I’m starting to think that 1948 is the best year in Cleveland sports history. The Indians won a World Series (and haven’t won since) and the Browns were undefeated at 15-0. The only problem is that the record was achieved while the Browns were a part of the All-America Football Conference and, for some reason, it was agreed upon that records from the AAFC would not carry over when teams were absorbed into the NFL. And yet, records from the AFL were carried over when teams were absorbed. Like a mother fending off her child’s demands, the NFL’s explanation is simply this: “Because we said so.”
The major knock on this achievement willl be that the Browns played in an inferior league, making the accomplishment less memorable and nowhere near a worthy comparison to the 1972 Dolphins or the Patriots, assuming they win tomorrow (and I’m starting to assume that they will). However, in their first year of existence in the “superior” NFL, the Browns thrashed their first opponent, the two-time defending NFL champion Philadelphia Eagles, and went on to win the NFL Championship.
As the only team to never play in or host a Super Bowl, fans can at least take solace in the fact that the Browns were once undefeated, a record that should never be forgotten no matter what league it happened in. This year will mark 60 years since that undefeated season and the Indians’ last World Series championship. Maybe 2008 will bring back some glimpses of these teams’ glory days.