1994 – “Aw, man. I shot Marvin in the face.” Vincent Vega
The last playoff victory for the Cleveland Browns was over the New England Patriots on New Year’s Day 1995 in front of a raucous Cleveland Municipal Stadium. In many ways, it feels like eons ago and at times it seems like yesterday.
I turned the ripe old age of 21 a few days prior to their 13-6 victory of the Patriots in a week 10 contest. The win moved the Browns to 7-2. My affinity for this squad had grown dramatically since the offseason. Leading up to the 94 season – I, like many, was still hurt over the release of Cleveland legend Bernie Kosar. However, as the season progressed I fell more and more in love with this thumping – grinding – blue collar team which was a perfect fit for a city like Cleveland. The team consisted of my 2nd all-time favorite player in Eric Turner and other all-time favorites in Earnest Byner and Eric Metcalf, in addition to several good young players on both sides of the ball. Even more surprising, with maturity on my end, I started to greatly appreciate Bill Belichick’s style. The loss to Pittsburgh in the playoffs was a tough pill to swallow but hope abound for what appeared to be a bright future.
No one could have fathomed the atrocities that happened during the 1995 season and onward. Since their playoff over the Patriots, Art Modell moved the team to Baltimore, the reiteration of the team in 1999, eight full-time head coaches prior to current coach Freddie Kitchens, 30 different QB starts since 99, numerous failed draft picks, one playoff appearance and zero divisional championships. Browns fans under 30 years old have experienced little joy and a ton of heartache. The road has been long and difficult – but as Bob Dylan would say “The times they are a-changin” – finally. As such, when the urge to get sick of the hype – or a tough loss happens – ponder the past then enjoy the present and the future.
The events and happenings and so forth of 1994 give perspective on how long ago the Browns last playoff victory truly was:
MLB – The season was cut short due to a strike – the Indians had a record of 66-47.
NBA – The first season minus Michael Jordan had a strange feel. The NBA Finals featured the New York Knicks and Patrick Ewing versus the Houston Rockets and Hakeem Olajuwon. The Dream led Houston to the title in seven games.
NFL – The Browns lost in the divisional round to the Steelers. The Super Bowl (January 1995), saw Steve Young get the monkey off his back in a 49-26 victory over the Chargers.
NHL – The New York Rangers defeated the Vancouver Canucks in seven.
NCAA FB – Tom Osborne’s Nebraska Cornhuskers defeated the Miami Hurricanes 24-17.
NCAA BB – Nolan Richardson’s 40 minutes of hell defeated Duke 76-72.
Top Box Office 1994 (gross) from IMBD:
- Forrest Gump
- The Lion King
- True Lies
- The Santa Clause
- The Flintstones (say what? How in the &*(^% did this movie make the list?)
Other movies of note from 1994: Shawkshank Redemption, Dumb and Dumber, Clear and Present Danger, Speed, Pulp Fiction, Interview with the Vamprie, Ace Ventura.
Top TV Shows from 1994:
- Seinfeld (19.6 mil)
- Home Improvement
- Grace Under Fire
- Monday Night Football
Top Singles from the first week of 1995 from Billboard:
- On Bended Knee, Boyz II Men
- Creep, TLC
- Here Comes the Hotstepper, Ini Kamoze
- Another Night, Real McCoy
- Always, Bon Jovi
News Stories from 1994:
- Nelson Mandela became President of South Africa
- OJ Simpson’s The White Bronco Chase, arrest etc.
- Nirvana’s Unplugged on MTV
- Kurt Cobain committed suicide
- Sony’s Playstation hit the market
- Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan
- Winter Olympics
It is certainly a different world since the last time the Browns won a playoff game but make no mistake – if the 2019 team can win a playoff game – the exuberance will feel familiar.