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“I don’t want to tip our hands, but I think [the Richardson trade] puts us in a very good position,” said Banner, who now has 10 picks in next year’s draft. “I think we’re positioning ourselves to build the kind of team that is good and sustainable.”
On Sunday, Hoyer will become the Browns’ 19th different starting quarterback since 1999. Failures at that position are key to the team going 73-153 in that time. That record includes 11 seasons of double-digit losses, including a current five-year streak of 11 or more losses. The Browns haven’t made the playoffs since 2002 and haven’t won a playoff game since 1994.
Jinx is a popular word in Cleveland, where there have been no championships in a major sport since the Browns won the 1964 NFL title. As far as Super Bowls go, Cleveland is 0-0 as the only NFL city that hasn’t played in or hosted one.
“Wow,” said Vikings practice squad receiver Adam Thielen, a native Minnesotan who grew up rooting for all the Twin Cities sports teams. “1964? That’s crazy. Of course, I was born in 1990 so I don’t have any memory of our last championship [1991 Twins] either.”
Cleveland is where Bill Belichick was a sub-.500 coach before moving on and becoming possibly the greatest coach in NFL history. It’s where the Browns were really good when John Elway was really great. It’s where the Cavaliers were really good when Michael Jordan was really great. It’s where Jose Mesa, a reliever with 321 career saves, blew a one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series.
“We have more two- and three-word [phrases] for heartbreak than any other city there is,” Dieken said. “ ‘Red right 88,’ ‘The Drive,’ ‘The Fumble,’ ‘The Shot,’ ‘The Blown Save.’ It’s a little bit of everything. And it’s to the point that if you were to write a book on Cleveland, you’d stop and say, you just can’t make [it] up.”
The misery goes on
LeBron James used “The Decision” to take his talents to South Beach, where he’s won two NBA titles. The late Art Modell took his team to Baltimore, renamed it the Ravens and remained owner long enough to hoist one of the team’s two Lombardi trophies.
In 1995, the original Browns selected Ohio State linebacker Craig Powell as their final first-round draft pick. In 1996, the Ravens’ two first-rounders were Hall of Fame left tackle Jonathan Ogden and future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis. Lewis played 17 seasons. Powell played 14 games and didn’t start a one.
“I don’t believe in jinxes, and I’m a guy who went to Three Rivers Stadium to play the Steelers 14 times and never won,” Dieken said. “People always talked about the ‘Three Rivers Jinx.’ We had priests [bless us]. Every time we’d lose, [Modell] had us stay in a new hotel in Pittsburgh. I could have worked in the chamber of commerce in Pittsburgh because I’ve seen all their hotels.”
All about talent
Of course, the Steelers were winning four Super Bowls during the decade that the superstitious Browns spent shopping for hotels in Pittsburgh. Three decades later, the Browns would help the rival Steelers tack on two more titles and another Super Bowl appearance.
In one of the more painful of their many quarterback misjudgments, the Browns selected tight end Kellen Winslow II sixth overall in 2004. Six picks later, the Steelers took an Ohio-born kid named Ben Roethlisberger.
“You can talk about jinxes all you want,” Dieken said. “But at the end of the day, it all comes down to who has the best ballplayers and coaching staffs. Until you get that combination, you aren’t going to be competitive year in and year out.”
Obviously, the Browns want to compete. Whether or not that includes this season is a question that likely will be debated long after Sunday’s game against the Vikings.
|Dallas||12/9/13 7:40 PM|
|San Diego||12/12/13 7:25 PM|
|Miami||101||4th Qtr 5:57|
|Orlando||37||2nd Qtr 1:33|
|San Jose||0||3rd Prd 13:45|
|Boston||0||2nd Prd 14:57|
|Washington||2||2nd Prd 13:56|
|Florida||0||2nd Prd 18:56|
|Colorado||0||1st Prd 19:06|
|SW Oklahoma St||55||FINAL|
|San Diego St||70|
|Boston College||32||2nd Half 19:24|
|Seton Hall||4||1st Half 17:19|
|Eastern Wash||7:30 PM|
|(13) Oklahoma State||24|
|(16) Arizona State||14|
|(1) Florida State||45|
|(7) Ohio State||24||FINAL|
|(4) Michigan State||34|
|(21) Fresno State||24|
|Army||12/14/13 2:00 PM|
|(10) Penn State||77||FINAL|
|Central Conn St||82||FINAL|
|(12) South Carolina||76||FINAL|
|Cal State Fullerton||52||FINAL|
|(20) Iowa State||79|
|Stephen F Austin||83||FINAL|
|Long Beach St||67||FINAL|
|Aug 9 - vs. Houston||7 pm||X||27-13|
|Aug 16 - at Buffalo||6 pm||X||20-16|
|Aug 25 - at San Francisco||7 pm||X||34-14|
|Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee||7 pm||X||24-23|
|2013 regular season|
|Sep 8 - at Detroit||Noon||X||34-24|
|Sep 15 - at Chicago||Noon||X||31-30|
|Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland||Noon||X||31-27|
|Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London)||Noon||X||34-27|
|Oct 6 - Bye|
|Oct 13 - vs. Carolina||Noon||X||35-10|
|Oct 21 - at. NY Giants||7:40 pm||X||23-7|
|Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay||7:30 pm||X||44-31|
|Nov 3 - at Dallas||Noon||X||27-23|
|Nov 7 - vs. Washington||7:25 pm||X||34-27|
|Nov 17 - at Seattle||3:25 pm||X||41-20|
|Nov. 24 - at Green Bay||Noon||26-26|
|Dec 1 - vs. Chicago||Noon||X||23-20|
|Dec 8 - at Baltimore||Noon|
|Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia||Noon|
|Dec 22 - at Cincinnati||Noon|
|Dec 29 - vs. Detroit||Noon|