Let's face reality.
A win is a win and considering the circumstances, a team as inexperienced as the Browns should feel fortunate to stand at 3-3. Preying on one of the league's weakest schedule of opponents, the Browns have managed to grasp onto NFL mediocrity – the exact thing that has proved so elusive in the past.
Yet in terms of style points, last Sunday's 6-3 win over the Seahawks will likely go down in expansion history as one of the worst offerings ever presented to a Cleveland football audience. The seconds immediately following Sunday's game offered an odd mélange of relief and dread – akin to some thousands of Browns' followers collectively needing to take a shower.
But in terms of history – and we're talking about the expansion Browns – was Sunday's game the worst win we have seen?
In order to find the answer, an exclusively Cleveland phenomenon has to be consulted. Or in other words – let's take a look at the Browns' Win Misery Index.
1. At Buffalo – 2009 – Browns Win 6-3
No other Browns' expansion era victory can match the feeling of unadulterated disgust created by Eric Mangini's first Cleveland triumph. The Browns entered a wind-swept Ralph Wilson Stadium carrying the weight of a 0-4 record and concerns that 0-16 could be a real possibility. Yet against a similarly impotent Bills' roster, the Browns could only manage 17 passing yards and two Phil Dawson field goals.
In fact, the overall performance was so bad that the stars of the game for the Browns were Cleveland punter Dave Zastudil and Buffalo punt returner Roscoe Parrish. Without the contributions of Zastudil, who repeatedly navigated the cruel Lake Ontario winds – and Parrish, who fumbled away a fourth quarter punt – we could instead be reviewing the only scoreless tie of the expansion era.
2. At Cincinnati – 2008 – Browns Win 20-12
2008 seems like a lifetime ago – or at least three head coaches and two and a half general managers ago – but the once heralded Browns entered Cincinnati with a 0-3 mark. After experiencing an offensive renaissance in 2007, the Browns struggled to even generate first downs in pursuit of their first win of 2008.
Against the Bengals, these offensive woes continued, as the Browns had to rely on a huge dose of Jamal Lewis and a defense that feasted on a pre-Chan Gailey Ryan Fitzpatrick. In the end, a matchup that on paper should have been decided in the first quarter, lingered into the fourth quarter. Of course, the Browns' sluggish offense lingered throughout the rest of a soul-crushing 4-12 finish.
3. At Miami – 2010 – Browns Win 13-10
Another entry from Mangini's short-lived coaching tenure also highlights Jake Delhomme's only positive on-field contribution as a Brown. Against the Dolphins, Delhomme was accurate, provided fiery leadership and basically checked down to Ben Watson on every single play. Or, in short – Delhomme provided a depressing realization of his limits as a veteran NFL quarterback.
However, the game was decided based more on Chad Henne's erratic play than any other factor. The Browns' defense – which had destroyed the likes of the Saints and Patriots in earlier weeks – had to rely on a gift interception grabbed by veteran Mike Adams to seal an ugly win.
2007 – Home Against San Francisco – Browns Win 20-7
On one hand, the Browns soundly defeated a physical 49er team to close out the regular season.
Of course, the Browns had already been eliminated from playoff contention before doing so.
2004 – At Houston – Browns Win 22-14
Another season ending win deserves recognition, but this time the Browns featured an interim head coach in Terry Robiskie and a budding running back star in Lee Suggs. A year later, neither Robiskie or Suggs would ever be heard from again in Cleveland.
2003 – At San Francisco – Browns Win 13-12
It's easy to forget about this game now, but at the time Browns fans still believed in both Butch Davis and Kelly Holcomb. Yet after some 59 minutes of ugly offense and a Holcomb broken leg deemed a "scratch" by Davis, most observant Browns fans realized that the winds of change in Cleveland were blowing around something far different.
1999 – At New Orleans – Browns Win 21-16
And of course – how can we leave out the Browns' first expansion win? Doubling as both the Browns' first win since 1995 along with ultimately proving to be Tim Couch's career highlight, there was indeed a sense of magic in the Superdome over a decade ago as Kevin Johnson somehow found a last second Hail Mary pass fall into his hands.
Or something like that.
After all – a win is a win.