Sunday, September 13, 2015

Vox Lox: The Best of the Worst Team on Earth

You've probably heard a writer say "the column wrote itself." Well this one did, literally. It's not that I'm lazy, but why waste a millennial of words on our dysfunctional pro football club when I can just cherry-pick a decade's worth of my columns? So, here is a sampling of my frustrated and frenetic musings on the Cleveland Browns over the past ten years...

2/1/15 For fifteen seasons, Clevelanders have been condemned to a modified version of the NFL. Games are rarely enjoyable, largely because our offense sets the standard for failure and folly. While scraping the ice off my car on dark Monday mornings, only fifteen hours removed from the latest Browns debacle, I've often wondered if Cleveland is the earthly-version of Hell. Should I be so helplessly immersed in a tradition that offers no healthy reciprocation? 

1/12/13 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! 

1/3/15 See, there are many ways to skin the football-kitten, but a legion of front office fuck-ups with BROWNS on their business cards couldn't find fortune no matter the method. You have to wonder if those pathetic Suits, past and present, are simply a fateful extension of our largely-ignorant fan base. Based on our sardonic reaction to a semi-successful bridge-QB from Lakewood, do we even deserve prosperity? 

1/8/12 Truly, the joke is on Cleveland...with our silly, unconditional passion, our PSLs, our penchant for $8 Pabsts, and our orange jerseys pimping defunct players. Effing Mike Holmgren saw us coming.

1/15/12 On playoff weekends, it hurts the most. Wide screen HD TVs everywhere, flashing the colorful pageantry of the NFL dance. But brown and orange fashions are nowhere in sight, as we are dateless going on a decade. Pro Football is constructed to intermittently share the post-season wealth with all 32 franchises, but their formula doesn't work in Cleveland. I'm freaking frustrated, friends. I mean, even Cincinnati got laid.

9/18/11 Hear this: the honeymoon is over. Again, I'm not overreacting to one badly-coached game in 2007 or Shurmur's awful debut seven days ago. I'm simply implying that, even when I'm hot and thirsty and coming off a four-mile run, I will be reaching for something other than the Holmgren-flavored Kool Aid (you know, maybe some OJ, purple stuff, or even the dreaded Sunny D). And, if the Browns don't show today, then, Mike Holgren, you are Mr. Myagi, Pat Shurmur is Danielsan, the city of Cleveland is John Kreese...and it's open season on HIM and YOU.

1/2/09 While many observers credit Coach Crennel for keeping his mouth shut while Dr. Phil and management rendered him powerless, I consider Romeo's silence and lack of assertiveness another indictment of his pathetic tenure as HC of the CB. I understand about staying in tune for the sake of club harmony, but if I'm going to fail...I'm going to fail My Way. Phil, if you want to pick my coaches and tell me when Brady Quinn should play, then you coach the goddamn team. I'm gone, Phil. I have enough problems with in-game strategy, clock management and my players coming out flat almost every week. I don't need to be micro-managed by a glorified scout with a poor draft record

1/10/13 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. And 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 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).

9/17/2012 Simply put, I expect to lose every Sunday. That doesn't mean I'm numb to it. It hurts each week, in different ways. But I'm done fooling myself. As long as Shurm walks the sideline, the Browns will continue to surrender those inches that make up the difference between victory and defeat.

9/10/10 (Bill) Simmons argues the Browns' worst moment was when the team moved in '95, but that would discount all of the suffering we've endured since they've returned and somehow morphed into the worst run organization in the history of pro sports. You could reason we bottomed-out mid-season 2009 when our drunk GM (rhymes with penis) was escorted out of the complex, our new coach was shredded by a music magazine (and compared to Augustus Gloop), and our team was an unwatchable 1-11, including a last second loss in Detroit- which seemed to feel OK because of the "entertainment value." Look, if you found anything redemptive in losing to the Lions...that, my friends, was rock bottom. Except it wasn't. Perhaps the lowest of lows occurs when you can't even honor your franchise properly. Only the Browns could screw up a "Ring of Honor." Now this may seem insignificant when compared to the holes on the team's roster and performance the last few seasons, but how hard is it to bring a few living legends together to toast past greatness for fifteen minutes? For the Browns, even that turns into a tough task, and a PR nightmare

9/22/13 In Cleveland, almost everyone knows something about football. Everyone but the jackasses running our team, it would seem. Because here we go with Rebuild 6.0. The first five varied in size and scope, produced one playoff game, and were led by architects with resumes far more substantial than Browns President Joe Banner.

1/3/15 If you weren't singeing the Ebola Nurse with vitriolic judgements and threats, then you were sucking the fun out of the Browns' 6-3 start with ludicrous demands for Johnny Manziel. I wrote in my September 4th column that "QB controversies destroy franchises, fan bases and my fondness for football." And, like clockwork, Coach Pettine's eventual cave to Manziel would cause more damage in Cleveland than Ebola ever could.

9/5/2008 The name on the door is Cleveland? That's what I'm afraid of, Phil.

1/8/12 Maybe in Holmgren's office, in between his Bill Walsh books, bottomless carton of dougnuts and whatever else he owns. But one thing Mike doesn't own? His failures. He blames the media. You blame the QB. If you've read me since week one, you know where I place the blame. And, until Mr. Lerner cans Holmgren, ain't nothing gonna change in these parts. Now go jerkoff your mock drafts. I've got a 4-3 basketball team to worry about.

12/31/2007 Our loss to the Bengals last week is the reason this blog exists; the kind of thing I don't tolerate, can't stomach, and won't recover from until I wake up some January morning and the Brownies are on the ticket. Until then, thanks for nothing Berea, don't gimme no lines and keep your plans to yourself.

11/05/11 And we certainly don't need a wishy-washy West Coast offense implemented in a strike-shortened off-season from a rookie coach and unqualified president. We need a bruising, eat-the-clock running game, built to punish teams that come to our cold lake front in December. But the only thing the Browns punish is their fan base.

9/13/2015 3-13. Nothing personal, Brownies. By now, we all know it's a QB League (the NFL insists on it, actually...with rules catered towards protecting and propelling high-powered offenses). But you just cut your best option in Terrelle Pryor. Not a Buckeye homer, either. I've just seen enough of Josh McCown to know that calling him a journeyman is kind. And I have no respect for a front office intent on another rebuilding season because the very basics of talent evaluation elude them, spring after spring. Oh, did I write nothing personal? That was a joke. Just like your silly organization.

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Texans (pk) over Chiefs, 1 Dime
Last Season: 6-3, +10 Dimes
Career: 148-127-14, +45 Dimes