After a three-year absence, the Cleveland Browns returned to the NFL as an expansion team in 1999. The “former” Browns had left Cleveland for Baltimore after the 1995 season to become the Ravens. The league announced a few months later that Cleveland would resume and play in 1999 and retain all of the Browns’ name, history, marks and colors.

The Browns hired Chris Palmer as head coach, drafted Kentucky quarterback Tim Couch with the first overall draft pick and, like most expansion teams, struggled to be competitive in their first season. The season opener at the new Cleveland Browns Stadium resulted in a 43-0 loss to the hated Steelers.