a suffering fan base too.

The irony though for Cleveland is that they were the best team in football for so long back in the day and now can’t get to the Super Bowl in contemporary times.

So, while the Ivey leaguers that are running the Browns organization these days try to make their numbers work and “act” like they know what they are doing, we as the Browns fan base know better. While some sports media folks will try and defend the organization to the end, Browns fans know best. Yes, we may sound bitter at times, but we are always “waiting till next year.” We will continue to pack the stadium and cheer on our time till we lose our voices. We’ll continue to buy the merchandise and bleed Orange and Brown.

For those younger Cleveland fans, I hope they won’t lose hope. It’s not that I have lost hope but the idea of getting to that Super Bowl grows dimmer with every year that passes. We will still keep cheering regardless of the outcome. Maybe by the 100th Super Bowl, Cleveland will have finally made it.

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