The Browns are not yet 0-16, but they can see it from here. At 0-12 they are just one more month of bad football away from, if not running the table, then getting run over by the table.
One month away from 0-16.
Let’s synchronize our watches.
Let’s also consider where an 0-16 Browns season would rank in the Pantheon of the Pathetic. Where will 0-16 rank on the list of worst Cleveland professional sports seasons ever?
The competition is stiffer — or, perhaps, we should say “lamer” — than you might think. So pull up a bean bag chair and let’s check out the contenders.
Here’s to the losers:
The 1899 Cleveland Spiders
These insects are the gold standard for rank ineptitude. They staggered in at 20-134, good for 12th place in the 12-team National League, a full 35 games out of 11th place and a preposterous 86 games behind first place Brooklyn.
They had losing streaks of 24, 16, 14, 13 and 11 games (twice). From Aug. 26 to the end of the season their record was 1-40 (.024). They were 9-33 at home and 11-101 (.098) on the road. They were so bad that by midseason they pretty much stopped playing home games in Cleveland because nobody came to see them.
Their home attendance was 6,088, or about 140 per game, which is why at one point they had a 51-game road trip and played 35 of their last 36 games on the road.
Their “best” pitcher was named Jim Hughey. His record was 4-30.
The 1970-71 Cavaliers
This was their expansion year, which was painfully evident the night Cavs guard John Warren scored a basket for the opposing team. No, really. They lost their first 15 games, won one, lost 12 more in a row, won one, then lost seven more in a row. They lost 37 of their first 40 games, then went into a slump.
Their combined record against Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, the Lakers, Milwaukee, New York, Phoenix, San Diego and Seattle was 0-36. Overall they were 15-67, but if you throw out their 7-5 record vs. fellow expansionists the Buffalo Braves, the Cavs were 8-62 (.114) against everyone else.
The 2000 Browns
They played 16 games, lost 13 of them, and were outscored by 258 points, the greatest negative point differential in the 63-year history of the franchise.
They used four quarterbacks — mostly Tim Couch and Doug Pederson — who combined to throw nine touchdowns and 19 interceptions. They lost 12 of their last 13 games, and in their last five games they were outscored 175-41.
Ah, the memories!
The 1981-82 Cavaliers
This team was so bad (15-67) that owner Ted Stepien hired three coaches and fired four, including the immortal Bob Kloppenburg. The NBA eventually passed legislation to protect Stepien from himself, adopting a rule that prohibited the trading of first-round draft picks in consecutive years. Stepien’s wheeling and dealing got so outrageous that all Cavs trades had to be approved by the NBA.
A whopping 23 players appeared in games for the Cavs that year, although only about 15 will admit it.
The 1914 Indians
In the 116-year history of the Indians in the American League no Cleveland team has ever had a lower winning percentage (.333) or finished further out of first place (48 1/2 games) than this one. They crawled across the finish line with a record of 51-102, good for eighth place in the eight-team AL, 18 games out of seventh place. Their season attendance total of 185,997 remains the third lowest in franchise history.
The 1991 Indians
In the modern history of the franchise (since 1901), no Indians team has lost more games in a season than this one, which careened into the garage with a record of 57-105. They scored the fewest runs in the American League, by almost 100, and their 79 home runs were only six more than Barry Bonds hit by himself in 2001.
The 1999 Browns
Their first year back in the NFL after the team was hijacked to Baltimore, the expansion Browns gave the phrase “rag-tag” a bad name. In their first game they were edged by the Steelers 43-0. They lost their first seven games, getting outscored 181-53, en route to a record of 2-14, the fewest wins by any Browns team ever — until now.
The 2010-11 Cavaliers
Fondly remembered as the Harangody Era, these 19-63 Cavs lost an NBA-record 26 games in a row before getting hot and going on a 1-36 run.
The 1990 Browns
A very underrated, overlooked atrocious Browns team. Coach Bud Carson was fired at midseason, and interim Jim Shofner dragged the carcass out back. The record: 3-13. Thanks to losses by scores such as 34-0, 35-0, 42-0 and 58-13, no team in Browns history has allowed more points in a season (462).