It’s because the Cleveland Browns have never made it. And it seems like every year the field of futility — that is, the teams that have never made it — gets smaller and smaller. This year, the New Orleans Saints get off the schneid, and the Browns are left behind again.
I remember the first Super Bowl. I lived in Akron and was 10 years old, for God’s sake! The Beacon Journal had special story about the game and Len Dawson and Mike Garrett, the Kansas City Chiefs star players. At that time, people wondered whether the Super Bowl would even be played again — much less that it would become an enormous media event that would draw huge TV audiences and generate massive ad revenue.
Every year, when the Super Bowl rolls around and the Browns aren’t in it, the sharp-edged Roman numerals are like a knife to the ribs. I think of how the Browns lost to the Vikings and the Colts in back-to-back NFL championship games in the late ’60s, of how Brian Sipe threw the Red Right 88 interception on a cold day at Municipal Stadium, and particularly of how John Elway and the Broncos gouged the heart out of the Cleveland faithful in the back-to-back championship games that will forever be recalled simply as The Drive and The Fumble.
I hope the Colts win today, because I have good friends who are Colts fans. Mostly, though, I hope that next year the Browns will somehow, some way, make it to the Super Bowl, and the shame and ignominy of the franchise’s (virtually) singular failure will end.