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Big Three Cleveland Sports Teams

Cleveland residents will know that the city’s sports culture is intrinsically tied to the three major league teams that represent it. For the unfamiliar, these three teams are the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team, the Cleveland Guardians baseball team, and of course, the Cleveland Browns football team. Historically, all three of these teams have had quite an impressive career. However, in more recent years they have suffered quite a lot of losses. In this articles, we would like to explore the history of the big three Cleveland sports teams, and discuss their highs and lows. 

The Cleveland Browns 

Of course, we have to start with the Cleveland Browns. The National Football League is one of the biggest sports organizations in the world, and definitely the biggest in the United States. The sport is so intrinsically linked with the United States, that outside of the country it is known as “American football.” 

Sports bettors in the USA flock to the sport, and have made it the most popular game to bet on, with the Super Bowl being the biggest attraction in the American sports world. For anyone who may be curious to try sports betting, check out football lines and much more on the linked website. For those who just want to know more about the history of the Browns, let us get into the nitty gritty. 

If we go through the history of the team, we will find that the Cleveland Browns are among the most successful teams in the NFL. From the mid-1940s and well into the mid-60s, they were considered one of the best teams, having won eight titles during a relatively short period of time. Despite this, the Browns have never competed in a Super Bowl, though they’ve certainly come close.

The Browns have clashed and formed rivalries against some of the more notable teams in the NFL. The most notable rivalry is, of course, the “Turnpike” against the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, they also have had notable antagonism with the Denver Broncos, the San Francisco 49ers, and the Baltimore Ravens.

However, the Cleveland Browns are victims of what is known as the “Cleveland curse.” They have not won a division title since 1989, despite having a relatively strong offence. The team and their fans have had a relatively strained relationship ever since 1995, when the team’s then-owner, Art Modell, relocated the team to Baltimore. 

Still, according to a 2006 survey, the Cleveland Brown fans base is one of the most loyal in the NFL. They have stuck with the Browns through thick and thin, and still cheer them on, even if the odds are against them. 

The Cleveland Guardians 

The Cleveland Guardians have also had quite a successful and notable career. Initially called the Cleveland Indians, the team changed its name to the Guardians in 2022. As the Indians, Cleveland’s baseball team have won the World Series on two separate occasions, once in 1920 and once in 1948. It doesn’t end there, however. They’ve also won the American pennant, qualifying for the World Series on four other occasions, most recently in 2016.

The team has produced several Hall of Famers, and their fans have created statues, murals, and other similar works of art depicting its greatest players. In 2012, a street near Progressive Field was renamed Larry Doby Way, in honor of one of the Guardians’ most notable and greatest players. 

The team’s greatest, most recent achievement came in 2017. The Guardians (then Indians) won 22 consecutive games, which today remains the longest winning streak in American League history. On top of that, it is the second longest winning streak in Major League Baseball history. As of 2023, they remain one of the best baseball teams in the league, with incredibly talented players like: 

  • Shane Bieber
  • Aaron Civale
  • Zach Plesac
  • Emmanuel Clase

The Cleveland Cavaliers

Finally, we arrive to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The basketball team has had quite a success in the Eastern Conference, especially in the late-2000s and 2010s. In the 21st century, they have won the Eastern Conference title on five separate occasions, and in 2016 they won the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, after making a miraculous comeback from a 3 – 1 deficit. 

In 2003, the Cleveland Cavaliers selected LeBron James in the draft. During his time with the Cavaliers, James won the Rookie of the Year award, becoming the first Cavalier to do so. During his seven years with the team, he was voted MVP several times, and led the Cavaliers to massive success. So, understandably, when he chose to switch to the Miami Heat in 2010, the Cavaliers took a huge blow.

However, King James’ return to the Cavaliers in 2014 was a turning point for the team. With LeBron at the helm, the Cavs made four back-to-back NBA finals appearances, even winning their first Championship in 2016. The achievement marked the team’s first major sports title since the mid-1960s. 

Since their formation in the 1970s, they have won seven Central Division titles, five East Conference Titles, and one NBA Championship. These accomplishments came in the following years:

  • Central Division Titles: 
    • 1976
    • 2009
    • 2010
    • 2015
    • 2016
    • 2017
    • 2018
  • East Conference Titles:
    • 2007
    • 2015
    • 2016
    • 2017
    • 2018
  • NBA Championship Title: 
    • 2016

The Minor League

Apart from the three major league pillars, Cleveland is also home to two, rather successful, minor league teams. The Cleveland Monsters, a minor league hockey team affiliated with the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Cleveland Charge, an NBA G League team affiliated with the Cavaliers. 

Out of the two, the Cleveland Monsters are certainly the most prominent team, as their 2016 victory against the Hershey Bears made them AHL champions, and the first Cleveland hockey team to win the Calder Cup. Shortly after, the Cavaliers won the NBA Championship, breaking the “Cleveland sports curse,” which plagued the city between 1964 and 2016. 

Concluding Thoughts 

The city of Cleveland has a long and storied history with sports. The three pillars of the city’s sports community have had quite a successful history. Despite the ups and downs, they remain three of the most successful teams in the history of American major league sports.

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