- Pat McManamon, ESPN Staff Writer
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There’s a three-way tie for the AFC North, and the Cleveland Browns are one of the three teams.
No, it’s not a misprint.
For the first time since the team returned in 1999, the Browns have a winning record after five weeks, and are tied for first.
Where the heck is Kool and the Gang when you need them?
Another oddity: They’re not tied with Pittsburgh, which has owned the division for so long. The Steelers are 0-4 and making in-season trades, a rarity for that organization.
The Browns, Ravens and Bengals are all 3-2.
The last time the Browns were 3-2 after five games was former coach Butch Davis’ first season in 2001. The Browns opened with a loss to Seattle, but beat Detroit, Jacksonville and San Diego before losing to Cincinnati.
But they were not in first place.
Pittsubrgh had a Week 4 bye, and after the Steelers won in in Week 5, they were 3-1 -- one-half game in front.
It’s hardly worth popping champagne to be in first place after five games, but it leads to the familiar refrain: A team that has won 23 games in five seasons should acknowledge any positive step.