Imagine being a fan of the Cleveland Browns. During your grandfather’s day, when Paul Brown ran the show, they won championships like a football version of the New York Yankees, but in the modern era of football, a.k.a the Super Bowl era, the Browns have never made it. Not only that, the Browns had some very close calls but were thwarted by three signature moments. The first was known as Red Right 88, the play called when the Browns threw a pass even though they were well within field goal range in the playoffs against the Oakland Raiders during the 1980 season.
The Browns were leery of trying a field goal in the awful weather so instead went for a touchdown but the pass was intercepted. The Raiders went on to win a Super Bowl. Then there was “The Drive” in the 1987 AFC Championship Game when Denver’s John Elway led his team on a championship clinching length of the field march in the game’s waning seconds and “The Fumble” which happened in the following season’s AFC Championship Game when the Browns Earnest Byner had the ball stripped as it looked like he was about to cross the goal line, sending the Browns to the Super Bowl.
But the cruelest blow of all was when the Browns owner Art Modell moved the team to Baltimore in the mid-1990s and in 2000 they had to watch the Ravens win the Super Bowl. So it would be easy to understand if the Browns fans were bitter.
But with First Energy Stadium, some good came out of it after all. When the Browns were awarded an expansion franchise to replace Modell’s team, they moved into a brand new stadium that replaced Municipal Stadium, otherwise known as the “Mistake by the Lake.”
First Energy Stadium is the crown jewel of the downtown revitalization project.