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Yes, The Browns Actually Won

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Frustration, futility, overwhelming sadness - these are all familiar feelings to fans of the Cleveland Browns, but not today. The Browns won last night for the first time in nearly two years. From member station WCPN, Glenn Forbes reports.

GLENN FORBES, BYLINE: Six hundred thirty-five days of misery have come to an end for Browns fans. This team hadn't won a game since Christmas Eve 2016. Barack Obama was still president. The beleaguered Browns went 0 and 16 last year and were 1 and 31 in two seasons under head coach Hue Jackson. But after a furious second-half comeback against the Jets led by rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield on national television last night, the misery has started to dissipate.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: On second down and 12, Darnold airs it out. Downfield, pass is picked by Mitchell. Browns are going to win.

FORBES: Outside FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland today, the Pro Shop was doing a brisk business. Ashton Allen had a serendipitous experience.

ASHTON ALLEN: About 50 years ago, my first game was the Cleveland Browns and the Jets. And I've been a fan ever since. Same outcome back then, and here I am.

FORBES: Dennis Evans came here to buy some Browns swag as well. But he's cautious because he's been burned before.

DENNIS EVANS: One game - what's one game going to tell you, you know? They have a long way to go, but they're moving in the right direction.

FORBES: This stadium has seen just two winning seasons since the Browns returned to the NFL in 1999. Six years ago, local comedian Mike Polk Jr. gave it a new moniker that was embraced by many fans.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MIKE POLK JR.: You are a factory of sadness.

FORBES: In fact, fans made a T-shirt about it. That's what they do in Cleveland - make T-shirts celebrating successes and self-deprecating failures. As jubilant Browns fans celebrated last night, a possum was caught in the stadium by a fan. Video of that became an instant viral sensation, and now the critter has been dubbed the rally possum. And of course that T-shirt in this victory starved football town is already for sale. For NPR News, I'm Glenn Forbes.

[POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: In a previous version of this story, head coach Hue Jackson's firstname was misspelled as Hugh.] Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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