There's really no way around this. It has to be the Cleveland Browns. They've spent the past two decades as the punchline of the NFL. Through it all, this fan base has continued to fill the stadium and show love to a team that frequently didn't seem to love them back. If that isn't screaming for just a little bit of happiness, I don't know what does. While no fan base truly deserves anything out of its relationship with a football team, certain organizations are overdue for a title. Some clubs, like the Lions and Browns, haven't had a postseason win since the 1990s. Others, like the Falcons, Vikings and Rams, have gotten thisclose to glory, only to fall at the hands of the eventual champions. But the franchise, and, by proxy, the fan base, that most deserves a title this season has to be the Saints.
Has any team had more demoralizing back-to-back season finales in NFL history? The "Minnesota Miracle" in 2017. The "Nickell No-Call" in 2018. What's next? The "Brees Botch" in 2019? (I'm spitballin' here.) New Orleans only has so many years left of the Hall of Fame pairing of Drew Brees and Sean Payton and has only one Super Bowl title to show for it. Whereas some teams have been mired in mediocrity, suffering through average or worse campaigns for decades, New Orleans has been competitive year after year, coming close, only to lose in the most meme-able fashion. It's an age-old question: Is it better to have had and lost or to never have had at all? Most would argue the former. Not when it comes to the Saints, who have had, and should have had more. If I'm writing a movie, I would have the Oakland Raiders winning the Super Bowl before they move to Las Vegas in 2020 (although they could remain in Oakland for another season if their new stadium isn't ready). Of course, the fitting and obvious end would be Marshawn Lynch scoring the winning touchdown on a 1-yard plunge in the closing moments of the game. Against the Seahawks, obviously. A lot of fan bases have been starved of football immortality, but none more than those souls who launch themselves through tables in Buffalo. The Bills Mafia just lost their leader, superfan "Pancho Billa" and there's still a bad taste in their mouths from going 0-4 in Super Bowl appearances in the early 1990s. Buffalo needs this. Plus, who doesn't want to see Jim Kelly finally hoisting the Lombardi? I know I do. I'm keeping this short and sweet. The Cleveland Browns have defined phrases that refer to their failures of the past. The Drive. The Fumble. The (QB) Curse. But maybe, just maybe, "The Trade" of 2019 will send the Browns, and their fans, to the top of the football universe. John Dorsey made one of the biggest moves of the offseason when he traded for superstar Odell Beckham Jr., which I believe (for the sake of this debate) will turn the tides forever. It all starts with a championship in Super Bowl LIV in Miami -- ironically, the place LeBron James left for when he delivered "The Decision." Although the Jaguars' organization is still young compared to others, there is no other fan base more deserving of a title. The fans have suffered through some disappointing years (14 losing seasons since 1995), but the Jags have also been within reach of a Super Bowl, having made the AFC Championship Game three times, with the most recent appearance coming just two seasons ago. The Duval faithful have stuck with the team through thick and thin and feel they have a real shot at bringing home a Lombardi this season, thanks to a great defense and the arrival of former Super Bowl MVP, Nick Foles. I'm here for it.