The Browns' Wild Card victory over the Steelers provided an endless array of unforgettable moments and memories. And Mike Priefer, who grew up in Cleveland and rooted hard for the Browns as a child, was at the center of it.
By leading the Browns to a 48-37 victory, Priefer became the first acting head coach in NFL history to win a playoff game. To commemorate the achievement, the Pro Football Hall of Fame is currently displaying the jacket, gloves and headset Priefer wore during the game, Cleveland's first playoff victory in 26 years.
Priefer, of course, was filling in for Kevin Stefanski, the NFL's Coach of the Year who tested positive for COVID-19 in the days leading up to the game. It was the second time Priefer, a longtime special teams coordinator, was summoned to serve as an acting head coach and it was his first official victory.
In his post-game press conference, Priefer fought back tears while discussing how much the win meant for the team and its loyal fans, who hadn't seen a playoff victory since 1994.
"This was a huge, huge game for me personally," Priefer said. "Being from Cleveland and just understanding what this means to the city and to the organization and I had my wife and all four of my kids were at the game and in the stands right behind us, it was awesome."
It's not the first milestone from Cleveland's 2020 season to be catalogued at the Hall of Fame, and the person at the center of another historic achievement recently was able to pay a visit and see it for herself.
Browns Chief of Staff Callie Brownson became the first woman to serve as an acting gameday position coach when she filled in for TEs coach Drew Petzing — who stayed home for the birth of his first child — for the Browns' Week 12 victory over the Jaguars. Brownson also led the team's wide receivers for the Browns' playoff-clinching victory over the Steelers in Week 17, filling in for Chad O'Shea, and was back with the tight ends for Cleveland's Wild Card victory over the Steelers, when Petzing and a number of other Cleveland assistants were sidelined because of positive COVID-19 tests.
Brownson provided the Hall of Fame with her jacket and an autographed ball from the game in Jacksonville. She visited the Hall of Fame this past weekend and called the experience "surreal."