Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Browns are back! No they're not!

Romeo's view after the Cincinnati game

Sorry for the lack of posts recently, especially in light of the results of the past few weeks. All I can say is putting food on the table takes precedence, unfortunately. The roller coaster ride that is the Cleveland Browns has officially begun (I'm sure someone else has already used this analogy)! However, the drops on this ride are usually much steeper and last longer than any hills that it does get to the top of. First, we’ll detail the Bengals’ game briefly. This game was exactly like the Chiefs’ game of last year. No expectations were on the team, so what to do they do? Go out and play like gangbusters and take it to a superior team (supposedly). This only pertains to the offense, but holy smokes, that was awesome. Every single thing you expect from this team in terms of effort and execution came to fruition in one beautiful 60 minute display. Our playmakers made plays, our line blocked effectively in both the run and pass, our running back ran like it was 2003, and our coach showed some semblance of emotion. Our defense? Well, that’s another topic for another novel (a horror story, with multiple grisly killings and missed assignments in the secondary).

Anyways, games like this gives us fans a glimmer of hope and we start thinking, maybe, just maybe, this team is starting to turn the corner and put it together. And then the first car in the roller coaster clears the top of the hill, and you know what happens after that. Another kick in the nuts. Seriously, that is exactly what the Raiders game and every other game following a victory has been since 2003. The effort they put forward last Sunday was a kick in the collective groins of everyone that roots for the Brown and Orange. Maybe not giving a crap or overconfidence or whatever you want to call that display of effort is part of the growing process (which I've heard suggested). But if it is, the Browns should be about 50 feet tall with 60 inch pipes from all the “growing” that’s been going on since I can remember. I say this based on only the hearsay and 2nd hand accounts I’ve read and here’s why: I didn’t watch the game this weekend. Before you get on my case, I have a very good reason. I was in Chicago visiting family and actually trying to enjoy my Sunday in the Windy City. I was planning on watching the game when I got home and had it DVR’d and ready to go for when I got back to DC. I refused to even watch the Sunday night Bears game (Rex Grossman has to be Chuck Frye’s brother from another mother) until they had put tape over the scoreboard ticker on the late afternoon games before I sat down in front of the TV. Just as I had sat down, though, CBS cut into a game breaking moment and it was none other than our Browns getting ready to kick the game winning field goal over the Raiders. “Turn it!!!” I shrieked to my brother-in-law and he obliged. But, after thinking for a split second, I said, “to hell with it, turn it back.” I then saw a field goal attempt that had all the effort and intensity of Rosie O’Donnell resisting a second trip to the buffet line or Ben Roethlisberger not trying to look ugly. Seriously, the blocking looked like a no-contact run-through for a high school team the night before the big game. And then I saw some d0u#he with a single bar facemask in a Brown's uniform give a pathetic attempt at scooping it up and running (I know who he is). Piss poor. And you know what? I am so glad I did. Just by seeing that one play, I saved myself wasting 4 hours of my life when I got back home to see that horrible ending. I don’t know what it is, but how is it that we are usually the only team on the field that takes at least a quarter to “get it” and get competitive? Is this coaching? Is this the players? I don’t know but somebody needs to figure this out and fast.

I know I promised myself I wouldn’t go into any more games after that first one with any expectations. After that Cincy game, I couldn’t help but to have just a small amount of hope and excitement like everyone else, but once again, that is officially out the door. On a side note, Chicago is fast becoming my second favorite city. I had one of the best Saturday afternoons I can remember sporting-wise. I started the day off at an Ohio State Bakery and followed that up with a trip to an Ohio State Bar for brunch and to hang out with some fellow Buckeyes before the game that afternoon. After downing a few adult beverages, including my first Old Style, I then went to my first Cubs game. Wow is all I can say about it. We had seats 3 rows behind the bullpen for the Cubs and the interaction that Wrigley Field provides to the players is awesome. You can seriously reach out and grab them. I love the Jake and have nothing but awesome memories of the 90’s and the sellouts that made those games awesome, but being in Wrigley during a Pennant race with a packed house was just breath-taking. You could just feel the collective will of everyone in that place take the Cubs’ play to another level. And to top it all off, they wailed on that Inbred Valley surrounded by 3 Rivers. Beautiful. After that, we made our way back to the Buckeye Bar and then watched with about 100 OSU fans the butt-whipping of a lifetime given to the unfortunate Northwestern Wildcats. It was also funny to see Appalachian State T-shirts everywhere and even on sale in the Big-Ten Store in the OSU section. At least one of the football teams I root for doesn’t suck out loud. Even my wife and brother and sister in-law , all yinzers, can sit through those games. Now before anyone starts calling me a turncoat or anything, I love Cleveland and I am certain if our city ever got its act together, we could transform our Lakefront and surrounding area into what Chicago has (hasn’t this been suggested for about 20 years now? Our city government continues to suck).

Congratulations to the Indians and the AL Central Pennant! I, like just about everyone else from our beloved city, devotes way too much time and attention to the loser that is masquerading as our Browns and way too little time to this team that has come together and has one of the best starting rotations in the majors and a 2 deep bullpen that is lights out (I’m leaving Joe Borowski out of the “lights out” description). Even sub-par years from Grady and Hafner didn’t prevent this team from coming together, getting timely hitting when it had to and winning. I am very proud of them and I wish them the best. I know I had said before that I was tired of watching this team because I know what’s going to happen, but a post-season disappointment is much better than a total disappointment (I’m talking to you, Romeo).
For this upcoming game against the Ravens, here's my original prediction :
September 30
W, 35-3
Matt Stover holds off shutout, Brian Billick acts smug
I am definitely sticking to this one. Chalk up another big day for Derek Anderson and the Brownies!
I’m going to end this rambling post with one side note. I predicted the Browns would put up 56 vs Cincinnati. I should have bet that and given 5 points in Vegas. Darn it.

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