Sunday, August 15

Ten Reasons Why I'm Looking Forward to the 2010 Browns Season

I'm not jumping ship on the Indians by any means, but let's face it: we're in August, the Wahoos are 16 games out of first and losing home series to sub-.400 clubs, and, well, we're football fans. I think it's time to pop the tab on some Browns writing here at FCF, and I'd like to do so by taking an optimistic look at the Browns' 2010 season and what it holds for the club's fans. Are we going to win the Super Bowl? Vegas will pay you 100 to 1 if you really think that and are correct, so maybe it's not a high-percentage bet, but I think we've made some strides in both organization and personnel, and a 7-9-type campaign isn't out of the question. With that, and on the verge of their first preseason game, here are 10 reasons why I'm looking forward to the Browns' 2010 season.

1) Mike Holmgren Pointing Fingers at People
Professional Football, with its egalitarian financial structure, is all about the quality of your organization and Front Office, and Browns fans have had their share of ineffective leaders since rejoining the NFL in 1999. But the presence of Mike Holmgren, a proven winner, as Browns President, has instilled a lot of confidence in the fan base going forward. In addition to his imposing figure, his record of success in the NFL, or the confidence he exudes, I think one additional factor is most important in earning fans' trust: pointing fingers at press conferences. It's one thing to get up in front of everyone and explain your vision for the team and call yourself "The Big Boss" when everyone else is going with "The Walrus," but the commanding finger-pointing is how you really know he means business. This guy has the look and sound of a guy who knows what he's doing - let's hope that carries over to wins for the Browns in upcoming years.

2) Joshua M**********g Crubbs
If this cat can make 4- and 5-win teams exciting, imagine what he might be able to do on a real, live, winning franchise. Last year he was clearly our best player, sparking the team's late-season resurgence with completely undisguised Wildcat runs and claiming the NFL's all-time record for kick return touchdowns. With his contract situation settled, all Cribbs has to do is go out there every week and run over, through, and past people, just like he's always done. I'll be sporting my #16 with pride on Sundays this season.

3) Braylon Edwards being on another team
The very definition of addition by subtraction. I heard on the radio where he took some more potshots at Cleveland for no apparent reason, saying he was "too New York" for the city. If by "New York" he meant "Completely inept at catching footballs," then yes, I agree.

4) Partying it up with the FCF crew
I'm too old anymore to get too crazy on gamedays, but I'm sure I'll have a couple of opportunities to get together with FCF's Browns staff and have a good time on a few Sundays. I hope Calico Jack isn't invited. I wonder if Nick will have a Browns' hawaiian shirt for warm early-season games.

5) 1 pm, Sunday
The NFL and its TV affiliates still hasn't figured out that wins and losses in the league fluctuate wildly from year to year, and thus the Browns have zero prime-time games and not even a 4 pm game on the slate this season. Fine with me. 1 pm is my favored start time anyway - you can get a little bit done pre-game, but it doesn't cost you your entire afternoon like a 4 pm game. The night games can be fun, but I rarely stay up for the entirety of non-Browns prime-timers because they run so late. Give me 1 pm on Sunday, any day.

6) Entering the season on a four-game winning streak
When has that ever happened? You have to go back to 1986, and even then that's only a regular-season win streak, because teams don't typically end seasons on runs like that and fail to qualify for the postseason. Here's hoping the next time we enter the season on a four-game skein of victories, the fourth one was in a game with a Roman Numeral after it. Oh, and did I mention that one of those wins was against the Pittsburgh Steelers? Because one of them was against the Pittsburgh Steelers. A 13-6 win. Over the Pittsburgh Steelers. I feel like maybe I'm being unclear in my language here, and perhaps it's because I keep typing in sentence case. ALL CAPS may be of assistance. THE CLEVELAND BROWNS DEFEATED THE PITTSBURGH STEELERS 13-6 THE LAST TIME THE TEAM PLAYED. e-mail me at if any of this is unclear.

7) Something to divert our attention form the Miami Heat going 82-0
In past years, we've had the start of Cavs season and the promise of a deep playoff run easing some of the pain of a 2-7 Browns start at the beginning of November, but not so much this season. Just a reason to get even more into the local gridiron club. I'm all in.

8) Extraneous NFL activities
I still don't really like Fantasy Football , but some-time FCF contributor Dasharath finally badgered me into joining his league this season. I'll be leading my team (Dethklok) into battle each week using a power structure similar to that employed by the Browns. Nick will actually do the drafting and probably the lion's share of the week-to-week operation (Heckert + Mangini), while I will be the face of the franchise and point fingers at people at online press conferences (Holmgren). I don't see how we can lose. While we're on the topic of fantasy, I have to say that I agreed with almost nothing that Bill Simmons wrote in his recent Fantasy Manifesto. Maybe if I actually play, my perspective will change, but all his ideas like auction drafts and Backgammon-style doubling seemed really off the mark to me.

We've also got FCF's annual against-the-spread weekly picks, this year featuring a full season from Gopo and Bucko, along with Nick, Figgs, and me. Should be a good competition.

And lastly, there is the small matter of Gopo and my yearly Browns-Steelers bet. Thanks to the Browns beating the Steelers (see item #6), I managed to avoid losing this bet for the first time since its inception circa 2002. It's a simple bet: if the Browns beat the Steelers twice, Gopo (hypothetically) owes me a case of PBR; if the opposite happens, I owe Dasharath a 30-pack of the beer selected as America's Best in 1893. If the teams split, the bet is a push. I'm already looking forward to claiming my prize for 2010. I might bronze it.

9) Everyone's signed
No holdouts! Well, except for Joe Haden's like half-day holdout, but generally speaking, we got the whole club in camp on time. Maybe Brady Quinn's 2007 holdout, which would eventually torpedo his efforts to become the Browns starter and potentially his entire NFL career, had an effect on some of the new guys, but for whatever reason, they all signed. I know I already picked on Simmons once, but I was flabbergasted by his article with "The 10 types of Holdouts," and his general thesis that holdouts are about more than money. No they're not. They're all about money, every time, 100%. They are about nothing other than money, NOTHING. I'm not the sort of cynical person that thinks that everything people do in life is about money. There are numerous counterexamples, but none of them occur in the world of sports contract holdouts. Players never renegotiate deals to get more respect or more plays run their way, or whatever - they renegotiate them to get more money. I can't be any more clear on this point.

I mentioned Quinn in the previous paragraph, and I want to add here that I will definitely, definitely, not miss hearing the inane song "The Mighty Quinn" this season. I have nothing against Brady, and wish he'd had more success here, but I'm pleased as punch to have that track out of my life. Sorry, Nick.

10) The Last Hurrah
I dunno, a lot of folks think this 2011 lockout is an inevitability. I've long held that there's too much money on the table, and too much time before it would happen, for the NFL and its players to not reach an agreement, but a lot of experts seem to think it'll happen anyway. So hey, let's get in as much Browns excitement in 2010 as we can.

During the authorship of this piece, the Browns marched down the field effortlessly to take a 7-0 lead on the Pack. Super Bowl. Run 'n' tell that, homeboy.

1 comment:

Figgs said...

1. We're going 4-12 this year, but I'm still looking forward to every one of them.

2. We beat the Steelers 13-6 last year.

3. Calico Jack is ALWAYS invited.