CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - With the loss to the Detroit Lions over the weekend, the Cleveland Browns are approaching some dangerous territory with the label of worst team in history hanging out there.
For the purpose of this article, we are only focusing on the post-merge of the NFL which combined the NFL and the AFL in 1970.
There are two teams that are in the discussion of worst team ever when you look at a two year span which is what we will use to compare to the current Browns.
Those two teams are the 1976-77 Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the 2008-09 Detroit Lions.
We are not including the 1982 Baltimore Colts in this discussion, who went winless that season, because it was a strike shortened season that left them with zero wins, eight losses and one tie.
The 1981 season had them at 2-14, so a two year total of 2-22-1 for wins, losses and ties. Had it not been a strike shortened season they may have been up for the title.
In 1976 the Buccaneers were in their very first season as an expansion team. Does that give them an excuse?
It was not a good start. In 1976 the Bucs went 0-14.
A winless season that tied them with the above mentioned Colts as the only team to not win a game in an NFL season, post merge.
1977 didn't get much better. Tampa Bay would lose their first 12 games that season, setting what is still the NFL record for consecutive losses at 26. They would actually win the last two games of the season to finish 2-12.
So for their two year total they were 2-26.
The Detroit Lions do not have the excuse the Buccaneers can lean back on of being an expansion team.
The 2008 was the franchise's 79th season.
The Loins set a new NFL record for losses in a season by losing every game in the expanded 16 game schedule.
So by going winless in 2008 they took over the record from Tampa Bay by going 0-16.
In 2009 the Loins lost their first two games and then finally won one against the Washington Redskins.
They would only win one more game that season, coincidentally it was against the Browns, to finish 2-14 in 2009.
The Lions total would be 2-30.
There is an asterisk here because the 2017 season is still ongoing so the Browns have a chance to get themselves out of this discussion.
The Browns have seven games left this season.
In 2016 after yet another regime and coaching change the Browns only managed one win in the second to last game of the season.
Because that loss came late in the season they have taken themselves out of the running for most consecutive losses record.
They lost their first 14 in 2017, then won a game, then lost the last game of the season.
Adding that loss to the 2017 season, even if they were to go 0-16 this season, would still only have 17 consecutive losses. You would then have to wait for 2018 to see if they can take that title.
If the Browns go winless for the rest of the season they will have a record of 1-31 which would eclipse the Detroit two year mark of 2-30.
If you really want to get deep into the numbers for the Browns you can stretch all the way back to the end of the 2014 season in which they lost their last five games of the season.
If you start from that point until now, the Browns are 4-42.