Before the New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns face off in their Week 6 game, let’s take a look back at Patriots head coach Bill Belichick’s time as head coach. of the Browns.
After leaving the New York Giants, Bill Belichick became the franchise head coach of the Cleveland Browns in 1991.
In his first game as head coach, the Browns would lose at home to the Dallas Cowboys.
Ironically, the Browns would earn their first victory, on the road, against the Patriots in Week 2. They continued their momentum until Week 3 when they beat the Cincinnati Bengals at home.
The Browns would suffer a loss in Week 4 from Belichick’s former employer, the New York Giants. Their bye week came in Week 5, the Browns would then go on to go 4-8, giving them a 6-10 overall season record. They finish third in their division.
In 1992, the Browns again opened their season with a loss, this time to the Indianapolis Colts. Their first win would come in Week 3 against the Los Angeles Raiders.
By week 10 the team was at 5-4, from there it went to 2-5. Overall, they finished the season, 7–9, a slight improvement over the previous year, also placing third in their division for the second consecutive year.
Bill Belichick had quarterback drama before coaching the New England Patriots
In 1993, Belichick looked to capitalize on the teams’ growing improvements. The Browns started strong, winning 5 of their first 7 games. Throughout the season, Belichick and quarterback Bernie Kosar clashed as each had different views on calling and training strategies.
In the Week 10 game against the Denver Broncos, Kosar defied Belichick’s play call and threw for a touchdown in the closing moments of the game. The Browns lost the game 29-14. Belichick was furious with Kosar and kicked him out of the team soon after. All would not end badly for Kosar as he was signed by the Dallas Cowboys and won a Super Bowl to end the 1993 season.
The Browns’ season started hot and ended cold as Denver’s loss was the start of a 2-7 season finale. They finished 7-9 and again third in their division.
Despite their troubles the previous year, the 1994 season saw a turning point for the Browns. They got off to a good start winning eight of their first 10 games. Belichick had also brought in linebackers from his time with the Giants, Carl Banks and Pepper Johnson, and they helped give Cleveland the number-one ranked defense.
The team would finish the season with an impressive 11-5 record and a second-place finish in its division. They also reached the playoffs for the first time in the 90s. They beat the Patriots in the Wild Card Round, but would lose in the Divisional Round to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
A failure in Cleveland led to Belichick’s future success with the New England Patriots
The Browns entered the 1995 season with optimism after their short but still remarkable 1994 playoff series. They opened the season with a loss to the Patriots, but would win their next three games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Houston Oilers and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Later in the season, team owner Art Modell announced that the team would be moving to Baltimore after the season. This decision proved terrible for the Browns and their fans, as the team has lost 6 of its last 7 games.
They finished the season with a hopeless 5-11 record and a fourth-place finish in their division. At the end of the season, Modell had assured Belichick that he would remain the team’s head coach, but a few weeks later Belichick was fired.
Just four years after being fired from the Browns, Belichick became the head coach of the New England Patriots and the rest is truly history. The Patriots have won six Super Bowls and the Browns have suffered countless losing seasons.
The Patriots and Browns will meet for the 27th time overall when the teams face off on Sunday. The overall series is tied, 13-13, but the Patriots lead the series in regular season games, 13-12.
The Patriots are 5-8 when they play in Cleveland. They are 2-6 at Cleveland Municipal Stadium and 3-2 at Cleveland Browns/First Engineering Stadium.
Bill Belichick is currently 8-2 against his former team.