A Cleveland Browns Week 16 victory will clinch this elusive claim
If the Cleveland Browns can defeat the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, they can do something they have not done since the beginning of the decade.
Any idea what year it was the last time the Cleveland Browns didn’t finish last place in the AFC North?
Here’s a hint: the head coach’s last name kinda rhymed with Houdini. Well, Handgini.
Here’s another hint: the Browns went 5-11 that year and had two pro-bowlers on the team – center Alex Mack and left tackle Joe Thomas.
Still not sure?
Last hint: The main quarterback that season was a rookie who replaced the injured Jake Delhomme and his backup Seneca Wallace, a replacement who went 2-6 in the eight Browns games he started and who is currently on injured reserved as a backup to Alex Smith for the Washington Redskins.
His name rhymes with Dolt McBoy.
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What year was it the last time the Browns didn’t finish last place in the AFC North? The year was 2010, close to a decade ago.
For social perspective, Lost was the hit TV show, Lil Wayne and Ludacris were poppin’ and The Social Network was the hit movie release.
But in Cleveland, the Browns head coach was Eric ‘Micromanager’ Mangini, who would lose his job after that season having gone 10-22 in his two sad Cleveland years.
The rookie quarterback was a third-round draft pick who played college ball for the University of Texas named Colt McCoy, whose final record in his three Cleveland seasons was a thin 6-15.
Funny, when the Browns drafted McCoy as pick number 85 overall, he had this to say to the press:
"“I can’t wait to be a Cleveland Brown and that we’re going to win a lot of games. Cleveland has a little orange in their jerseys just like UT. It’s a perfect fit.”"
Uh, no it wasn’t.
In 2010, McCoy went 3-5 at home and 2-6 on the road, and the only reason his 5-11 Browns weren’t in last place that season was because the Bengals were a terrible 4-12.
In 2010, the Browns beat the Bengals at home in Week 4 by a score of 23-20, but they lost to them the second time they played in Week 15 in Cincinnati by a score of 17-19.
Well, that just can’t happen tomorrow in Cleveland when the surging Dawgs face the injured Hue-infected kitties for the second time this season, this time in front of the Cleveland home crowd.
Because a Week 16 victory clinches at least third place in the AFC North for the first time since 2010.
What an accomplishment for a team that’s faced so many management, coaching and personnel changes in those eight painful years.
Of course, third place is nothing to brag about except when you’ve been in fourth place since the last time the New Orleans Saints have won the Super Bowl.
A solid Week 16 defeat of the Cincinnati Bengals says some things about the all-new Dorsey-Williams-Kitchens-Baker Browns.
A win says: “Put a wounded, losing team in front of us and we will make quick and easy work of it.”
A win says: “The Browns might not go to the playoffs, but they will win out this season and prove they’re future worthy.”
A win says: “Toldya, Coach Jackson.”
Those are things only winning teams get to say.
What year was it the last time the Browns didn’t finish last place in the AFC North?
Beat the Bengals in Week 16 and the answer is 2018.