Well, it’s Super Sunday again. That means it’s time for the New England Patriots to play for the pro football championship . . . again. It’s the third straight year the Patriots have kicked the ass of the rest of the AFC and made it to the Super Bowl. Overall, it’s the eleventh Super Bowl for the Patriots, the most for any team.
Meanwhile, the Cleveland Browns are still sitting on that inglorious goose egg. Which raises, as it does every time a Super Bowl is played, the seemingly eternal question for we Browns fans: will the Browns ever play in a Super Bowl — much less win one — in my lifetime?
I was a rosy-cheeked lad of 9 when the first Super Bowl was played, 52 years ago, after the end of the 1966 season. At that time, the Browns were a very good team. They’d won the league championship only two years before, at the tail end of the pre-Super Bowl days, and had lost in the championship game the next year. If you’d asked people then whether the Browns would ever play in a Super Bowl, they might have viewed it as a trick question, because there was a legitimate question of whether the Super Bowl was just a kind of exhibition game or a permanent fixture on the pro football scene. But if you’d said the Super Bowl would be played 53 times and asked how many times, the Browns would play, no one — absolutely no one — would have guessed that zero would be the right answer.
Yet, here were are. I’m in my 60s, and the Browns haven’t made it. They’ve come close — the last time, incidentally, was 30 years ago — but they’ve nevertheless been shut out. And while this past season was a ray of sunshine after three of the worst seasons in Browns’ history, the goal of a Super Bowl still seems very far away.
So, will the Browns ever make it to a Super Bowl in my lifetime? I honestly don’t know, but I do know that I’m steadily getting older.