It seems a path to the Super Bowl starts in Cleveland.
And to end up in the big game, a team just has to plant its flag here and then leave Northeast Ohio.
Our beloved Browns remain one of four teams in the NFL — along with the Detroit Lions, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans — who have yet to compete in the so-called modern era of the championship game known by Roman numerals.
It took the Browns leaving the city, moving to Baltimore and rehatching as the Ravens to get to the Super Bowl — which they've done twice.
And the Rams have done it, too.
Long before Cleveland fans burned their jerseys when the Browns left for Baltimore in the 1990s, the Rams departed and broke the hearts of our great-grandparents.
The franchise with horns on its helmets snapped its first football in Cleveland in 1937. They played a bit like the modern Browns, with a losing record for five seasons, and took a year off in 1943 because of a shortage of players due to the war effort.
Fans had a lot to cheer about, though, in the 1945 season, as the Rams not only posted a winning record, but also won the NFL Championship Game 15-14 over the Washington Redskins.
The game's outcome is somewhat famous in the folklore of the sport, since it was decided by just one point and by an odd play.
Jon Kendle, an archivist at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, said an errant throw by the Redskins quarterback on a play from that team's goal line factored in the outcome.
"The ball hit the goal post and landed back in the end zone," he said. "You have to remember back then the goal posts were actually in the end zone, and the rules at the time said an incomplete pass that hits the post and lands back inside the end zone was a safety.
"And the Rams went on to win by just one point."
Of course, there were no challenges back then — and it would have taken hours to develop the film or the sketch artists to complete the nuances of the play — so the ruling on the field stood.
The Hall of Fame has a handful of Cleveland Rams items in its collection, including a game program from the championship that cost just 25 cents at the time, a team menu from a train ride to a game in New York, a football signed by the players in 1938, a pair of shoes, a pin and a sewn patch that likely was on a coach's jacket and a jersey.
The jubilation for the 32,178 fans in the stands at the then not-so-old Municipal Stadium on Dec. 16, 1945, was short-lived, as was the Rams' run in Cleveland.
The team affiliated with the National Football League packed up its pigskins and the league's 1945 player of the year, rookie quarterback Bob Waterfield, and moved west to Los Angeles right after the championship season.
Kendle said the move was during an era of change and growth for so-called professional football in the country. The various leagues at the time were trying to make the sport more national, not just clustered in smaller Midwest cities.
The NFL wanted its league to look more like baseball in where its teams were located, putting one on the West Coast, so the move by the Rams was a natural one. Little did they know the team would eventually move eastward to St. Louis, then back to Los Angeles in the ensuing decades.
At the same time, with World War II winding down, Kendle said a large number of players were returning home and looking for work. The All-American Football Conference was born, and the Cleveland Browns stepped in — so fans of football did not miss a single snap.
With a lineup that included quarterback Otto Graham, fullback Marion Motley and tackle/kicker Lou Groza, the Browns went on to win all four AAFC championships and posted a remarkable 52-4-3 record. Kendle said the AAFC folded after the 1949 season, and some historians blame the Browns' dominance for its demise.
The Browns, along with the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Colts were invited to join the Rams in the NFL, where Kendle said the Browns kept winning.
The team opened the 1950 season with a 35-10 upset victory over the defending NFL champion Philadelphia Eagles. They won the Eastern Conference championship for six consecutive years from 1950 to 1955, along with NFL titles in 1950, 1954 and 1955.
The Browns won their last NFL championship in 1964, when they defeated the Baltimore Colts 27-0. The taste of a championship game ended there, as they have not made it to the league's modern-day Super Bowl.
Kendle readily admits he is an archivist and not an expert of the game itself, but with the parity among teams in the modern era — the exceptions being the Patriots on one end of the spectrum and the Browns on the other — it is hard to imagine the fortunes for Northeast Ohio football fans will not change soon.
"The great thing thing about this league is that every year a new team can come along and be that surprise team."
Craig Webb, who fully expects the Browns to win each and every game, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.