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Cleveland Browns' 1946 championship trophy found

One of four NFL teams without a Super Bowl appearance, the Cleveland Browns finally have a tangible sign of their eight championships prior to the modern era.

Digging through a box in his North Carolina garage as part of the reality show "Garage Gold" on the DIY Network, the grandson of a former team minority owner found a trophy commemorating the 1946 All-America Football Conference championship.

The Browns' 1946 championship trophy was found in a North Carolina garage.
The Browns' 1946 championship trophy was found in a North Carolina garage. (Associated Press)

The AAFC did not present teams with trophies, so the 38 players commissioned a pair for owner Arthur B. McBride and minority owner Daniel Sherby.

The 1946 season not only jump-started the Browns franchise, but was also the first of 10 consecutive seasons in the title game under Hall of Fame coach Paul Brown.

The Browns won AAFC titles in 1946, '47, '48 and '49, and then they won the NFL title in their first year in the league in 1950. The NFL did not hand out permanent championship trophies until 1966.

"We did not know that this one existed at all," Browns alumni relations manager Tony Dick said after returning from North Carolina this week, via The Chronicle-Telegram. "It's pretty special that we actually have something that's physical and you can look and it says that we've won a championship."

The Browns will work with the Pro Football Hall of Fame to decide where the trophy will be displayed. If it ends up at the refurbished team headquarters in Berea, the Browns will have a surrogate connection to their halcyon days to overshadow the manufactured motivation that stands as a daily reminder of the "Factory of Sadness" era.

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