Wednesday, January 30, 2013

No kidding? Newsome thinks Modell should be in the HOF

Ozzie preached to the wrong choir about Art's HOF credentials.
Ozzie Newsome is a Cleveland Brown and will always be a Cleveland Brown. Those aren't my words, but those of the man himself in a guest column he wrote for the Plain Dealer today.  

"The Wizard of Oz" used two paragraphs to thank fans who supported him even when he was getting just one three-yard dink pass each Sunday to extend his reception streak (Those are my words, not Newsome's).

The ex-tight end's honeyed remarks were followed up by the expected blow: "I believe Art Modell should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame," he wrote. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Facebook maps NFL fans and it's time to expel the middle of Ohio

So Facebook knows way too much about our lives, I'm sure...and in this case they started mining their data for good instead of evil. And by "good", I mean "good thing we know which counties in Ohio are occupied by cockroaches Pittsburgh Steelers fans.

Obviously, the Browns dominate the smart part of the state, and the Bengals cover the southeast. But Pittsburgh yellow occupies not just the eastern edge of Ohio, as could be assumed, but the entire middle of the state south of roughly Millersburg (Holmes County), and even the Toledo and Columbus areas.  I think it's safe to say we'd be okay expelling those folks from Ohio on principle alone. 

Good news Bobcats fans! Athens county falls squarely in the brown-and-orange column. Must be a sad, sad place too. 

(Thanks to Deadspin for steering me to this monstrosity of a map...)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Cleveland Browns 1999-2012 Documentary

I first learned about this video while reading Besides the Point this afternoon. I figured the Browns have consumed countless hours of my life, what's another 25 minutes. Brings back a lot of bad good memories. Hopefully Haslam, Banner, Lombardi, Chud and Co. can turn this rough patch in Browns history around.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Vox Lox Championship Sunday: Lombardi Stinks's Editor and chief Bill Simmons, also known as The Sports Guy, featured the following email and response in Friday's Mailbag. You can read my retort below.

Q: After the Browns hired Chud to be their next head coach, I prodded my new roommate, a Cleveland native, to tell me what it was like to be a Browns fan. Very seriously and despondently he said, "It's like watching your dog get put down every Sunday."
—Will, Palo Alto
SG: Come on, the Browns just hired one of the greatest B.S. Report guests of all time, Mr. Mike Lombardi! Things are looking up! I couldn't be happier for Lombardi — the guy loves Cleveland, loves working in football and desperately wanted one more chance. He's one of the best people I have ever met in sports, as well as one of the most thoughtful. I know he's gonna kill it there. Sometimes it makes me sad, though … Lombardi being gone from the B.S. Report. I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up DOES rejoice. But still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty now that they're gone. I guess I just miss my friend. (Sorry, I had to.)
SV: Bill, Bill, Bill. For an outsider, you normally measure the pulse of Cleveland with uncanny accuracy but you've let your friendship with Lombardi cloud your Shawshank analogy. Let's rethink this. Michael Lombardi is hardly Andy Dufresne. Dufresne is actually the Cleveland Sports Fan: jailed for crimes we did not commit, ass-raped by leaders of our own institution, and forced to crawl through 50,000 yards of shit-smelling-foulness you (being a Boston fan) can't ever imagine or maybe you just don't want to. 50,000 yards, that's the amount of offense opposing teams have put up on our defense since 1999. We crawl through a river of shit EVERY SUNDAY, but we don't EVER come out clean. And we sure as hell don't escape. Instead, time is added to our sentence with every new regime that busts into our city preaching faith and discipline (and patience). 
Joe Banner is the Warden Samuel Norton, a small and crooked dictator determined to rule. And Lomabrdi, of course, is Byron T. Hadley- first henchman and ass-kisser. I wasn't there to see it, but I heard Lombardi sobbed like a baby when Al Davis fired him for airing the Raiders' dirty laundry to his media butt-buddies. Those friends in high places are now returning the favor; see Jim Nantz's obtuse, deliberate and buffoonish defense of Lombardi on 92.3's Bull & Fox show. But the stench cannot be removed from this foolish hiring, as Lombardi's NFL legacy speaks louder locally than any national spin. Two days ago, Lombardi begged the Cleveland media for a "clean slate" but there are no magic erasers in this town. We've suffered too much, simply. "The Hole" at Shawshank equates to First Energy Stadium. And there ain't no easy time at The Factory of Sadness.

Every fan-base has its breaking point.

Ravens (+9) over Patriots4 dimes
Falcons (+4.5) over 49ers1 dime

Last Week: 2-2 (even)
Season: 7-7 (+9 dimes)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Perception is everything in Browns, Kelly fallout

"They like me, they REALLY like me.."
A story that seemed dead in Cleveland media circles came back to shambling life today as the Philadelphia Eagles announced the hire of Chip Kelly as their head coach.  More interesting than the hard news is the fallout. Reaction both local and national to Kelly's flip-flop mirrors the strange, defeatist attitude facing the Jimmy Haslam/Joe Banner ownership regime in its first months of operation.

The thought that the Browns were "duped," "schooled" or "look bad" for not taking another run at Kelly after initial talks broke down may not be the prevailing position around town, but the discomfiting clamor from Twitter, the blogosphere and professional sportswriters is too loud to be ignored.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Vox Lox: Hello, Goodbye

Cleveland knows press conferences. Don't know much about playoff seeding and parades, but, dear God, we know how to roll out a new coach. And with Twitter, the whole process is much more fun than it was ever meant to be. In fact, the whole damaged NE Ohio sports fan persona has found itself inside social media. We have to be the only fan base in America that happily makes fun of its own football team...while said team is playing, no less! Interestingly enough, on those rare occasions when the Browns are dominating, things get quiet. We don't know how to react, other than a tweet about how funny it will be when we blow this lead. Just like our beloved franchise, we haven't learned how to win yet either. But we are very adept at mocking our ownership, players, coaching staff, subsequent coaching searches, and media (specifically Tony Grossi and Mark Kay Cabot- both solid reporters that seem to catch more venom than a Pat Shurmur-progress-play for five yards on 3rd & 9). So, here we are "welcoming" yet another coach while worrying that farewell is coming faster than you can say 2015. You say Goodbye, Chud says Hello!!

Packers (+3) over San Francisco, 3 dimes
Ravens (+9.5) over Denver2 dimes
Patriots (-9.5) over Houston, 2 dimes
Falcons (-2.5) over Seattle, 1 dime

Last Week: 2-2 (+4 dimes)
Season: 5-5 (+9 dimes)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Vox Lox: Wild Card Weekend 2013

Been thinking about perfection all week with 2013 in its infancy, the ten year anniversary of Ohio's State's 14-0 season, and my annual dream of picking eleven NFL playoff winners starting in a few minutes. You make any new year's resolutions, dog? Chances are, you're still perfect. No way you smoked a Marlboro Red yet. I'll give you till Martin Luther King Day, maximum. And I'm sure you're still at the gym, going Curt Hennig until, minimum, the first snow storm. Me? I'll be happy enough to escape the next 28 hours without a blemish. Four incredibly tight lines, Three first-year QBs, Two AFC North rivals, and ONE impossibly inspirational motif called ChuckStrong. The networks are flexed and determined to beat the living drama out of every moment, and successfully marry it to their zealous advertisers. You'll stay tuned for the climax, but you better buy an iPhone, hit your local Ford dealership, or, at the very least, stream six ways to Sunday with AT&T U-Verse and Generation Z. Me? I'm only here for the action. The results will be the first time I actually feel something in 2013. And for 360 more days, I'll chase down any fucking W I can get my small, half-Jewish hands on. Those wins will be wide-ranging, from wild-card weekend to Words with Friends. From my Tuesday night pick-up games to your neighborhood 5k. I cover the spread, and therefor I am. 

Seattle (-3) over Redskins, 4 dimes
Packers (-8) over Vikings, 3 dimes
Bengals (+4) over Houston, 2 dimes
Colts (+7) over Ravens, 1 dime

Season: 3-3 (+5 dimes)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

If Chip Kelly thinks with his stomach, he will be the next Browns coach

The old adage is that the best way to a man's heart is through his stomach, and Michael Symon is apparently a subscriber to that theory, making the plea to Chip Kelly today to come to Cleveland in return for a personally cooked dinner.

I'm not going to lie, I think that if Chip can negotiate two dinners out of Mr. Symon, the deal is closed. Hell, I'll take almost any job for a free dinner at Lola...