Everyone knows that the Browns have been trash for a long time. But the beauty of a new football season is that it brings hope and optimism, even to a place like Cleveland. Add in an exciting and promising new quarterback of the future, and a competent quarterback of the present, and things are looking up! Things are so good, in fact, that the Browns did not lose yesterday. They didn't win, either, but not losing is as good as win for a team that lost all but one of it's previous 32 games.
The Gods seemed poised to shine a light on the Browns Sunday afternoon as they edged closer and closer to a full-on comeback against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It would have been their first win in 18 games! Ben Roethlisberger turned the ball over an obscene amount in a sloppy, rainy game, and the Browns actually started to capitalize on it. Fans reached the point of delirium as the Browns went to overtime at 21-21 and were poised to win the game with a makeable field goal in the waning seconds. But alas, the Gods had only cooked up yet another cruel joke for our perennial underdogs. The field goal was blocked, and the game ended in one of those rare and loathed NFL ties.
So yes: winless in 18 games—since 2016. That much was obvious. But then some stat heads for NBC found a perfect little gem to encapsulate just how tragic the Browns are:
Yes, friends. There it is. The Cleveland Browns are off to their best start since 2004—without even winning a game. And do you want to know just how improbable, just how utterly Browns even that is?
There is beauty in the cold, unforgiving realities of this universe, and it lies in stats about the Browns.
This article originally appeared on VICE Sports US.