Ohio is possibly the best state for sports in the entire country. Unfortunately, the success of professional sports teams in Ohio has been limited. There has been a lot of false hope and heartbreak. The good news is that regardless of what happens to the fans in this state, they are true diehards. They will stick with their teams through thick and thin. Though not a professional sports team, there is also one team with a stellar reputation and record, which we will cover below. First, let’s take a look at a brief history for all professional sports team in Ohio. Since the NFL is always the big daddy regardless of where you live, we will begin there.
The Cleveland Browns are almost non-existent to NFL fans that don’t live in Ohio. That might sound blunt, but it’s definitely true. The Browns have been a disaster for over a decade. This is a sad state of affairs considering the former Browns that Art Modell moved to Baltimore and called the Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2000. This added salt to the wound for Browns fans who remembered the good old days of the 1980s. Let’s keep the nostalgia in check, though. While the Browns were competitive in the 1980s, and even though they made the playoffs from 1985 to 1989, they still broke the hearts of their fans on countless occasions. John Elway, former QB of the Denver Broncos, had a lot to do with this heartache. As far as Modell moving the team, he claimed that the fans and city government weren’t supportive enough. Since the new Browns have come into existence, we have seen a new era of futility. The Browns are consistently a non-contender, and their management has made one error after another with head coaches and quarterbacks. Their most recent move was to draft a 29-year-old QB. Time will tell how that works out.
The Cincinnati Bengals have a slightly better history. In the 1970s, they made the playoffs often, yet they never won the Super Bowl. In the 1980s, the Bengals had their most successful decade under Sam Wyche. They made it to the Super Bowl in 1981 and 1988, but they lost to the 49’ers on both occasions. In the 1990s and early 2000s, head coaches included Dave Shula, Bruce Coslet and Dick LeBeau. They all had losing records. Head Coach Marvin Lewis took the Bengals to the playoffs in 2005, but they haven’t been back since. Many Bengals fans are hoping QB Andy Dalton can become a top-tier QB in the NFL.
Switching to baseball, the Cincinnati Reds were once a powerhouse. In the 1970s, they had The Big Red Machine with Pete Rose, Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan. With Sparky Anderson at the helm, this team was well-managed. They won the World Series in 1975 and 1976. However, since that time, the Reds have seen limited success. A lot of people think the Pete Rose gambling incident and Marge Schott racist incident pointed the team in the wrong direction, and that the team has been cursed ever since.
The Cleveland Indians are the kings of heartbreak. They won the World Series in 1914 and 1948, but when you have been around for over 100 years, two championships isn’t very impressive. They lost the World Series in 1954. After that, it was all downhill for a long period of time. Between 1960 and 1993, they never finished better than third place. They constantly changed owners and traded players, never allowing their teams to gel. This great impatience has been the key ingredient for their consistent failures. Between the mid-1990s to 2010, the Indians had some great seasons, but they always choked in the playoffs.
Now let’s take a look at the brightest spot for Ohio sports, which is the Ohio State Buckeyes. They have an all-time winning percentage of .716. That’s impressive, but what’s even more impressive is that they have seven national titles. Their championship years include 1942, 1954, 1957, 1961, 1968, 1970 and 2002. If that’s not enough, the Buckeyes have produced seven Heisman Trophy winners, which include Les Horvath, Vic Janowicz, Howard Cassady, Archie Griffin (2x,) Eddie George and Troy Smith. The Buckeyes also have a reputation for producing NFL talent. Their top players are often selected in the first few rounds of the NFL draft.
The most recent championship for the Ohio State Buckeyes was in 2002 when Jim Tressel coached his team to an undefeated record. Currently, Urban Meyer is coaching the Buckeyes and seeing great results. It’s definitely possible for the Buckeyes to win another championship within the next few years. Their fans are incredibly dedicated, which can be proven by the fact that the Buckeyes consistently sellout a 102,329-seat stadium. This large fan base makes for a tremendous advantage when the Buckeyes play at home.
It’s difficult to predict what will happen in the future for Ohio sports, but one thing will always remain the same. Ohio sports teams will always enjoy the support of the most loyal fans in the country.
Alabama and Ohio State head AP poll
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