Browns, Lions fans know the worst of it

The Lions score en route to a rout of the Browns in the 1957 NFL Championship game.

Already, three of every four NFL teams are home for the season, eliminated from the playoffs. The Vikings and the Bengals suffered the cruelest fates. Minnesota, which went to the Super Bowl four times in the 70s and lost each time, missed a golden opportunity when kicker Blair Walsh missed a 27-yard field goal that would have giving the Vikings a win over Seattle. Undisciplined mistakes in the fourth quarter cost the Bengals, who lost in the first round of the playoffs for the fifth year in a row.

It could be worse, Vikings and Bengals fans. You could be rooting for the Browns or the Lions, neither of which has ever been to the Super Bowl.

Back in the 50s, the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions were the two best teams in the NFL. The Browns joined the NFL in 1950 after winning four straight championships in the old All-American Football Conference (AAFC), and went on to win NFL championships in 1950, 1954 and 1955. The Lions beat the Browns in the title game in 1952, 1953 and 1957, a 59-14 rout that remains Detroit’s lone NFL title. The Browns crushed the Lions 56-10 for the 1954 NFL championship.

Those teams were blessed with Hall of Famers like Otto Graham, Jim Brown and Lou Groza of Cleveland and Bobby Layne, Doak Walker and Joe Schmidt of Detroit.

The Browns did manage to beat the Baltimore Colts 27-0 in 1964, the city of Cleveland’s last championship in any sport. The Browns lost the NFL championship the following year to the Packers and later suffered heartbreaking AFC Championship defeats to Denver in 1986 and 1987. The Lions lost to the Redskins in the 1991 NFC title game.

The Lions made their last playoff appearance in 2014, a loss to the Cowboys. The Browns last made it in 2002, when they were knocked out by the Steelers.

 

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