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Can Cleveland win a home opener?

9/9/2009

Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker

Here is an amazing stat: The Cleveland Browns are the only NFL team to open their season at home every year since 1999.

Here is another amazing stat: Cleveland is 1-9 in those games.

For the 11th consecutive season, the Dawgpound will host a season opener Sunday when the Browns face Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings.

Cleveland’s had the benefit of being granted a decade’s worth of home openers by the NFL but has done very little with it. The team’s only win came in 2004 against the Baltimore Ravens (20-3).

The Browns have been outscored 256-105 in their last 10 openers. And according to ESPN Stats & Information, Cleveland hasn’t scored one first-quarter touchdown in Week 1 since its return to the league in 1999.

This is also a major reason the Browns have just one playoff appearance in that same span. Cleveland rarely gets off to a fast start, where a season-opening loss usually contributes to an uphill climb the rest of the year.

The Browns are hoping for better success this week under new head coach Eric Mangini. He had some first-year magic with the New York Jets in leading them to the playoffs as a rookie coach in 2006. But few expect similar results in Cleveland.

Mangini still hasn’t named his starting quarterback but has an idea of who it’s going to be. Most expect it to be Brady Quinn, who would be the eighth Week 1 starting quarterback in the past 11 seasons. That list also includes Ty Detmer, Tim Couch, Kelly Holcomb, Trent Dilfer and Charlie Frye.

Can Mangini and (possibly) Quinn buck the trend?