The Cleveland Browns haven’t made the playoffs since 2002, but after a 7-8-1 season in 2018 they hope their long playoff drought will come to an end next season.
The Browns are resting their hopes for a postseason return on the right arm of Baker Mayfield, as the rookie quarterback taken first overall last April looked the part of a franchise QB once he was handed the keys to the offense. Mayfield had to wait until the third game of the season to get the opportunity to play, only after Tyrod Taylor was forced out of their game against the Jets due to injury. Hue Jackson, coach of the Browns at the time, had refused to give Mayfield any snaps with the first team through camp and the start of the season, insisting the rookie needed to sit and learn.
Mayfield, of course, led the Browns to a comeback win in that game and after Jackson was let go during the season the Browns rattled off five wins in their last seven games. Two of those wins came against the Cincinnati Bengals, who Jackson joined after being fired in Cleveland, and in both Mayfield made his feelings towards his old coach very well known with his actions on the field and words off of it. Some felt Mayfield was going overboard with his comments about Jackson, but he’s never backed down from his stance of not being a fan of his old coach and continues to double down on it.
Most recently, Mayfield appeared in a promo spot with Cooper Manning ahead of the NFC Championship Game in what was a hilarious bit where Manning messed with Baker and also teed him up to, once again, mess with Hue.
The entire bit is great, like Manning asking if he rents the hair around his nipples too, but the little jab at Jackson will undoubtedly be the part everyone latches on to. Some will say Baker should let it go and that might be the best course of action, but it’s also understandable why he’s not a fan of Jackson beyond him just joining the Bengals after leaving Cleveland. Jackson never gave Baker a chance and the Browns had to play catchup from Week 3 on because of it. The playoff drought could’ve potentially ended this season had there been an actual competition in camp for Mayfield to possibly be the starter, but the Browns will now hope a second year of the Mayfield-Freddie Kitchens combo can take them to the promised land in 2019.