Author Archives: MattParish

A Number of Reasons to Keep Watching #NFL Even If Your #Football Team Has Already Proven to Be Really Awful

Here’s a Tostito’s Presents #footballscoop for you:  It is December in the NFL.

Basically what that means is that roughly half of the league’s [true] fans can start thinking to themselves “Who cares” as they watch the remains of another season wash down the terr-lit. Dudes can pretend to woo us back with mathematical charts and enticingly complex scenarios spread out on crappy TV graphics on who’s already clinched (…their butts lol), who’s leading the Wild Card races, and who is IN THE HUNT and yes we might be convinced of the juicy PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS of this week’s slate of games.

But the truth is your season is over (plus this) outside of the chance to play spoiler to some other teams you irrationally hate and of course your fantasy league teams, which get a life.  December is a long month full of 31 days which you could use to be looking for better jobs, pitching more reputable publications, or even testing the waters of the real estate market in your local area.  Never mind – because it’s December, no one other than Old Navy is hiring and owning houses is for suckers.

I tried to think of some special aspects of late-season football that can keep you watching despite all the rational reasons against it.

1. BEING BITTER

Let’s start with just straight up bitterness.  You hate the NFL and have realized that it’s all rigged and even if it weren’t rigged it’s a complete farce of common sense and human decency.  Oh great let’s spend twenty minutes studying the instant replay to see if the outside of this guy’s shoe was on this or that side of a blurry line of white pixels on my screen.  Yes I’m completely sure it is a justified penalty that they charged you with there, no no, sure, keep arguing about it.  Ha ha, idiots caring about a pointless and hollowed out sport that only exists to make billions of dollars for corporations.

That’s a pretty good way to watch the season, I can tell you from first-hand experience.

2. REALLY INTERESTING STATISTICS

But it’s also worth your consideration to bear in mind the statistical game. We can always find unexpected thrills in reading statistics and leader boards and comparing them to the greats of yesteryear. For example, Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon just became the first wide receiver in the history of the NFL to put up over 200 yards receiving in back to back games.  This mark of greatness has helped nudge his team to a total of zero wins during that stretch, which is pretty cool.

Another statistical number that is always fun to keep an eye on is who will have the most passing yards each year.  It’s always a thrill to get to the end of the season and see if anyone has broken the record yet again.

3.  SEASONAL FAN ATTIRE

Numbers too complicated for you?  Keep an eye on the cold-weather stadiums, where it’s interesting to watch the crowd struggle to maintain its monochromaticism while at the same time protect itself from frostbite.  Ha ha you can’t all afford to purchase team-color winter coats from Starter!  Get a job, Buffalo.

Actually they can fix the crowd with computers now.

4. HOPING A LEFTOVER COMMERCIAL FROM EARLIER IN THE SEASON WILL COME ON AND MAKE YOU FEEL NOSTALGIC

5. YOU’RE A PSYCHOPATH WHO LIKES WATCHING GUYS CAUSE IRREPARABLE HARM TO EACH OTHER FOR EVEN LESS OF A REASON THAN YOU USED TO HAVE

6. FRESH TAKES ON SWEATERVEST/SPORTSCOAT COMBOS FROM COLLINSWORTH

7. MAKES YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE TRAVELING THROUGHOUT THE NATION EACH WEEKEND

8. ANYTHING TO HELP PUT SOME DISTANCE BETWEEN YOU AND THE EVER-CHANGING LOCAL INDIE ROCK SCENE (IF THAT’S HOW YOU FEEL LATELY)

All I’m saying is don’t get discouraged – get out there and consume some football, my friends!

 

HUMAN INTEREST: Let Us Now Praise Broadcast Men

Footballz Tenant Family Made for Laffs

“This arduous physical work, to which a consciousness beyond that of the simplest child would be only a useless and painful encumbrance, is undertaken without choice or the thought of chance of choice… nearly nothing is obtainable; nearly all is cruelly stained, in the tensions of physical need, and in the desperate tensions of the need of work which is not available.” – James Agee 

It is upon this broad desk, thick and heavy with the perspiration of those well-combed men who came before them in this enterprise, that our present day broadcasters find themselves leaning each week with a crisp sadness pushed back with their contused elbows, leathered palms, and bejeweled wrists. A fine collection of professional men well past their prime but eager to serve the noble sport in which they all seemed to matter so much so long ago.

There’s Shannon in his steel blue suit cutting a disconnected figure against the wandering two-dimensional images in the background. He’s a shiny man with sculpted wrinkles and eyes set deep in woeful relief. He looks off camera at assistants who hold water for him and whisper in his ear during commercial breaks, “You can make it through this, you really can.” He’s suddenly called on by host James Brown for a bit on the troubles facing beleaguered quarterbacks of the NFC East, which he finds himself suddenly feeling oppressively unqualified to discuss.

He gathers warmth from deep reservoirs of affability, hidden far below battered muscles and clotted batches of tissue and layers of sorrow. “Should have at least been a question for Dan,” he finds himself thinking. Nevertheless, the weary broadcaster pulls himself together and presses his right hand firmly on the desk top as a surgeon would steady a patient before administering a row of sutures, and offers his two cents on the situation. “What we’re seeing here is verifiable DARK AGES for these guys, JB,” he hears himself saying. “Old Eli, Tony, RG, and whoever’s on deck need to pull it together, there’s no way around that.” He looks at the heads to his left and his right for an empty beat. “But I’ll tell you what, if these guys can just focus on getting some yards, playing these games today one series at a time, I don’t think you can really count any of them for long.”

Marino leans over and pats him on the shoulder with that war-bitten and mournful right hand of his and gives him one of those pleading Marino smiles whose thinly veiled dread has increased throughout his time on these dry grounds of rare return. “Boy I wish we had advocates like you back in my day, Shannon, haha,” says Marino. The waves in his hair glisten with product applied with care and humble honesty and pride in his profession, made up in likely bittersweet tribute to a deep classicism and heroic nature of his own past (“Dan the Man,” a nickname bestowed on him in his early days, tortuously reinforced his self-image as the Platonic ideal of manhood itself, a painful reputation to cling to in the middle aged years, so heavy in their accelerated biological deprivation).

And here the balding Bill Cowher steps in, or rather elevates backward in his chair as if the air now exiting his mouth from his first words were propelling him backward like rocket boosters. “You know I’m not sure we can really fairly put this blame on the quarterbacks in this scenario, all of whom are proven to be extremely capable at one time or another.” His eyes dart back and forth to both ends of the table, himself always drawing the center chair in this whole setup and thus leaving him constantly besieged by opinions, aborted interruptions, Aqua Velva, a constant shoulder pad shuffling sound from Shannon’s suits and Dan’s suits and the cold cooked sweat smell that every movement tends to waft in his direction. Sticking that notched chin up into the lights is so often a chore in this situation, and he’s taken lately to simply tucking it down toward his lavalier mic, “bury the goatee” as he tells himself.

Coach Cowher is really in his element when explaining the intricacies of modern-day offensive and defensive schemes like the Read Option, the Tampa-2, and Actual Bootlegging in Real Life.

JB cocks his head as if to signal, “Now we’re getting into the type of interesting point-counterpoint that I always have tried to cultivate on my television programs!” But before he can utter a word, there’s Shannon chiming in with a bit of his old first-person experience that he maintains (among his private committee) is the absolute number one commodity worth protecting in his personal warehouse of nonrenewable resources. Those inner groves of valuable insight and gridiron recollections won’t bear such conversational fruit forever and he sometimes pauses to wonder how Terry and Phil and Collinsworth and Howie are doing with whatever they’ve got left up in their own pulpy minds.

Shannon says, “What Coach is trying to say here – and we all remember those Steelers teams getting by on that mighty defense with who-knows-what kind of replacement you had under center, right, Coach? Haha.”

Cowher puts his hands out, palms up, like that somber personification of the capitalist grind found on the materials in Parker Brothers’ game, Monopoly. “Well, what I mean is -”

“Kordell Stewart some of those years? Tommy Maddux? Coach, coach, haha, wow. I mean we talkin’ about – weren’t there any waterboys left you could have suited up?”

Marino slaps his knee, “Haha! I remember The Water Boy!”

JB laughs, “Haha!”

“All I saying is that I’d like to see some extra effort from those teams that actually feel ready to step up take some responsibility for this season,” says Cowher, his voice breaking down into a grinding motor rasp. “If that happens, I think every one of these teams has opportunities to be competitive this season.”

“The NFC is a defensive mess, no doubt about it,” opines the pale-faced Boomer Esiason, who has floated quietly at the edge of the desk to now. He’s had no part in the green screen Chalk Talk playbook analysis Dan and Bill acted out (outlining the resurgence of Philip Rivers), no off-camera banter during the pre-produced Inside the Huddle Presented by Dominos Pizza, and not even any one-liners during the opening sequence presented by Southwest Airlines. He exists today as the weightless white hair on his head, like a cloud brushing against a mirror.

Ah there’s a few moments of silence as Boomer’s eyes drift toward the back of the studio where a beautifully silent montage of lithe athletic bodies in the most cutting edge of the industry’s protective gear flying across infinite fields of green, grabbing spiraling footballs from the sky, ratcheting their torsos away from pursuing defenders, and a close-up of Peyton Manning’s numbers leaning across the screen as he drops back into the pocket, alertly yet lightly gripping the ball in his strong hands.

“Oookay,” says JB. “And with that, we’ll take a break to find out who hid the script this morning.”

“Haha,” says Shannon.

“Haha,” says Dan.

“Hey now,” says Bill.

The active shot switches to the handheld guy in the wings as he stands in front of an eight-foot unit of trussing to which the producers have mounted three flatscreen televisions, each of which plays highlights from teams in featured games this afternoon. Once upon a time, the job of editing together these highlights into a promo reel may have gone to some ambitious team of video technician hopefuls. Now the job is completed by this lone cameraman simply moving from screen to screen, like the town drunk at the local sports bar wandering around the room directing everyone’s attention with dizzy magical gestures to the various matches on different televisions there. Who is to say what’s become of those lost teams of editors and their young families, now left to sustain without defense the enormous assaults of the universe.

Meanwhile the producers are waving everyone across the set to the wall, reminding them to check the floor for their standing spots. Another assistant to remind them that the subject of this segment will be the year’s biggest surprises – good and bad. All hosts avoid eye contact at the mention of bad surprises of the year, a phrase that directs each of their thoughts not toward the current events of the football league but rather their own personal struggles so far removed from that glorious battlefield to which they once belonged. Marino limps over from his chair, with his own assistant quickly rubbing his lower back as he winces with a psychological pain.

The five men stand with hands clasped behind backs. The lapels of their suits stiffly shift as each shrugs and gestures and rocks back and forth when the camera is once again turned to them. Cowher admits his worst surprise of the year is that of the Houston Texans, given the high expectations of Matt Schaub’s breakout year and continued success from cherished running back Arian Foster. He cites their disappointing record as proof that the team as a whole has indeed been a disappointment, and as he strings out this observation into a series of desperate adjectives and synonyms, Boomer keeps opening his mouth and cocking his hand in preemptive counterpoint motions, over and over as Cowher keeps jutting his lower lip out to present words like “solid football team” and “challenged secondary,” avoiding every one of Boomer’s visual pleas to crack into this one with a nuanced reminder of the always up-for-grabs nature off the Texans’ division. JB cuts off Cowher with a nod to the producers, who are already waving for a break to some on-location footage.

JB shakes his head as the footage is pulled up onscreen and he takes a moment to look up into the studio lights blaring like the summer sun, this parched studio heat so far from the heady days in Harvard, dreaming cosmic dreams of changing the world with that degree in Government, full of fiery ideals and brittle hope supplied by his old roommate, Cornell West, who continues to politely decline JB’s invitations to his own weekly 45-second segment on the show. He takes a deep breath of dejection as he shuffles across the studio. Boomer feels his own cheeks begin to flush, approaching the pink tones of Shannon’s tie. Marino looks to the camera with a twinkle in his eye before realizing the thing isn’t processing anything. The monitors show crowds filing into seats at FedExField on a beautiful fall day in Landover, Maryland.

And now it’s time to sit in the burgundy chairs – but for God’s sake remember to sit in the same order as you do at the desk this week, guys – around the glass coffee table making our picks. Marino’s sitting there crossing his legs so harshly that you can see his calf almost all the way up to his knee. Shannon’s tweaking a pair of flashy Official NFL Shop Men’s Apparel receiver’s gloves that have somehow materialized on his hands.

Cowher keeps picking the Steelers, Shannon’s going for the Patriots this week, Marino looking at the Chargers. Boomer’s sitting over there in silence again hoping Please Jesus don’t even call on me. His picks have been disastrous this season. The Ravens. The Lions. The Titans. The Seahawks. Even the Broncos have failed him so far. As he sinks into this idea, he feels his shoulders and clavicles and sternum shrink down under his collar.

If he can just get out of this – no, there’s JB nodding at him now. He hears himself talk up the virtues of the Browns defense. The Cleveland Browns, in the context of a contest they’ll be engaged in later today against division rivals the Baltimore Ravens. Yes, good defense. Yes, possible make-do savior in Jason Campbell. He calls the Browns. The Browns over the Ravens. The rest of the hosts of The NFL Today nod grimly. The cameras switch to a happy and carefree crowd eating grilled chunks of sizzling meat with small grills placed on the inexhaustible, aching parking lot of Ralph Wilson Stadium, as Greg Gumbell and Dan Dierdorf introduce us to the Home Depot Keys to the Game focusing on the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills.

Crowds of friends have been waiting all week to tailgate this morning in support of their favorite football team!

Back at the studio, Boomer gives Shannon a hug and exchanges knowing smiles and the same tearful glances they’ve all come to let pass between each other with the conclusion of each program. This is the work left for these men. “It has the doubleness that all jobs have by which one stays alive and in which one’s life is made a cheated ruin, and the same sprained and twilight effect on those who must work at it.”

WEEK 10 PICKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’ll take Buffalo over Pittsburgh this week, guys, for real.  Do what you want for the rest of these dealies.

Flea Flicker Vol. III: Fist Drive

The following is an excerpt from what I think might be my very first foray into sportswriting – a wrap-up of the Super Bowl published in a newsletter I started with my friends in fourth grade. It was called The Fanger Chronicle and was named after our teacher, Mrs. Fanger.

Not sure if all of this report is factually accurate or not, so don’t go running back in time to place bets using just The Fanger Chronicle. I do believe this was the game that featured Diet Coke’s Be Bop Bamboozled 3D halftime show. Please don’t confuse the typos here with average, regularly-occurring typos. Paragraph breaks inserted for your reading convenience, because otherwise the thing is one big long block of text just like Jack Kerouac used to do…

The Super Bowl
By Matt Parish

It was January second in Jo Robbie Stadium. The two teams were the Bengles and the 49ers. Today was the Super Bowl.

First, they had the coin toss, won by the 9ers. Then came the opening kickoff. When the 49ers caught the ball – only to be tackled. On their fist drive down the field they got about 45 yards away from the fieldgoal and went for the goal. But the missed it. So the Bengles got their first chance for a touchdown. But, they only ended off on defense in the next 10 minutes. Then it was the 49ers turn again. When they got in field goal range they tried – and got. The score was 3-0. But that lead wouldn’t be a lead for long. When the Bengles got the ball and then when they got in field goal range they went for the field goal and, of course, got it.

So when the 49ers got to recieve another kickoff. But this time they didn’t score. But te Bengles did lose one of their best defensive dudes. When the Bengles got the ball they scored a fiels goal, making the score 6-3. When the 49ers recieved the ball they didn’t want to be behind, ’cause when they got the ball they went to the end of the field and, you’ve probably guess by now, they got a field goal. That made the Bengles mad. When Stanford Jennings caught the ball on the kickoff, he ran 93 yards for a touch down.

Now, the 49ers were really in trouble. The score was 13-6. When the 49ers recieved, they didn’t score. But still, when the Bengles recieved the kickoff, the got, yet, another field goal. But then, finally, when the 49ers got the ball, on the 2nd down J. Rice was out by the sidelines, Joe Montana had just gotten the snap. The Joe saw Jerry and passed. Jerry got the ball and got tacled by a Bengle. But when he was going down he held the ball over the endzone and that counts as a touchdown.

By then the clock was running low. The Bengles reieved the ball and did nothing with it. Then the 49ers got the ball and went abou 48 yards from the touch and tried to make a field goal, but it didn’t go in. Then clock was now at 1:35 sec. The Bengles got the ball and they tried their best, but, couldn’t make it. The 49ers got the ball and they tried their best, and it paid off. On their 3rd down the 49ers made a touchdown. Then they kicked off. The bengles had 35 seconds to get touch down. You might think that it would be a storybook ending but no, the 49ers won it 20-16.

In other news that issue:

SONG-OF-THE-MONTH

This month’s favorite song is Guns & Roses newest song out. It is Paradice City.

Flea Flicker Vol. II: Freddy’s Revenge

Hello dear Footballz fans and all my friends that accidentally clicked on this link in your Facebook feeds. It’s time for another installment of my Flea Flicker column!


Hut hut hut hut hut hut hut hut hut hut hut hut hut hut hut hut hut hut hut

HIKE! LET’S DO THIS!

Let me get this started with a piggyback on my last column since truth be told all I know about as far as the NFL goes is the Cleveland Browns.  Now you’ll recall me and everyone else in the timid Browns community as being a lil’ bit embarrassed by our latest gunslinger, the oldest rookie QB in the league, Brandon Weeden (who is also older than Matt Ryan, Matt Stafford, Aaron Rogers, Joe Flacco, and Alex Smith, for starters). Who’s laughing now? From a website:

Weeden has taken every snap for the Browns this season and has completed 154 of 272 attempts for 1,783 yards and nine touchdowns against 10 interceptions. He leads all NFL rookies in passing yards, touchdowns, completions of 20 or more yards (24) and is tied for third in the NFL with six passing touchdowns in October.

B-WEEDS!

B-Weeds!

I don’t like the Carolina Panthers at all and their uniforms either. Also the Tennessee Titans have a terrible name and you can see how that goes. These teams do not do well because their names are not good team names.  Want examples from other sports?  You know who they are.  The Raptors. The Astros. The Wizards. The Thrashers.

Here are names that will always be great in terms of team names (and thus probably in terms of football-wise):

Bears. Packers. Steelers

I guess that’s probably about it. The point is that they have awesome names and it’s basically as if the forces of the universe (or possibly the NFL marketing department) will always leave open the door of possibility that they might break out into wild postseason success. Now, you know this is a half-baked theory by looking at the amount of teams I haven’t included here that do have pretty inarguably cool names – the Broncos, Colts, and the Cowboys? Theory could be bunk.

However let’s take a look at individual player names, which must also play into this you would think. Joe Montana. Tom Brady. Peyton Manning. Michael Dean Perry. Lynn Swann. Otto Graham. You don’t need to look it up – those guys were all very good. I’ll pick a few names at random that belong to some players who were not great at all: Kelly Holcomb. Tim Couch. Ken Dorsey. Oof, wait – wrong week’s column!

But seriously, I’m going to go look up “worst NFL players” and see what we get. Well first we have Kevin Kolb, which yeah. Wayne Hunter, eh. Blaine Gabbert? For sure. Bobby Carpenter. Chad Cascadden. Steve Pisarkiewicz. Golden Richards. Sammie Smith. Limas Sweed. Ryan Leaf. All of these guys are guys who ought to have realized by 10 years old that they really should not attempt a career in sports. Anything where you have to have your name on your shirt really. And professional announcers saying it.

Feller

 

Sidenote: In middle school, a kid who was way cooler than me and kind of awesome at basketball told me he wished he had my name because no one would ever want to cheer for a guy named “Courtney Brown.” This might have been the origins of my long suspicion/prejudice against flat, floppy-sounding names. Then again, given the choice of him or me (whose name clearly evokes The Chief and whose physique resembles a hunched over chicken ghost), probably they’d cheer for the other guy.

 

Back to my topic, what do you think it means? Maybe you should leave comments about it. I mean is the NFL just coming up with conspiratorial ways to make sure their cooler-named folks stay out front? Are their psychic reasons that they just can’t win, like they have this mental block against success because they’re afraid of what their names would look like on a trophy?

 

All’s I know is that I have yet to give the hot musical career of Todd Rundgren a chance.

 

FLEA FLICKER!

 

Here is a gripe from me – the pointless unwatchableness of ESPN. Not that I’m ever at home thinking that it would be great to flip on the channel to see what’s going on in the wide wild world sports – I don’t have cable of course, because Footballz still don’t pay me money for these valuable columns. Can’t afford it. No, this pet-peeve comes into play when I’m at the bar or at the gym or staring at a TV through an electronics store window or maybe a neighbor’s house across the street. The TV will be turned to ESPN, which has inexplicably given us the pseudo website format of listing out a bunch of topics on the left and chatting about them all in order.

 

Why why why why why? I’m at a bar. There is no audio and the guy didn’t turn on closed captions. I’m at the gym and forgot my headphones. This leaves me with an hour of guys nodding and leaning back and forth over the table with a few seconds now and then of a quarterback standing on the sideline chewing some gum.

 

Today I was at my neighborhood bar the Biltmore and for ten minutes, the TV displayed four talking head with this curious statement across the bottom: “Did Warren Moon make disparaging remarks about Newton? Let us know: was he right?”

 

Yes, very interesting. Very very very very interesting. Lord knows I couldn’t possibly be interested in watching clips of athletes performing cool or even embarrassing stuff in actual sporting contests from earlier in the day or the night previous. No, as a sports fan, I’m much more interested in seeing Skip Bayless’s saggy wrinkled ’80s coke fiend face wag back and forth like a weird Skeksis dude.

 

SKEKSIS

 

BAYLESSSS

 

And yet, maybe this is what we demand. Gossipy news junk about who said what on their Twitter accounts and what it was like when Chad Johnson got fired from the Dolphins and what kind of trash Ray Allen is talking about the Celtics now – I posit that it’s because we’re all such jaded wussbags that we have to pretend that whatever great athlete may come up in conversation, we have to have a secret edge on everyone else and can’t just look each other right in the face and say what needs to be said: “Yeah, he is awesome at catching the ball and running past all the other players.”

I was 15 the day O.J. Simpson was chased across LA at 30 mph in his white Bronco and it slowly made the rounds all the way from the TV up in my friend’s parents kitchen to the den downstairs where we were playing Doom. That is how fast the news moved back in those days. We ran upstairs to see what was up and learn all about a crazy side of O.J. And possibly see some bonkers stuff go down in real time. Nothing really cool happened of course (a similar disappointment came like 15 years later when we tuned in to crappy CNN live streaming video as the Balloon Boy fell to earth), but here was the extent of our discourse then: my friend’s dad walked in, took a look at the TV, and said, “Wait, O.J. Simpson is in that truck? Why doesn’t he just get out and run for it?” Then he made the Heisman pose, grinned at us, and got out of there.

I always think back on that moment as possibly the best moment of sports commentary I’ve ever witnessed.  It’s all been downhill since. And yes of course there have always been pot-stirring TV personalities and local beat newspaper guys (at least if we are to believe The Natural ), but I’m thinking the overall cutesy over-analyzation of sports and everything tangentially related to them is just another sign that our awful and self-important culture has no sense of fun or reverence. Basically what this boils down to is the sports rule and dudes sitting around talking about it do not rule (unless they are providing live laffs and insight for you during the game for free over the Internet).

The Hussein Trophy

Flea Flicker Vol. 1

Hello to all and a brief introduction – my name is Matt and I’ve been listening to the quality broadcasts of Footballz Talk for years now over my internet connection.  I haven’t had TV and wanted to know what was happening in the game and by Monday nights I was tired of watching shoddy internet streams operating out of Macedonia. I have absolutely no first-hand experience in football other than playing in my friend’s backyard with his dad as quarterback calling out plays they’d worked on before, all codenamed by different ‘80s Bengals receivers.  When real football began in middle school, I weighed about 60 pounds and said no way.  It was an artist’s life for me after that.

But football is pretty cool.  Lately the state of mind I get in when I watch it is, “I wish I was with some foreigner right now so I could explain the intricate strategies and role-playing and lightning fast decision-making that goes into every play on this field!”  Because it does seem pretty complicated, right?  But also I picture myself paying attention to someone explaining cricket to me and realize this scenario would not happen.  That leaves me with a constant imaginary conversation with some young football disciple, always eager to learn more of the ways of this mystical, warlike, and highly evolved sport, who will always hunger for more of my observations and expository thoughts and who will never contradict me.

So thanks to Mac and TD and Ken for giving me a shot at my dream of Sportswriting!  I’m calling my column “Flea Flicker” because I plan on flipping the ball (attention span) off to several different ball carriers (topics) in one play (blog post) that typically results in failure.

We’ll start with my most natural connection to the league, the Cleveland Browns, who are my favorite team because I grew up in Ohio. The Bengals were completely unappealing aesthetically and plus the Browns players came to my hometown once for a benefit basketball game against the local fire department.  Webster Slaughter dunked over and over again and you cannot beat that.

Nowadays they’re the pretty much the worst expansion team ever masquerading as a storied franchise that goes back to a string of legendary championship teams led by guys like the King Buzzo-looking Otto Graham and Marion Motley and Frank Ryan, who quarterbacked the team to its last title in 1964 a year before he went to school and got a Ph.D. in mathematics.  Also Jim Brown and Bernie Kosar. What more do you want, Super Bowl titles? Eh.

That team moved on and it’s called the Baltimore Ravens now and tends to rule.  They’re not the greatest team ever, but they’re definitely good enough that it’s so so so painful to realize that the Ravens organization was once my pals.

Instead, the team I am left with is one of the sorriest groups you’ll find, highlighted by this year’s season opener, in which their latest quarterback – a 30-year-old rookie named Brandon Weeden – performed at a passer rating of literally 5.1.  Do you know what a passer rating is?  I’m afraid I don’t either, but for comparison let’s see – the next worst guy was Ryan Tannehil from the Dolphins who scored 39.  The top twelve guys were all above 100.

Weedon started the game buried under a giant American flag pulled out by Army guys, which will probably be his defining moment as a football player in this sad life. That’s alright, because he has a lot of company.  Here, I have compiled a photographic review of Browns quarterbacks of the post-Reformation era.

Tim Couch

Ty Detmer

Doug Pederson

Spergon Wynn

Kelly Holcomb

Luke McCown

Jeff Garcia

Trent Dilfer

Charlie Frye

Derek Anderson

Brady Quinn

Ken Dorsey

Bruce Gradkowski

Jake Delhomme

Seneca Wallace

Colt McCoy

Brandon Weeden

Oh and I forgot!  I intercepted this note that was on GENUINE NFL LETTERHEAD while going through my neighbor’s mail and thought I’d share it here on the football blog!!!!!!!!!!!!

MEMO: To the Defense Football Guys re: New Methods of Tackling

Don’t know if you all have heard yet (or maybe you have and just forgot because well nevermind), but it’s basically not cool to spear people in the forehead anymore using your helmet.  It’s true that it’s awesome to watch and it makes the most superbadass sound (we even spent billions developing plastic cone microphone dealies to hold up on the sideline so we can hear it up close and crisp-like), but there’s only so much fun that we can have.  Dude on the Steelers can obviously afford to just keep doing it regardless of what we fine him, so I don’t even know what to do about that.  But how about some positive reinforcement?

Instead of those amazing, bone-chillingly watchable hits you’ve been working on, how about instituting some of the following changes:

Proper old-fashioned tackling where you wrap the guy up and take him down. It’s not that hard – they used to teach this kind of thing.  It’s clear you don’t know how to do it on those 15-yard TD runs where Maurice Jones-Drew bounces of guys like a Plinko chip on his way to your end zone. As he celebrates, listen to the moans of middle-aged dads across the country for once.

Tripping.  You might have to distract the runner so he doesn’t look down and just jump over your leg though.  Forget this one — probably against the rules.

Intercept the ball constantly.  You never have to tackle anyone if you’re the one with the pigskin.  It’s been said that with the rise of guys like Tom Brady, Drew Breese, Cam Newton, and Colt McCoy, it’s the age of the quarterback – they’re so awesome that they’re passing all the time now.  This means you can basically make an interception on every play.

Technicality – if you manage to rip up the sod and touch the player’s knee with it, that actually counts as being down.

Just ask for the ball nicely, I mean have you ever even tried that?

Wrap up the ball carrier in your choice of classic wrestling submission holds like the Sleeper, Arm Lock, Facelock, Camel Clutch, Clawhold, Figure-Four, Armbar, Chickenwing, Hammerlock, Million Dollar Dream, Pumphandle, Skin the Cat, Tree of Woe, Indian Deathlock, Sharpshooter, Crucifix, Tilt-a-whirl, Boston Crab, or the Surfboard. There are a few more, just make sure the player you’re tackling can’t flip the ball back to someone else.

Do the Turkey Jones.