Cleveland Browns make losing an art in forgettable 0-16 season

PITTSBURGH -- The Cleveland Browns on Sunday became a part of NFL lore they'd sooner forget.

The Browns' 28-24 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Heinz Field ended a winless season, making these Browns and the 2008 Detroit Lions the only two teams to go winless in a 16-game season.

On fourth-and-2 with 1:46 left, Browns receiver Corey Coleman dropped a pass from DeShone Kizer at the Steelers' 11-yard line to end any hopes Cleveland had of winning their first game.

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam confirmed that Hue Jackson will be the coach of the Browns in 2018. Haslam did not waver from his initial announcement Dec. 8 that Jackson will return and said that Jackson has provided "great leadership"

"I remember standing approximately here last year and apologizing to our fans for the poor job we had done as owners, and I would just reiterate that again. Our record is unacceptable, and we accept full responsibility for that.

"I don't think that I need to say this. ... Hue Jackson will be back as our coach next year in 2018. He and John [Dorsey, general manager] are already off to a good start together," Haslam said.

Jackson tried to sound a positive note postgame.

"This part of the journey is over with," he said. "The two years of this has been tough. But I think we're at the end of that road. I think our players know it. I think the organization knows it. I know our fans don't.

"I don't want anyone thinking that just because we're 0-16 I'm going to walk out the door. That's not going to happen. We're going to get this thing fixed. That's what John Dorsey is here for. That's what I'm here for. We're going to fix this."

The Browns started 2017 with a three-point loss to the Steelers and continued on a steady, weekly path to Loserville with each game. They lost in two countries, two continents, eight states and nine stadiums -- including Twickenham, in London.

They lost by double digits nine times and came closest to victory Dec. 10 at home against Green Bay. In that game, the Browns led the Packers 21-7 early in the fourth quarter but lost in overtime 27-21. They also lost in overtime to Tennessee on Oct. 22. Four of their 16 losses were by three points, five by nine points or fewer.

Three other teams since 1960 have gone winless: The 1960 Dallas Cowboys were 0-11-1, the 1976 Tampa Bay Bucs were 0-14 and the 1982 Baltimore Colts were 0-8-1. The Lions and Browns share the mark for the greatest futility.

The 0-16 finish concluded a brutal two-year stretch for coach Jackson, who has gone 1-31 since he was hired before the start of the 2016 season.

The Browns' only win in two seasons came over San Diego on Christmas Eve of 2016. They lost 14 in a row to start that season and lost 17 in a row after the win. While jarring and embarrassing, the winless season merely continues a string of shocking ineptitude by one team.

The Browns have lost 44 games the past three seasons, just short of 15 per season. They have not had a winning record since 2007.

And they have lost at least 11 games in nine of the past 10 seasons -- averaging 12 losses per season.

In those 10 seasons, the Browns have had six coaches, eight offensive coordinators, seven defensive coordinators, seven general managers and 20 starting quarterbacks. The Browns' tangible reward for the worst record in the league is the first pick in the draft in April, an "honor" the Browns hold for the second year in a row.

The intangible reward is the "Perfect Season Parade," to be hosted by fan Chris McNeil, which will take place Jan. 6 at noon. The parade will circle FirstEnergy Stadium, completing a zero around the stadium.