The Woodbury franchise was bought in 1999 by the Browns and is one of the Browns’ longest-running franchises, with the team having won a league-record 10 championships since it moved from Houston to Cleveland in 1974.
In 2017, Woodbury had a losing record, winning just seven games and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2001.
But the Browns have won six consecutive AFC South titles since, including four straight during the 2017 season.
The Browns’ success could benefit the franchise, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, who noted that the franchise’s new owner, former NFL executive John DePodesta, was known for his strong support of Woodbury players.
“When you’re talking about a franchise that has won four straight AFC South championships, and it’s one of their biggest, maybe the best, sports franchises in the country, and they’ve made it through all of those struggles with a winning record, you have to think it could help them in the long run,” Rapoports said on NFL Network’s NFL Total Access.
“The Woodbury fans are going to be a big draw for the Browns.”
Woodbury was not the only franchise to have a losing season.
In 2013, the New York Giants won their first Super Bowl in 46 years.
The team had already gone on to win two Super Bowls the previous two seasons.
In 2018, the Philadelphia Eagles, with a losing track record in recent years, finished 10-6 and lost in the Super Bowl.
The Woodburys have also struggled in the NFC East, losing three straight, including two of the past three seasons.
The franchise’s two recent winning seasons have come in the NFL’s lower bowl.
Woodbury finished 12-4 in 2017, but went 8-8 in 2018 and 7-9 the previous season.
Woodbury owner and general manager Brian Hoyer said he hopes to keep Woodbury on its current path.
“It’s been a great journey for the franchise,” Hoyer told the New Orleans Times-Picayune in 2018.
“We know the future, and we’re looking forward to what the next chapter is.”
In 2017 and 2018, Woodburies playoff victories came against teams that had already been eliminated.
In 2019, the Browns lost their first playoff game of the season in Week 4, and Woodbury fell to the Houston Texans 23-14 in Week 7.
However, the team did win the AFC South in 2019 and finished with a record of 9-6 in 2020.
The last time the Browns were defeated by a team from the AFC East was in 2002, when the Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Browns in the divisional round of the playoffs.