CLEVELAND — It’s been a very long time since the Cleveland Browns made the playoffs—just over 18 years to be exact. But the drought is over and the Browns will make a postseason appearance after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
As the reality sinks in that the Browns are once again a playoff team, let's look back on some of the things that were going on the last time this happened.
How the Browns did it last time
On Dec. 29, 2002, the Browns did something they hadn’t done since before they were moved to Baltimore and returned as an expansion team—they won their way into the playoffs after defeating the Falcons and getting a hand from the New England Patriots and New York Jets.
After taking down the Falcons inside Cleveland Browns Stadium, sans quarterback Tim Couch, who broke his leg in the second quarter, the team celebrated—then held their breath as they waited on the results of the Patriots-Dolphins and Jets-Packers games.
The Browns got a hint of relief when the Patriots defeated the Dolphins thanks to a field goal from Adam Vinatieri in overtime. Cleveland was able to breathe again, and celebrate thoroughly, when the Jets beat the Packers, officially making the Browns a wild-card playoff team.
Eighteen years ago, when the Browns found out they had made the playoffs for the first time in the expansion era, people around the world were listening to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” which was the No. 1 song on that date.
Shania Twain’s album “Up!” was at the top of the charts and Fergie had recently joined the Black Eyed Peas.
“The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” remained a box office No. 1 for the second straight week after its release.
“I am Sam,” “A Beautiful Mind,” “Black Hawk Down,” “Catch Me If You Can,” and “Chicago” had also all been recently released.
When the Browns last went to the playoffs in 2002, they did so under head coach Butch Davis.
Carson Palmer had just won the Heisman Award and the then Anaheim Angels had recently won their first World Series.
A 17-year-old LeBron James was playing his senior year on the St. Vincent-St. Mary High School boys basketball team and had given up playing wide receiver on the school’s football team to pursue his now-legendary career in the NBA.
In other news
The last time the Browns found themselves in the playoffs, George W. Bush was the president of the United States.
AOL Time Warner had recently announced a patent for instant messaging.
Bratz, Chicken Dance Elmo and Beyblades were the hottest toys at the time and the Playstation 2, GameCube and Xbox were the newest gaming consoles on the market.
And here we are
It’s clearly been a while since the Browns have found themselves in the playoffs, but the past isn’t nearly as important as the present.
As the immortal Eminem once said, "Guess who's back?"
Camryn Justice is a digital content producer at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.