The Cleveland Browns Are In The Playoffs

America's Team.

Jim Rome
January 04, 2021 - 10:53 am
Baker Mayfield

USA Today


The Cleveland Browns are in the playoffs. America’s Team is back right where it belongs. And the play that made it official so perfectly summed up this Browns team that I have to run it right now. Third down. Just over a minute to go, Cleveland holding a two-point lead.

Pick up the first down, and you’re going to the playoffs. Come up short and need to punt, you’ve got more tension than you want. So what do you do? Do you hand it to one of your elite backs?

Nope, you give it to America’s Quarterback. Baker Mayfield, turning into a runner again, for the first down, and the playoffs. Everything about that is badass. The call is badass, the execution was badass, and the quarterback is badass.

And the quarterback wasn’t even sure that really was the call when it first came in: “I heard the play call over on the sideline. Case Keenum told me. I thought he was joking at first because I didn’t hear it from Kevin [Stefanski]. But then he called it and I was like, ‘You know what, let’s do it.’ Whatever it takes. It was a great play call.”

It sure as hell was a great play call. Everything about yesterday was great for Cleveland. And you know what we aren’t going to be doing today? Talking down about this Browns team and what they’ve accomplished.

Because that’s crap. And if that’s your take, keep on moving. You’re not welcome here. I’m not interested in all you haters and losers who want to say something about how Cleveland didn’t exactly dominated the Steelers JV team. Doesn’t matter. They won the game. They’re in the playoffs.

The Cleveland Browns are in the playoffs. They Cleveland Freaking Browns are in the playoffs.

And they didn’t back into the playoffs, they ran head first into the playoffs and through the wall.

They won 11 games this season. They did it with a first year head coach and a first year GM. And they did it in the middle of a pandemic. Do you have any idea just how hard that is? They lost Odell Beckham Jr, and they kept on rolling. They lost one player after another to Covid, and they found a way to win.

Nick Chubb missed four games this season and still had more than 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. He missed a quarter of the year and still dominated. And yesterday, he was balling.

And if you think I’m going to do a whole take on the Browns going to the playoffs and not talk about Jungle legend Austin Hooper, you better think again. Because he was clutch again yesterday as well.

That’s a Pro Bowler who was averaging more than 70 receptions per season the last two years and then he came to Cleveland and showed just how great he is as a blocker. Everyone wants to talk about culture, everyone wants to talk about a winning mentality, that’s what that is. We over me. Putting the team first.

And that’s what this group does. And here’s the other thing – this team is tough as hell.  Tough as hell. They are as tough as the fans they represent.  

So we’re not going to be talking any kind of junk about how long it’s been since they were in the playoffs. We’re not going to be talking about the songs and movies that were hits the last time they were in the playoffs.

And we’re not going to talk about what the old Cleveland Browns would’ve done. Or how the old Browns would’ve lost to the Jets last week and found a way to bomb their way out of the playoffs.

Just like we aren’t going to talk about the number of head coaches they’ve had. Or the number of quarterbacks they’ve had.

Because none of that matters. They have their head coach now. They have their quarterback now. And they are going to the playoffs now. And they did it in the toughest season ever.

I’m feeling so good about this that I won’t even bother to say “I told you so” even though I did tell you so. I’m not here to keep score or to read off a list of the haters and losers who thought I was insane when I declared this group to be America’s Team or when I told you just how good they would be. I could. I have every right to, but I won’t.

Just like Baker and I and the rest of the Browns are not going to point at the scoreboard or the standings this morning. That’s not what we’re about.

We’re changing the paradigm. We’re not saying how you like us now. We’re not doling out crow sandos and chasing it with slices of humble pie today, because we don’t have to.

That is an old way of thinking. And we’re not doing that anymore.

Because these aren’t the old Cleveland Browns. These are the new Cleveland Browns and they aren’t just going to the playoffs, they are giving hope to the entire world.

When you look at these Cleveland Browns, you’re looking at a team that was 1-31 just three years ago. And they have completely turned it around. They went from America’s Punchline to America’s Team. And if they can turn it around and overcome obstacles, you can do that in your life. What a great way to start a new year – with America’s Team in the playoffs and providing inspiration to everyone.  Believe that. Look at America’s Team. Then look in the mirror. And know there’s always hope. There is always hope!