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It genuinely blows my mind that less than one year ago, the Browns were an 0-16 team and made their way into the record books in the worst possible way. Less than one year ago, we lost our future first-ballot Hall of Famer, Joe Thomas, ultimately for good. Less than one year ago, we had a 1-31 record under the tenure of Hue Jackson and multiple blown draft picks under the direction of Sashi Brown. It’s incredible, really, the number of things that have gone wrong for the Browns over the past two decades. It would be a huge understatement to say that being a Cleveland Browns fan has been very difficult ever since they came back in 1999. Yet, here we are, a 7-7-1 team with many accolades and accomplishments being achieved in less than a calendar year, on the verge of our first winning season in over 10 years.
I have grown a lot over the years. I am currently in my 20s, on track to graduate college in a little over a year, I’m semi-living on my own. I have matured a lot mentally and emotionally as well. In my own personal growth, one of the many philosophies that I have adopted is that everything happens for a reason. It is essentially a guarantee that whatever that reason may be, it is not able to be seen right from the beginning. In this case, it took every bit of 19 years to figure out what that reason was for Cleveland Browns fans.
Imagine if we had hit on any of our previous quarterback draft picks. Would they have been as good as Baker Mayfield has been this year? Would they have been in as good of a position to succeed as Baker is in? What if we hit on a head coach or a GM? Would they have been as brilliant as Gregg Williams and Freddie Kitchens have been or gotten players anywhere near as good as the ones John Dorsey has, both through the draft and free agency? What if we had simply been decent, putting together nothing but average seasons over the past decade or so? Maybe then, we would have kept everyone that we had in place instead of searching for better coaches, GMs and players. Plus, we wouldn’t have been blessed with all of the high draft picks we’ve had over the years, which is a huge reason for the talent we currently have. There are a lot of variables that have led us to this exact moment in time and who knows what type of effect a single alteration in any of those variables could have had on us today.
It took us a long freaking time to get here, but the Browns are finally a good, competitive, soon-to-be contending football team. It makes me grateful for all of the garbage we have had to put up with over the years. The holidays are always a time for reflection and appreciation for everything and everyone you have. Well, it’s Christmas Day, 2018, and boy am I glad to be a Cleveland Browns fan. Merry Christmas, Cleveland.