The Browns received one more piece of recognition Thursday night for their unforgettable 2020 season.
This award was of the local variety and commemorated the five months of memories the Browns created for Northeast Ohio last season. The Browns were awarded "Best Moment in Cleveland Sports," as selected by local sports and media outlets and an awards committee, at the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards and were honored for a season capped off with a long-awaited trip to the playoffs.
"You could tell that something was different about this team," said Jim Donovan, the radio voice of the Browns who helped co-host the virtual show. "They were a lot of fun, and they continued to win … This team, like so many others, had to battle through tremendous adversity, through injuries COVID-19 protocols and more."
Deciding on one singular "best moment" of the Browns' season was a tough call.
No Cleveland sports fan will forget the team's Week 17 playoff-clincher against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium, which snapped an 18-year playoff drought. The same can be said for their first playoff win since 1994 one week later against the Steelers in Pittsburgh, which carried even greater significance with the absence of Kevin Stefanski, who wasn't able to be on the sidelines.
The Browns' first win of the season on Thursday Night Football versus the Cincinnati Bengals can be added to the list, too. So can their Week 4 win against the Dallas Cowboys that contained 87 combined points between both sides, or their Week 13 win over the Tennessee Titans that was made possible by a historic offensive explosion in the first half — five Browns touchdowns, 38 total points.
All those moments helped provide Northeast Ohio with a needed uplift from the COVID-19 pandemic, which overshadowed the entirety of the NFL season. The Browns became a tremendous source of joy for the region during difficult times and gave their fans something bright to look forward to each Sunday.
"It was an amazing year full of a lot of uncertainty, and to be able to have found bright moments was truly something special that I will never forget," quarterback Baker Mayfield said. "I know everyone that was involved won't either. It means so much to the city of Cleveland. On behalf of the 2020 Browns and all my teammates, coaches and everybody that had a hand in our season, from all the staff members, cafeteria workers, COVID testers — everybody, I want to thank you for choosing us for this award. It's truly humbling for me to speak on behalf of all those people."
The Browns are hard at work at ensuring their success carries over to 2021, but as the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards highlighted Thursday, the triumphs and memories of the 2020 season aren't going to fade any time soon.
Check out the best 100 photos from this season by the Browns photo team