By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Another agonizing defeat for Cleveland
Placeholder Image
Forsyth County News
Alas, poor Cleveland.

Forty-six years and counting.

That’s how long it’s been since Cleveland celebrated its last championship.

In any sport.

After the Boston Celtics knocked the Cavaliers out of the NBA playoffs last Thursday, The Streak Lives.

No city should be made to suffer so.

No city should have to endure such sports misery.

Cleveland has garnered more than its rightful share of agony. Hands down, Cleveland beats up its sports fans like no place else.
Buffalo? Please.

The Bills may have lost four straight Super Bowls, but at least they made it there.

Four more times than the Browns.

Even the Falcons have reached the Super Bowl, and this is a franchise that just celebrated back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in franchise history. And made a big deal about it, too.

That history began in 1966, two years after the running of Jim Brown and the passing of Frank Ryan to Gary Collins led the Browns to a 27-0 pasting of the Baltimore Colts in the NFL Championship game. Since the first Super Bowl was still two years down the road, that muddy massacre marked the city’s last title of any kind.

Forty-six years ago.

The Cavs themselves can’t take full credit for the drought, of course. They’ve only existed since 1971, when they broke into the NBA with a foreboding record of 15-67.

Their coach, Bill Fitch, would go on to win 944 games as an NBA coach, eighth best all-time.

He’d also win an NBA championship. But in Boston, not Cleveland.

This year, the Cavs raised expectations by adding Shaquille O’Neal to the mix, thus insuring that the inevitable collapse would be as devastating as possible. They went 61-21 during the regular season which, following last year’s 66-16 mark, made title hopes seem downright reasonable.

Yet the same team that stumbled against the Magic in last year’s conference finals (perhaps lulled into a false sense of security after sweeping the Hawks) tripped again. This time against a Celtics team that appeared at least two years removed from its finest hours.

Not only did the Cavs lose Game 2 by 18 points on their home floor; they also managed to lose Game 5 at home. By 32.

During the final two minutes of Game 6, trailing by nine, the Cavs merely stood around, not even trying to foul and lengthen the game. Dazed, beaten, confused, they just gave up. They quit.

That made this pill perhaps the toughest for Cleveland’s fans to swallow. It’s bad enough when Michael Jordan drains The Shot over Craig Ehlo to start creating his legend. But those ‘89 Cavs never quit.

Forty-six years and counting.

The Browns teams of the ‘80s never quit, either. On the exact same day that the Cowboys came from behind and pulled out a 30-27 playoff win over the 1980 Falcons, Atlanta’s first division champions, the Browns were hosting a playoff game against the Raiders.

In the final moments of the bitter cold contest, coach Sam Rutigliano eschewed the winning field goal, and infamously called Red Right 88. Brian Sipe’s pass was intercepted, and the Browns lost, 14-12.

Even worse was The Drive. With 5:37 left in the 1987 AFC Championship game, the Browns led the Broncos, 20-13. And Denver had the ball on its own 2-yard line. But  John Elway then directed a 15-play touchdown drive that tied the game. Naturally, the Browns lost in overtime.

One year later, the roles were reversed. This time the Browns were driving for the winning score. They made it all the way to the 3-yard line — three yards from the Super Bowl — when Ernest Byner was stripped of the ball.

Even worse, in 1995, Browns owner Art Modell was unable to reach an agreement with the city on a new stadium. Now, truly, if ever an arena needed implosion, it was Cleveland’s ancient relic, Municipal Stadium. Which, by the way, was erected for the 1932 Olympics ... which, of course, wound up in Los Angeles. But I digress. Modell, of course, wound up moving the team to Baltimore.

Even worse, in 2000, his former Browns won the Super Bowl.

Forty-six years and counting.

What about the Indians? Glad you asked. They last won the World Series in 1948. That’s the longest drought of any team outside the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field.

The ‘54 Indians set an American League record by winning 111 of 154 games. Then Willie Mays caught Vic Wertz’ tremendous drive, Dusty Rhodes kept getting big hits, and the Indians were swept by the underdog Giants in the Series.

It only took the Indians 41 years to reach the Series again, and the ‘95 team lost to the Braves in six games.

Two years later, the Indians made it back to the Series, against the underdog Marlins. They needed only for closer Jose Mesa to retire the Marlins in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game Seven to win the Series.

Forty-six years and counting.