NFL Analyst Tells Cleveland Browns to ‘Take Respect’ From Champions Kansas City Chiefs

Published 01/14/2021, 9:06 AM EST
Jan 10, 2021; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cleveland Browns cornerback M.J. Stewart (36) celebrates an interception against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first half of an AFC Wild Card playoff game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports


The Cleveland Browns continue their miraculous playoff run. Few people expected the Browns to reach the playoffs this year. However, thanks to Baker Mayfield’s improvement and coach Kevin Stefanski’s tactics, they have reached their first playoffs since 2002. They shockingly beat the Pittsburgh Steelers to move to the next round against the defending champions Kansas City Cheifs.

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NFL analyst Nate Burleson spoke on Good Morning Football ahead of the Chiefs’ encounter with the Browns. Many have been speculating whether the Chiefs are getting the respect they deserve. While Burleson believes the Chiefs do get their due respect, he wondered who might grasp it in their encounter with the Browns.

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“No, they’re the defending champs. They are getting the respect that they deserve. But I once heard that respect is for those who deserve it, and it’s taken by those who earn it. So who’s going to take it? That’s the ultimate question. It’s not about if they get the respect. We know they get the respect and they earned it. But who’s going to go take it, and how do you take it?” 

Burleson noted that the key to the Browns defeating the Chiefs in a statement fashion is their running game. The Browns have two of the best runners in the NFL, and the way they play can be hard to stop. For Burleson, he thinks that the Browns using their runners efficiently is extremely useful to them.

“It’s the Browns running game. That’s how you take it. You go out there and play a physical style of football and punch them in the mouth. And they have two of the best running backs in the business. Two guys that can take it downhill in between the tackles and catch off the backfield in a physical style of play. That’s what is deflating.” 

Cleveland Browns need to make a statement against the Chiefs

Burleson praised Browns’ players such as Baker Mayfield and Jarvis Landry and noted that their good form can help lead the team to a win over the defending champions. And using them to their full strengths will allow them to ‘take the respect’ from the Chiefs.

“Baker Mayfield, he can throw the ball downhill, Jarvis Landry can have an amazing day where the pass game can parallel each other. But if they go out there and have an amazing day on the ground…you’re taking respect from the champions. And that is the only way they do it in my opinion.”

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Jan 10, 2021; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws a pass against the Cleveland Browns in the third quarter of an AFC Wild Card playoff game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Burleson added that while the Browns can win in a number of ways, this was the only way for them to demand respect from the Chiefs.  He doesn’t think that they need to do much different from their performance against the Steelers. But if they can improve on what they did during the game, they can make a true statement.

“There’s a couple of ways you could beat them. You could eke out a win, you could have a fourth-quarter comeback. But if the Browns go out there, do what they did against the Pittsburgh Steelers, where just physically for four quarters, they dominate the Kansas City Chiefs, now you’re taking respect from the champs.”

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Can the Cleveland Browns upset the Kansas City Chiefs? Crazier things have happened in the NFL so far. Few expected the Browns to even reach the playoffs. So there isn’t much reason to rule them out yet. But they have a tough task going against the defending champs, who had the best record in the NFL last season with 14-1.

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Aaditya Krishnamurthy

1313 articles

Aaditya Krishnamurthy is an NBA & NFL journalist for EssentiallySports, before which he worked at BusinessWorld magazine. He has been a fan of Basketball for over 10 years now, since Shaquille O’Neal was a Phoenix Suns player. During his time at Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, he started a sports magazine for the college called the Overtime Tribune and hosted the Overtime Tribune Podcast until he graduated.

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