NFL: Cleveland Browns into the season after a false start - hangover in Cleveland
Everything would be different in 2019. Not only were the fans of the Cleveland Browns convinced of this, but the experts also said: These Browns, who had been reinforced with stars from the US Football League NFL before the season, these Browns are on paper to the top ten teams. So it could work out with the first playoffs for 17 years.
Last Sunday, therefore, everything was done for a big party, but then went straight to the first home game of the season against the Tennessee Titans lost. And crashing. Quarterback hopeful Baker Mayfield threw three interceptions and was bagged five times by the Titans' defense. Added to this were 18 penalties for 182 yards, a record in the team's 68-year history.
13:34 ended in Cleveland so eagerly awaited opening match. Several fans already left the stadium in the middle of the last quarter. Halfway through the match, there were boos and whistles against their own team in the face of a 6: 12 deficit.
Strengthened with stars from the NFL
The extremely high expectations awoke the team in the offseason, in which they picked, among others, Odell Bekcham Jr. from the New York Giants. Many consider him the best wide receiver, in any case he is one of the most spectacular players in this position.
Also from the Giants Olivier Vernon came as a defensive end, who came in the past season on seven quarterback sacks in eleven games. In addition, the Browns committed the controversial Kareem Hunt. The star running back had been fired by the Kansas City Chiefs after attacking and kicking a woman in a hotel corridor. The NFL suspended Hunt for eight games, he is the Browns until the second half of the season available.
That the hunger for success in Cleveland is so great, is also due to the history of the team: The Browns were a founding member of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) in 1946, brought in the first four years, all championships. Subsequently, the Browns won three more NFL titles in the pre-Super Bowl era and were one of the dominant teams of the fifties and early sixties.
Old Browns and New Ravens
The shock came in 1995, when the then owner Art Model decided to relocate the team from Cleveland to Baltimore in 1996. The city agreed by model that Brown's name and team history rights would remain in Cleveland, while the new team was named Baltimore Ravens.
But the original Browns took home the core of a team that had put together, among others, Bill Belichick, today's most successful head coach in NFL history, and who was systematically reinforced by Brown's player legend Ozzie Newsome, who now serves as General Manager of the Ravens. This crew, the old Browns, won the Super Bowl as new Ravens within five years of moving.
In 1999, the Cleveland Browns resumed the game operation, but could not build on previous successes. Only once (2002) they reached the playoffs since 1999, never before was the club in the Super Bowl. In 2017, the Browns became the second team in NFL history to end a season with zero wins and 16 defeats. Years of mismanagement and spectacular draft failures such as Johnny Manziel, Brandon Weeden and Tim Couch have marked the past 20 years.
2019 should finally be the season in which everything is different. But the disillusionment followed already on the first matchday.
As bad as ever?
Delanie Walker was already making fun of the Cleveland hype right after the game: "You can crown them all if you want," the Titans tight end told reporters in the dressing room, "they still have to play football just the team we expected. " A polite description of the fact that he considers the Browns to be just as bad as in previous years.
The Browns are a team with a head coach in his first and a quarterback in his second season. In addition, there is a difficult schedule: Already in the first half of the season, it will be against Super Bowl finalist Los Angeles Rams, the arch rival to Baltimore, to the re-strengthened 49ers to San Francisco, against Seattle and Super Bowl winner New England Patriots. A home win against Titans would have been extremely important in many ways.
Next Monday, the Browns will join the New York Jets. Also this team is considered a classic underachiever, lost the first home game after a 16-0 lead in the third quarter still 16:17 against the Buffalo Bills. If the Browns also lose this match, the odds of a positive season should fall dramatically.