It is one of the hardest things to do in the NFL.
In fact, it’s almost impossible, but history could unfold Sunday afternoon.
Regardless of the team, winning a football game at the professional level can be a daunting task. Among other things, it requires immeasurable teamwork, individual excellence, tireless game planning and attention to detail.
Losing, however, can be equally difficult.
The Cleveland Browns have the opportunity to become just the third team in league history to lose every game Sunday, when they travel to face longtime rival Pittsburgh with freezing conditions forecasted.
Think about that for a second.
In 97 years, only two NFL teams failed to collect a win or a tie, and there have been a lot of horrible teams through the years.
Just since 1978, when the schedule expanded to 16 games, I’ve witnessed some absolutely abysmal performances from the St. Louis Rams, Detroit Lions and even the now-mighty New England Patriots, who have all finished with multiple 14-loss seasons.
Still, the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-14) and 2008 Lions (0-16) are the only squads to achieve the feat.
No matter how poorly a roster is constructed or how misguided a coaching staff can be, it seems nearly impossible to come up short every single time. After all, we are talking about professional athletes, who all reached the sport’s most elite stage based, at least in part, on drive, ability and competitive spirit.
I mean, surely at some point, the stars would align for even the worst teams, and over time, they have for most.
Yet, somehow, the Browns are on the verge of undermining the trends for just the third time in nearly a century.
Ordinarily, a Cleveland-Pittsburgh game would barely raise an eyebrow for most viewers outside the local fan bases, but I’ll be watching, and I’ll be rooting for history.
I have nothing against the Browns, and I have no loyalty to the Steelers, but I want to see Cleveland join the ranks of the all-time worst teams in professional sports for the same reason people watch Halley’s Comet or an eclipse — just to say I did.
It’s not every year a team finds a way to bumble away its entire season, but here we are with a mere four quarters separating us from history.
Sure, Cleveland might finally catch a break and pull off the upset against the Steelers, who opened the week as 16-point favorites. Then, Pittsburgh would fall into a dubious class of its own by becoming the first to lose to an 0-15 team.
But I hope the Browns, who are 4-43 since the beginning of 2015, follow their season-long trend and fall for 16th consecutive time.
After all, it is one of the hardest things to do in the NFL.