Believeland ESPN Films: 30 for 30, Vol. 3 Episode 8
Released May 14, 2016
1 hr 19 min
The film covers everything from Cleveland’s successes to the disappointing losses from the mid 1950s through 2016. Believeland starts with the return of Lebron James, paints a picture of how the wretched “curse of Cleveland” came about, covers Art Modell moving the Browns, and ends with the Cleveland Caveliers’ victory in the 2016 Championship
Scott Raab – Cleveland native, “Everyone counting on one player to win a championship”
“God Hates Cleveland”
Black and white footage of the old city is shown. From 1950 through 2015, only one city with at least three major sports franchises failed to win a championship. Cleveland is noted as “a pessimistic city”. The poor perception of Cleveland has been shaped by events dating back to the Cuyahoga River catching on fire in 1969. It is stated in the film, “Cleveland does not have much to hang it’s hat on”.
The Golden Years
Those who walk the streets of Cleveland today will find busted factory windows and graffiti across broken down buildings. However, the “mistake on the lake” has not always been this way. In 1949 Cleveland was declared an All-American city. In 1954 population peaked. Manufacturing elevated post-war and Cleveland was in the forefront of it all. The city had more fortune 500 companies than the combination of San Francisco and Los Angeles. American businesses flocked to Cleveland and thrived at the time.
Paul Brown is a name known by every true Clevelander. The Browns was the only team named after a coach. Paul Brown lead Cleveland to 4 championships in the American Football Conference (AFC). Coached by Paul Brown was the All-American running back from Syracuse, Jim Brown.
In 1948, the Cleveland Indians won the world series and held a steady run into the mid 1950s. On December 28, 1964 the Indians took out Baltimore in the World Championship Game 27-0.
This was the last championship Cleveland would see for decades.
Throughout the 1970s the Browns and Indians struggled and the Cavs were seen as “comic relief”. The beginning years for the Cavs were full of failure. From 1970 through 1975 population declined 16% and businesses followed.
By 1979 the Browns were recognized as the “Kardiac Kids” for keeping the results of their games completely unpredictable until the final few moments. On January 4, 1981 – The AFC divisional playoff game vs Oakland raiders shook the city. In -15 degree Northeastern weather, the Oakland Raiders were predicted to lose. With 00:56 left on the clock, Oakland Intercepted the ball and left Cleveland in tears.
Bernie Cosar was the first big time college player who said he wanted to play in Cleveland. This era started the “dog pound”,
- 1986 CLE rocked the AFC with a 12-4 record
- 1987 championship game – 4th quarter Denver 13, Cleveland 20 - 5:43 left - 98 yard drive by Broncos (Known as “The Drive”)
- Field goal in overtime gives Denver the win 23-20
- Earnest Byner fumble in 1988 - Cleveland 31, Denver 38 – 4th quarter 1:12 left – gives Denver another win
- From the dreadful loses of the late 1980s through the Art Modell move in 1995, the Browns have been on a downfall ever since.
Indians early 1990s
- Jacobs Field spurs new housing, hotels, businesses, and Gund Arena.
- 1995 World Series - Cleveland vs Atlanta - game 6 – CLE loses
- 1997 Indians ALC game 6 vs Baltimore – CLE loses
- 1997 World Series vs Florida - game 7 – 2-2 bottoms of the ninth - CLE loses
- Lebron James drafted by the Cavs first round, first pick on May, 2003
- July 2010 announced he was leaving to Maimi after never accomplishing his dreams of getting a Championship ring.
The Lift of the Curse
- July 11, 2014 Lebron announces “I’m coming home”
- 2016 NBA finals – June 19, 2016 – Game 7
o Cleveland - 98, Golden State - 89 - 4th quarter 6.5 seconds left
o Curry misses a 3 pointer and Cleveland win
o First team ever to come back from a 3-1 deficit
o June 22, 2016 championship parade
o 1.3 million people attend parade
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