Plenty has happened since last Browns road playoff win
Let’s put the recent Cleveland Browns playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in historical perspective.
If you have been a Cleveland Browns fan as long as I have, you may have experienced these life “stressors” and / or milestones between Browns road playoff wins:
¯ Getting cut by your Little League baseball team after the first spring practice;
¯ Falling “in love” with Marcia Brady after watching the first episode of “The Brady Bunch” on primetime Friday night on ABC-TV. In proceeding years, the above “crush” subjects would include Farrah Fawcett and the other “Charlie’s Angels” plus Dorothy Hamill of 1976 Winter Olympic skating fame;
¯ Getting rejected three times when asking someone to the senior high prom;
¯ Getting diplomas from both high school and college and watching both of your offspring do the same;
¯ Watching the births of above-mentioned offspring plus five of their offsprings.
You get the picture?
A lot of people’s professional careers have fit nicely into the five-decade plus time period between Dec. 28, 1969 — the day the Browns defeated Craig Morton and his Dallas Cowboys, 38-14, in the NFL Divisional Playoff game at the old Cotton Bowl in Dallas — and Jan. 10, 2021, the day the Browns made Ben Roethlisberger and his Steelers cry at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
I couldn’t get to sleep after watching Sunday’s exploits of the Brown and Orange in its 48-37 victory that set up this coming Sunday’s matchup (CBS-TV at 3:05 p.m.) between the Browns and top-seed and defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City.
If you want to play connect the dots with more history, consider this:
The weekend after the Browns beat the Cowboys in the aforementioned 1969 road playoff victory, the Browns had to travel to frigid Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minn., to meet the top-seeded and Super Bowl-bound Minnesota Vikings who had a frightening defense nicknamed the “Purple People Eaters.”
The Browns unfortunately lost, 27-7, as Canadian football league refugee Joe Kapp led the way with his scrambling and passing.
This coming Sunday the Browns will have to face another scrambling, passing offensive force at QB named Patrick Mahomes.
Of course, the 1969 NFL Champion Vikings were to meet another Kansas City Chiefs team in the fourth Super Bowl and were knocked off 23-7 because of the exploits of the Chiefs’ Alliance, Ohio-bred quarterback Lenny Dawson.
There you go, football history … all tied up in a nice bow.
But I keep thinking about that 1969 playoff season … the next year, the NFL and the old AFL merged and three teams from the NFL — the Browns, Steelers and then-Baltimore Colts — joined the 10 AFL teams to create the American Football Conference.
That same spring, Warren native and Browns superstar Paul Warfield was traded to the Miami Dolphins. Our beloved grid team would never be the same … only winning four home playoff games and losing 11 others, whether at home or away, during the next half-century.
The Browns, who dominated the NFL in the 1950s, lost that league status to the hated Steelers, whose fans now consider their team the “big brothers” in this fractured fraternal relationship. Three of those Browns home playoff wins (after 1986, ’87 and ’89 AFC Central Division titles) set up AFC Championship matchups against John Elway and the Denver Broncos that brought about the epic “The Drive” and “The Fumble” finishes that have haunted Browns fans for decades.
The final playoff win during this 51-year stretch was well-documented during Sunday night’s NBC telecast by announcers Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth. They showed film clips of the Jan. 1, 1995, showdown between teacher and student … when Bill Belichick’s Browns beat Bill Parcells’ New England Patriots, with the student and future Super Bowl dominator winning.
Of course, while he was moving the team to Baltimore in 1995, Art Modell fired Belichick — whose Browns tenure was noted for benching Boardman native Bernie Kosar at QB.
Hey … the Baltimore Ravens … what do you think about the Ravens beating the Buffalo Bills on Saturday and the Browns somehow getting by the Chiefs on Sunday to set up the perfect ending to this COVID-19 pandemic-plagued NFL season?
Browns vs. Ravens with the winner going to the Super Bowl.
Yes, history can be sooooo boring…