Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
As fans of the Cleveland Browns can attest, conference championship games have never brought much luck to Bernie Kosar. Despite how well Kosar would play, quarterback counterpart John Elway and the Denver Broncos always found a way to one-up Cleveland and punch a ticket to the Super Bowl.
But 20 and 21 years after "The Fumble" and "The Drive," respectively, Kosar is back in the conference championship game once again -- this time as president of the Cleveland Gladiators of the Arena Football League.
Cleveland will face the Philadelphia Soul Saturday, July 12, for a chance to play in the Arena Bowl.
Many football people believe conference title games can be just as difficult -- and sometimes more difficult -- to win than championship games. Kosar agreed with that assessment based on personal experience.
"Most people think that if you don't win it all, it's not a success," Kosar said Wednesday via conference call. "But basically you're playing the cream of the crop, the best-type teams [in conference championships]. It's not an accident that I believe us and Philadelphia are still playing. And when you're playing at the highest level, somebody has to lose."
Kosar aims to not come up on the short end in the conference championship again this weekend.
The matchup pits two championship-deprived cities. Philadelphia hasn't won a pro sports title since the 76ers were NBA champions in 1983. Cleveland hasn't won a pro championship since the Browns did it in 1964, before the merger.
Although Elway owns an arena team, he is not standing in Kosar's way this weekend. But former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski is.
Jaworski is president of the Soul and, like Kosar, also is trying to bring another title to the city he once played in.
"We really have two cities that are starving for a championship," Jaworski said. "I can speak for Philly, and I know the Cleveland organization feels the same way. We're very proud to represent our cities."