Expansion Browns Outlast Cowboys In Hall of Fame Game 20-17
August 9, 1999 was a big night for all of Ohio as the Browns announced their re-entry into the National Football League after a three-year absence with an overtime victory over America’s Team in the shadow of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Rookie quarterback Tim Couch, the No. 1 overall selection from April’s draft, went head-to-head against ten-year veteran Troy Aikman in the early going and did well, leading the Browns on a first-quarter touchdown drive. Aikman, on the other hand, looked rusty in limited action, failing to engineer a scoring march of his own.
While preseason football is generally played on a forgettable stage, this game was significant for both teams. Their 20-17 victory at tiny Fawcett Stadium was the only victory for the Browns in the state of Ohio during the 1999 season, Cleveland going winless at home with Couch under center. And though unbeknownst to them at the time, this was the final game that Daryl Johnston was seen in a Dallas uniform on the Monday Night Football stage, the Cowboys’ longtime fullback succumbing to a career-ending neck injury after Dallas’ Week 1 victory over Washington.