- Browns practice Friday for playoff game after COVID-19 woes wiped out previous sessions (Beacon Journal) - For the first time all week, the Browns practiced Friday in preparation for Sunday night’s AFC wild-card game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. The Browns (11-5) finally received approval from the NFL to take the field, and they began the session at 4:30 p.m. It was held in the field house at team headquarters and closed to reporters due to COVID-19 protocols.
- Expansion-era Browns fans finally have a playoff team to call their own (cleveland.com) - Browns fans of a certain era love to reminisce about the team’s glory days, seeing Bernie Kosar or Brian Sipe or even Vinny Testaverde coached by Bill Belichick. Some fans got to see Jim Brown run or Otto Graham throw passes. This generation of fans have been waiting for a team to come along they can call their own, like their parents and grandparents have with teams of the past. This year, it appears they finally have it.
- Browns-Steelers: AFC Super Wild Card Weekend preview (NFL.com) - Just a few years ago, snow fell from the sky on an icy, gray day along the shore of Lake Erie. The woebegone Browns hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers, trotting out a talent-devoid group to slaughter in another meaningless, season-ending game. No more. Five years after the Browns fell to the Steelers and entered yet another dark, directionless winter, Cleveland has a game that matters in January. For the first time since 2002, the Browns are back in the playoffs, and they’ll meet a familiar foe in the same stadium in which they played their last playoff game nearly two decades ago.
- Former Browns running back helps restore 193-year-old menorah (Cleveland Jewish News) - The Mollie and Louis Kaplan Museum of Judaica at Congregation Beth Yeshurun in Houston experienced a Chanukah miracle just in time for the Festival Of Lights. A team of engineers and jewelers, led by former Cleveland Browns running back Herman Fontenot, helped restore a 193-year-old menorah that belonged to the museum.
- Cowboys fire defensive coordinator Mike Nolan after one season (Dallas Morning News) - Dallas allowed 218 points in its first six games, most by an NFL team since 1954.
- Bills better than Colts on paper, but ‘don’t believe everything you see’ (ESPN) - For the third time in the past four seasons, the Buffalo Bills are playoff-bound. This time, however, they’re not entering the postseason as an underdog.
- Asking the NFL playoff questions that need answers (New York Times) - To play football amid a pandemic, N.F.L. players worked from home a lot. They took coronavirus tests daily. And when they did report to team facilities, they were required to wear a mask. It has been a weird season. And chances are it’s going to get weirder.
- The keys to every NFL Wild Card game (The Ringer) - The NFL playoffs are here. This is the first wild card weekend under the league’s expanded postseason format, meaning 14 teams made the playoffs this season (up from 12) and just two got first-round byes (Kansas City and Green Bay). The result is back-to-back tripleheader days of playoff football on Saturday and Sunday, which the NFL insists on calling “Super Wild Card Weekend.” The name needs work, but the slate looks fun.