COLUMBUS, Ohio — Clicking aimlessly through sports channels nowadays takes me back to my parents’ basement, where my father would pop in his VHS copy of the 1986 double-overtime playoff between the Browns and Jets. It’s also known as the greatest Browns victory in the era of color television.

He had about a dozen videotapes on file from the late 1980s and early 1990s and kept them more meticulously organized than the Library of Congress. Years before the advent of ESPN Classic, the old man spent his football offseasons watching endless replays of the Bernie Kosar-led Browns. He sat in his recliner and viewed big wins and crushing postseason losses in their entirety, fast-forwarding only through commercials and halftimes.

Sometimes, I’d keep him company. I can still quote Don Criqui’s play-by-play from the Browns-Jets marathon the way drunk uncles recite lines from “Christmas Vacation” at holiday parties.


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