Turn back the clock: 5 Memorable Cleveland Browns home openers
By John Suchan
The Cleveland Browns have had a history of not winning many home openers, but they’ve had some classics nonetheless that have stuck in our memories
On Sunday, the Cleveland Browns welcome the New York Jets in their home opener, and they’ll be looking to go to 2-0 for the first time since 1993. Last week they got the opening season win against the Carolina Panthers and that helped break an 18-year drought of winning a first game of the season.
Winning home openers hasn’t happened very often either in the recent Browns’ history. Since 1980, the team has only registered 10 victories to open things up at home (1987, 1989, 1990,1993,1995, 2004, 2014, 2015, 2020, and 2021). That’s not exactly something to write home about and has been an embarrassment to the franchise.
Despite these losing trends, Cleveland has had some very memorable home openers regardless. Some of those have been wins while others have been heartbreaking losses so let’s take a look back at several that have stayed in our memory bank.
5 memorable Cleveland Browns home openers
No. 5: 1995 Browns vs. Buccaneers, win 22-6
This would be the last home opener for Cleveland in Municipal Stadium, but no one knew that at the time. The Browns would leave the city at season’s end and move to Baltimore to become the Ravens.
The team came into the year with a lot of optimism as they had made the playoffs the previous campaign behind the quarterback play of Vinny Testaverde. He would lead the charge in this game as the team built a 19-0 lead in the first half. Wide receiver Keenan McCardell would catch two touchdown passes and the Cleveland defense had a field day, sacking the Buccaneer quarterback Trent Dilfer seven times.
In an interesting historical twist, Dilfer would end up becoming the quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens in 2000 and win a Super Bowl with them. He then came to the Browns in a trade before the 2005 season and was their starter briefly (but hey, wasn’t everybody at some point).
After the 1995 victory, it would be almost a decade before the Browns would win another home opener, but they did have a few games in between that were definitely memorable and controversial.