Ten good reasons Browns fans can warm up to a Kansas City Chiefs-Tampa Bay Buccaneers Super Bowl

Steve Doerschuk
The Repository

Perhaps the main reason Browns fans carry an elevated interest into this Super Bowl is relevance.

After averaging 10.1 losses in the netherworld of the 1990s, 10.6 defeats in the expansionville decade of the 2000s, and 11.7 losses in the Murphy's Law 2010s, Cleveland rejoined the National Football League by posting 12 victories to kick off the current decade.

The Browns are part of the action again. One can imagine with a straight face how they stack up against the Super Bowl survivors.

More:10 good reasons Cleveland Browns can contend for 2022 Super Bowl

A Kansas City-Tampa Bay matchup offers particular intrigues for the millions whose favorite team is the Browns. Here are 10 of them:

Enjoy Patrick Mahomes ... and Baker Mayfield

1, Patrick Mahomes watching is no longer an exercise in lamenting another franchise quarterback the Browns might have had.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes throws against the Cleveland Browns during the first half of the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium, Jan. 17, 2021, in Kansas City, Mo. (Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports)
Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield moves out to pass against the Chiefs during the first half in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium, Jan. 17, 2021, in Kansas City, Mo. (Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports)

Mahomes is the QB Baker Mayfield has to catch. Chances are Mayfield must get the Browns in a shootout to overtake Kansas City. The recent playoff game was good practice.

Mayfield's drive at the end of the first half should have resulted in a touchdown. His second and third possessions of the second half finished in the end zone (after he started the half with an interception).

The Browns will play at Kansas City in the 2021 regular season. Don't be surprised if that becomes the featured game for kickoff week.

More:Marla Ridenour: It's time to give Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield his due, and his money

2, Cleveland gave Kansas City a much livelier playoff battle than Buffalo did. Mayfield looked more poised in Arrowhead Stadium than Josh Allen.

If the Chiefs roll over Tampa Bay, it will be more than fantasy to imagine Cleveland as next year's world champion.

3, Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians loved working in Cleveland. He wanted to be the Browns' head coach. He's as big a fan of Browns fans as there is around the league.

More:Bruce Arians vs. Kevin Stefanski. Wouldn't that have been interesting?

Passing on 'Honey Badger' in real 'Draft Day' didn't turn out well for Browns in 2013

4, Final scenes for "Draft Day" were filmed in Berea in 2013. Browns fans had some fun debating whether the real Browns should chase "the Honey Badger" in that year's real draft.

LSU safety Tyrann Mathieu was still on the board when the Browns had a pick at No. 68 overall. They opted for defensive back Leon McFadden.

Arians' team at the time, Arizona, pounced on Mathieu at No. 69. Mathieu will play against Arians in this Super Bowl, as a second-year Chiefs starter. He has made first-team All-Pro three times, including the last two seasons. McFadden made two starts in a career that ended in 2016.

More:What Kansas City Chiefs, Tampa Bay Bucs can learn from regular-season meeting that could impact Super Bowl 55

Travis Kelce representing Northeast Ohio for Chiefs

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) celebrates the victory against the Browns in the AFC Divisional Round playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium, Jan. 17, 2021, in Kansas City, Mo. (Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)

5, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce grew up in Cleveland Heights, eight miles from the Browns' stadium. He never grew away from his home.

Kelce was a face in the crowd at the parade after the Cavs won an NBA championship in 2016. He'll slip into the celebration if the Browns ever win it all.

“I understand what it means to be a die-hard Cleveland sports fan," he said before the recent Browns-Chiefs game. "I think a lot of close friends and family will be wearing Chiefs gear but throwing on an orange shirt underneath."

6, Arians' Tampa Bay staff has plenty of Browns flavor.

Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and running backs coach Todd McNair got to know Arians as fellow assistant coaches on the Browns' 2002 playoff team. Assistant coaches Antwaan Randle El and Larry Foote played against the Browns, for Pittsburgh, in the '02 playoffs. Director of player personnel John Spytek spent three years as the Browns' lead scout.

Arians' quarterback, of course, is Tom Brady, whom the Browns bypassed in the sixth round 21 years ago because they preferred Spergon Wynn.

Antoine Winfield Jr. makes his mark with Buccaneers

7, Plenty of Browns fans hoped Antoine Winfield Jr. would be Cleveland's Round 2 draft pick, partly because his father was an excellent player at Akron Garfield, Ohio State and then in the NFL, partly because the son checked lots of boxes while playing safety for the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers strong safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (31) celebrates after recovering a fumble by the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

The Browns opted for safety Grant Delpit at No. 44 overall. Tampa Bay pounced on Winfield at No. 45.

Winfield rarely left the field prior to sitting out Sunday's NFC title game with an ankle issue. He made the PFWA all-rookie team. 

More:Browns' Joe Woods must grow in the land of defensive coordinators with worlds of experience

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) and head coach Andy Reid celebrate the victory against the Cleveland Browns in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium, Jan. 17, 2021, in Kansas City, Mo. (Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports)

8, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid could write a book about Cleveland.

One of Kevin Stefanski's most influential mentors was Brad Childress, who worked under Reid for seven years in Philadelphia.

Mike Holmgren, who should have worked out much better than he did as Browns president, mentored Reid with the Packers for seven years. The Haslams pushed out Holmgren and brought in Joe Banner, who spent 14 years with Reid in Philadelphia. 

Tom Heckert became general manager of the Browns in 2010 after spending 10 years with Reid. Before he was a Browns head coach, Pat Shurmur likewise worked for a decade under Reid. 

Before John Dorsey was GM in Cleveland, he was Reid's right-hand man in Kansas City.

Tristan Wirfs working out well in Tampa Bay, as did Jedrick Wills Jr. in Cleveland

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Scott Miller (10) celebrates his 39-yard touchdown reception with Tristan Wirfs against the Green Bay Packers during the first half of the NFC championship NFL football game in Green Bay, Wis., Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

9, The Browns went into the 2020 draft considering Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs as their possible pick at No. 10 overall.

The Browns opted for Alabama offensive tackle Jedrick Wills Jr., who performed well for a strong Cleveland offensive line.

More:Browns offensive line gains No. 1 rating, ready to be backbone of team success

Wirfs went to Tampa Bay at No. 13 and did the same. He played every one of a possible 1,073 offensive snaps during the regular season and has played every down in the three postseason games.

Browns still keep company among teams to never play in a Super Bowl, but ...

10, "It took a Super Bowl champion to beat the Browns."

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) reacts during the first half in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium, Jan. 17, 2021, in Kansas City, Mo. [Jay Biggerstaff/USA TODAY Sports]

The Browns are one of four current franchises (Lions, Texans, Jaguars) never to reach a Super Bowl. Seven times, Cleveland has lost in the playoffs to a team that reached the Super Bowl.

More:Browns' Kevin Stefanski praises Baker Mayfield without slapping franchise QB label on him

Only twice have the Browns lost in the playoffs to the team that went on to win the Super Bowl, in the 1972 season to the undefeated Dolphins, and in the 1980 season to the Raiders. Kansas City would make it three. Go Chiefs?

Reach Steve at steve.doerschuk@cantonrep.com

On Twitter: @sdoerschukREP