5 Most disappointing seasons in Cleveland Browns history
There were several other Browns seasons that left a traumatic impact on the psyche of DPD’s two contributors. In chronological order, 1956 was a disappointment because it was the first year without Otto Graham, the first year without a winning record, and in fact the first year that the Browns failed to make the Championship.
1962 was the year that Art Modell fired Paul Brown. That could have been listed also, but we felt that there was a sequence of Art Modell disasters. Perhaps firing Paul Brown was more shocking than disappointing.
There were actually four tough years in the Schottenheimer era, which were filled with excitement and a letdown in the playoffs. There was “The Drive” in which the Broncos drove 99 yards down the field to kill the Browns, then “The Fumble” by Earnest Byner, which scarred the running back for life (Earnest! Did you give up 38 points that game? No? Then quit blaming yourself and give some credit to the defense for digging a giant hole that you and the Browns offense could not quite get out of).
At the end of the day, the Dawg Pound, for the most part, forgives the heroic Byner and the embattled coach, who should never have been fired by Modell. That is why we chose 1988 over other playoff meltdowns.
The Manziel years 2014-2015 were another disappointment, as owner meddling led the Browns to draft young Johnny Manziel and start him in what should have been his junior year in college. Truth to tell, however, the biggest disappointments came in the off-season, when Johnny was a loser to substance abuse. He was an exciting player in 2015 and there was some general optimism that the team was moving in the right direction until the train came off the tracks in the offseason.
All these disappointments and lost opportunities come back to haunt us, and maybe they will stay with us forever. Nevertheless, they start over each season at 0-0 and there is a chance to redeem themselves each year. That also is the nature of sports.