The Cleveland Browns have not been a very good football team.
Since football returned to Cleveland in 1999, the Browns have posted just two winning seasons: one that ended in a loss in the Wild Card round to the Steelers in 2002, and a 10-6 season in 2006 where a pass-happy Derek Anderson carried the Browns to second in their division but the team was denied a playoff berth due to tiebreakers.
Browns fans have had a rough go at it, and while their record has rarely been good, their general ineptitude might best be summed up by a look at their starting quarterback situation — 28 different players have lined up under center for the Browns over the past 18 seasons.
This lack of consistency at the sport’s most important position has held the Browns back, and while the team has attempted to find their guy in the draft, from Brady Quinn to Colt McCoy, Brandon Weeden, and Johnny Manziel, not one of them have come through to be the franchise quarterback the Browns had hoped.
During almost this entire stretch the Pittsburgh Steelers have been led by one man — Ben Roethlisberger — and with two games every season, Roethlisberger has had his chance to beat whomever the Browns threw at him. But after the Steelers ruined rookie Deshone Kizer’s home debut on Sunday, Roethlisberger now holds a distinction that exemplifies just how bad the Browns quarterbacks have been throughout the years.
As SB Nation notes, Roethlisberger now has more wins in Cleveland than any Browns starter since 1999.
This stat basically sums up two NFL truths in one shot: the Steelers have been consistently good with Roethlisberger at the helm for almost 15 years, and the Browns have been consistently bad and unable to find a quarterback who can stay with the team longer than three years.
While the Browns came up short again on Sunday, they kept the game more competitive than most expected, and Kizer showed promising signs in his first game in Cleveland. If he can hold on to the job for a while and help to turn the the Browns around, it’s possible he’ll be the one to finally take down this awful statistic.
But as things stand right now, Ben Roethlisberger is the reigning king of Cleveland football.