By Browns Gab Editor Derek McQuaid
Expectations were high for the Cleveland Browns entering the 1995 season, extremely high.
Prior to the start of the ’95 season, some football experts had the Browns in Super Bowl XXIX. Sports Illustrated had the Browns facing the San Francisco ’49ers in the ’95 Super Bowl, with the Browns losing the game.
We all know how that season ended for the Browns, but the so-called experts had every reason to believe the team would – at a minimum – be a playoff contender. The Browns went 11-5 during the ’94 season and made an appearance in the playoffs for the first time in four years. After beating the New England Patriots 20-13 in the AFC Wild Card, their season was promptly ended the following week in the Divisional Round by the Pittsburgh Steelers, 29-9. (It marked the Browns third loss of the season to the Steelers).
Despite the disappointing end of to the ’94 season, expectations that the Browns would be contenders for the AFC’s spot in Super Bowl XXIX were within reason.
The Browns have had limited success since their return in 1999. They made the playoffs in 2002 with a 9-7 record where they once again lost to the Steelers, this time in the AFC Wild Card game. In 2007, the team went 10-6 and just missed the playoffs.
However, any reasonable Browns fan will tell you that there wasn’t much reason to believe we’d see a repeat performance from the team after either of those years. Kelly Holcomb started the ’02 playoff game against the Steelers, and performed so well that he sparked a quarterback controversy with…Tim Couch.
The 2008 season had legitimate expectations with Derek Anderson as the Browns QB. Fans experienced a 10-6 record the year before, and could claim a Pro-Bowl QB – albeit as an alternate. However, the Browns drafted hometown hero, Brady Quinn, in the ’07 NFL Draft which sparked a huge QB controversy throughout the season. In short, the ’08 season was a disaster.
Finally, after years of searching, the Cleveland Browns have a competent front office calling the shots. In 2009 the team hired former Green Bay and Seattle head coach, Mike Holmgren as Team President. Holmgren then announced that the team would be bringing in Tom Heckert from the Philadelphia Eagles to be the team’s new General Manager.
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