The Cleveland Browns were established in 1946 as a member of the All-American Football Conference and joined the National Football League (NFL) in 1950.
By the end of the 1980s, the Browns had managed to make play-offs for five years in a row. However, the turn of the decade marked the beginning of both poor performances on the field and deteriorating fan faith in the team.
And things went from bad to worse when the club's owners at the time announced plans to relocate the team to Baltimore.
The uproar among fans and the media frenzy led to the idea being scrapped. But by then the major sponsors of the Cleveland Municipal Stadium had pulled out, leaving the stadium without any advertising.
In 1996, the NFL announced that the team would be 'deactivated' for three years while a new stadium was built and that it would resume playing in 1999.
A new owner was found - Randy Lerner's father Al - and with him came mounting expectations for success.
Coach Butch Davis was appointed and the new Cleveland Browns became serious title contenders.
Then, in October 2002, tragedy struck with the death of Al Lerner.
Control of the team passed to Randy Lerner. He relied on the club president, Carmen Policy, to learn the business.
His inexperience showed in a response to a question about what he expected from his team: "Everybody in the room knows what we have to do. Everybody on the field knows what we have to do. We just have to do it."