Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Book it: Browns will not finish 1-15 in 2012

It has been open season on the Cleveland Browns ever since the end of the 2011 NFL Season.

It started with the team being criticized for not getting into an unwinnable bidding war with Washington to move up in the draft to select quarterback Robert Griffin III.

It moved to the NFL Draft, where the Browns were criticized for trading up one spot to select running back Trent Richardson and then “reaching” to draft quarterback Brandon Weeden.

It continued with the media-created “controversy” over what Jim Brown thinks of Richardson. And the cries that the Browns must do something immediately with Colt McCoy.

Then there was the hysteria over the Browns selecting wide receiver Josh Gordon in the Supplemental Draft. Apparently, it was important for the Browns to select a wide receiver, but only if it was the wide the receiver the “experts” wanted them to select.

Now comes the latest from Jason La Canfora at CBS Sports, who is part of a group that predicts the Browns will finish 1-15 in 2012.

Seriously?

Look, the Browns are clearly not a Super Bowl team, even they would admit that. But predicting the team will win just one game this year – before training camp has even started, before anyone has seen just how good Richardson, Weeden and the rest of the new players can be, before seeing how much of an improvement the defense can make in the second year under coordinator Dick Jauron, before anyone has done anything – is simply ridiculous.

The Browns also have history on their side – it is very, very difficult to win just one game in an entire NFL season (even the expansion Browns won twice in 1999). Since the league went to a 16 game season in 1978, only nine teams have pulled off  a 1-15 season: New Orleans in 1980, Dallas (1989), New England (1990), Indianapolis (1991), the Jets (1996), San Diego (2000), Carolina (2001), Miami (2007) and St. Louis (2009).

Going back even further, to 1950 when the Browns joined the NFL, you can add just an additional 15 teams to that list (including Pittsburgh in 1969). So in the 61 seasons since then, just 24 teams have pulled off the feat of going an entire season with winning just a single game.

It just doesn’t happen on any kind of regular basis. And, short of a rash of injuries that just devastates the key members of the roster, it’s not happening to the Browns this season.

We know from bad football teams in this town – we’ve seen plenty of them over the years. But this Browns team just isn’t on that level.

And that’s as big of a stone cold lock as you are going to find this season.

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