The bone-dry statistics show that today's game is the Browns' 14th against the Pittsburgh Steelers. They also show that the Browns have won 12, lost one.
That simple audit of a period stretching over seven years helps explain much of what is happening to the Browns this season and why they may have difficulties today.
"It's good to be the team everybody wants to beat," said Paul Brown back in a time when not many other clubs could do the job.
And it was the greatest tribute to the Browns' 10-year dynasty that other teams wanted, deeply and emotionally, to do just that. In those 10 years, the Browns played in every championship game, an accomplishment unrivaled in professional football history.
Only now, in their 11th season, are the Browns finding out how high the premiums come on that kind of prestige. The Browns, with three losses in four games, have troubles like they have never seen before. While they struggle to master them, they find their eastern division neighbors lined up eagerly to make collections on long-overdue debts.
They wouldn't be human if they reacted otherwise, and in their relish to knock down the top dog they are aggressively human.
The Steelers, Cardinals and Washington Redskins have special reasons for working off their inferiority complexes. Much of the Browns' consistency can be attributed to the regularity with which they beat these three teams.
Already this season the Cardinals and Redskins have done something about it. The Cardinals beat the Browns in the opener, their first victory in 13 games. The Redskins
accomplished it last week, their second victory in 12 games.
Now it's the Steelers' turn to try. They almost won in Pittsburgh earlier this season. Only Warren Lahr's last-second save on Quarterback Ted Marchibroda's pass preserved a 14-10 victory for the Browns.
In the last seven years, some outstanding football players have worn Steeler uniforms and are still wearing them today. Ends Elbie Nickel and Bill McPeak, Halfbacks Lynn Chandnois and Ray Mathews and Tackle Ernie Stautner ranked among the league's best.
Whatever else they accomplished they couldn't win a division title for the Steelers, a distinction that has eluded all Pittsburgh teams. And while the Johnny-Come-Latelys of the NFL, the Browns, were winning six straight times, the Steeler veterans enjoyed only one victory over them.
In that one they gave the Browns a soul satisfying 55-27 whomping. As good as it was, it couldn't make up for all the defeats, the games they almost won - 21-20, 29-28 and 20-16 -and the ones in which they were humiliated - 45-7 and 42-7.
The Steelers' veterans are proud men, as all good athletes are. They also have long memories and, however they react in other games this season, they will be inspired players against the Browns.
The Steelers' newer members will join in the spirit. Word gets around about the perennial champions.
That's what the Browns are up against today, and every other Sunday they put on their football clothes.