CLEVELAND — After 18 long years of waiting, the Cleveland Browns returned to the playoffs in 2020. It was a magical ride that was just what fans needed while dealing with the harsh realities of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thursday night, the Browns' run to an 11-5 record and a victory in the AFC Wild Card game was recognized as the Moment of the Year in Cleveland Sports, presented by JACK Entertainment, at the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield accepted the award on behalf of the Browns. "It was an amazing year in a year of a lot of uncertainty," he said. "It means so much for us to give back to the city."
Under the leadership of first-year head coach Kevin Stefanski, the Browns completely changed their culture in 2020. Despite the uncertainties of the coronavirus pandemic, the team overcame a shortened offseason and no preseason games to post their best regular season record since 1994. For that achievement, Stefanski was named the AP's NFL Coach of the Year, the first Browns coach to win the honor since Forrest Gregg in 1976.
The Browns clinched their first postseason appearance since 2002 with an emotional win over the Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium in the season's final week. They would earn their first playoff victory since the 1994 season with a 48-37 win against the Steelers, this time in Pittsburgh, in the AFC wild card round. The Browns' season finally came to a close after a defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional round.
You can watch the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards in the player below:
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- St. Ignatius' Tyler Hong, Mentor's Paige Floriea named Male, Female High School Athletes of the Year at Greater Cleveland Sports Awards