Myles Garrett’s Convinced That The Cleveland Browns Are Set To Become The Golden State Warriors Of The NFL

Getty Image

The Cleveland Browns have been a factory of sadness ever since the team returned to the NFL in 1999 as an expansion team. Not only did they win just five games in their first two seasons back then, but, as we saw up until this regular season, they reached the lowest of lows by winning just one total game in two seasons in 2016 and 2017. Needless to say, there wasn’t much optimism.

As a lifelong Browns fan, though, things felt a little bit different this year after the team canned former head coach Hue Jackson. The team opened up the playbook a little bit — catering the offense to No. 1 overall Baker Mayfield — and 2017 No. 1 overall pick, Myles Garrett, showed that he was a serious sack master, racking up 12.5 of them and earning a Pro Bowl invite. The Cleveland Browns actually looked like a, dare I say it, NFL team.

After finishing the season at 7-8-1, it turns out that there’s actually plenty of optimism for the future now — and the aforementioned Garrett made a bold (and maybe crazy) statement about what the future of the Cleveland Browns could look like. Why? Well, he thinks this current roster has the chance to become the Golden State Warriors of the NFL, according to Jenna Laine of ESPN, who spoke with the defender at the Pro Bowl.

Now, as a Cleveland Browns fan, this is new territory for me. I mean, sure, I want to think Myles Garrett is right and that, as the New England Patriots (hopefully? maybe?) fade away and age, the AFC will become a two-horse race between the Brownies and the Kansas City Chiefs. Envisioning a string of AFC Championship Games that pit Mayfield against Patrick Mahomes for the next decade — like those epic Tom Brady-Peyton Manning matchups — is titillating. But, again, this is Cleveland, so there’s always a little bit of Murphy’s Law that come in to play.

That said, here are three quick reasons why Myles Garrett could actually be right, and the Cleveland Browns can be molded together by new head coach Freddie Kitchens, ultimately building a dynasty in the NFL over the next few years like the Warriors have in the NBA.

1. They Have Their Quarterback

We all know that the most important position in sports is a franchise quarterback, and, thanks to Baker Mayfield, the Cleveland Browns might finally have theirs. After years of pathetic play from under center — which included starts by guys like Spergon Wynn, Ken Dorsey and Austin Davis, among others — the team finally saw what it was like to have someone of NFL-level talent calling plays. Mayfield’s got the keys to the franchise, and his infectious personality is similar to Stephen Curry’s was a few years ago, with teammates following his lead.

2. The AFC Is Wide Open

OK, so the New England Patriots would argue this, having been to three of the past four Super Bowls and nine in the past 17 years, but they’re aging… I think? While teams like the Pats and Steelers have seen continued success over the past 20 years, could the Browns breakthrough and show that they’re one of the elite teams in the league now? Like the Warriors did years ago, they not only molded their own talent to compete with mainstays like the San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks, but they quickly rose to the top by getting other stars to join them to build a dynasty. The Browns have tons of salary cap space to hunt for guys that could fill missing pieces and take them to another level.

3. The Culture Has Changed

The moment Cleveland Browns General Manager John Dorsey called Baker Mayfield “buddy boy” to tell him he would be the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s NFL Draft, the culture of the franchise changed. Gone was the seriousness and cluelessness. Instead, it was laid-back and confident; very un-Browns like. After serving in the same role with the Chiefs and helping build that franchise into a perennial playoff team, Dorsey’s experience and style has helped the Browns become bolder and look at themselves as winners, rather than the losers we all know them to be over the past couple decades.

OK, I’m clearly drinking the Kool-Aid that Myles Garrett tossed out for Cleveland Browns fans, so let’s just hope this doesn’t come back and bite us in the ass and we find ourselves picking No. 1 in back-to-back years again in a couple seasons. That’d be so Cleveland, though.

(H/T Twitter/JennaLaineESPN)