Some 1,300 miles from the site of the Cleveland Browns official resurgence in Denver Colorado, a local pastor in Cleveland Heights began his Sunday sermon with the words, “Every dog has its day. Go Browns!”
Those seven words by Imani Temple Ministries Pastor Rodney S. Thomas bellowed in his church on North Taylor Road eight days before Christmas summed up where the hearts and minds of most Clevelanders are these days.
Their most beleaguered, beloved and beholden hometown Browns had reclaimed their loyalty again, not that they ever lost it for good anyway.
Beneath the shadows of the LeBron James led Cavaliers NBA Championship of 2016, the Cleveland Indians heart breaking World Series defeat to the Chicago Cubs that same year, the Browns were always the city’s favorite team.
Although, they had broken the hearts and tested the spirit of their dearly beloved since 1944 and most recently from 1999 until now, the city of Cleveland belongs to the Browns again.
That much was confirmed when the Browns escaped the ghost of its most haunted demons on a Saturday in Denver, escaping with a gut wrenching 17-16 victory over the Broncos.
The win brought the Browns to within one game of .500, and miraculously at 6-7-1 kept its fleeting playoff hopes alive in the National Football League.
In their final home game at FirstEnergy Stadium against neighboring rival Cincinnati Bengals, the Browns can even their mark and thus become whole again.
Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield has been primarily responsible for the resurrection, but he has been aided by a defense anchored by another former No. 1 pick Miles Garrett who has 12.5 sacks on the season.
Mayfield, the moxie 2017 Heisman Trophy winner from Oklahoma and the 2018 No. 1 pick has emerged as a budding star, throwing for 3,065 yards, including 21 touchdowns against 11 interceptions.
Star receiver Jarvis Landry has lived up to his $75 million contract hauling in 72 receptions for 827 yards and 3 touchdowns.
The meeting with the Bengals will mark yet another reunion with fired Browns coach Hue Jackson, who serves as a special assistant on the Bengals staff.
The Browns beat the Bengals 35-20 in Cincinnati earlier this season and during the game Damarious Randall intercepted Andy Dalton and then gave it to Jackson, in a mocking fashion.
Then to add more insult to injury after the game was over Mayfield and Jackson had an awkward meeting at midfield.
Mayfield expressed being upset that Jackson is in Cincinnati now after leaving Cleveland. Mayfield called Jackson “fake” the next day on social media and was defended for his comments by offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens.
Ironically, the Browns are trying to go where the Bengals have always been---to the playoffs and for one of the longest tenured coaches in the NFL Marvin Lewis it has not been enough for his fan base.
Well, for the Browns which is still haunted by ‘Red Right 88’ in a devastating loss to the Oakland Raiders in 1981, then the Kardiac Kids years, Bernie Kosar years, The Drive and The Fumble (1985–1990) just a mere shot at the playoffs is a welcome sight.
Although infamous for its dubious history, the Browns under founder Paul Brown were responsible for integrating the NFL, and its relevance as a local treasure and national fixture has rebounded.