03 February, 2008


New York Times - January 27, 2008
Long-Forgotten Perfection by the Lake
During the Patriots' journey to their Super Bowl XLII opportunity for a record 19-0 season, they upstaged the N.F.L.'s only other unbeaten and untied team, the 1972 Dolphins, who were 17-0. But buried in a forgotten pro football graveyard is a forgotten unbeaten and untied team, the 1948 Cleveland Browns.Those early Browns, named for Coach Paul Brown and led by quarterback Otto Graham, went 14-0 during the regular schedule, then routed the Buffalo Bills, 49-7, in the All-America Football Conference championship game for a 15-0 sweep in the midst of what would be a 29-game unbeaten streak (with two ties) over three seasons.The All-America what? Surely you mean the American Football League?No, the A.F.L. didn't arrive until 1960, a decade after the All-America Football Conference had vanished after four seasons following World War II, mostly because the Browns were so good. They had wrecked the league's competitive balance. The Browns won all four titles, compiling a 47-4-3 regular-season record, winning a playoff game and going 4-0 in championship games, including two with the New York Yankees.In the truce that ended the N.F.L.'s expensive duel for players with the A.A.F.C., the N.F.L. absorbed the Browns, the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Colts. It also took the best players from the other five franchises, notably defensive tackle Arnie Weinmeister and defensive back Tom Landry, who joined the Giants after having starred for the New York Yankees, who played at Yankee Stadium.Unlike the N.F.L.'s later acceptance of all A.F.L. team and player records in their 1966 merger agreement, the N.F.L. refused to recognize the All-America Football Conference statistics. The current Browns media guide still lists the team's results and starting lineups for 1946 through 1949, but the N.F.L. tossed all those names and numbers into an unmarked grave, as if they never existed.In 1950, the Browns' first season in the N.F.L., they proved they existed. They stunned the two-time reigning champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, 35-10, in the opener, posted a 10-2 record (both losses to the Giants), nipped the Giants, 8-3, in an East Division playoff at Cleveland, then rallied to defeat the Los Angeles Rams, 30-28, in the championship game on Lou Groza's 16-yard field goal with 28 seconds left.Over a 10-year stretch, the Browns, who also captured the 1954 and 1955 championships, won 7 N.F.L. and A.A.F.C. titles and 10 division titles. But to Brown, his unbeaten and untied '48 Browns were the best Browns team of all.

"Even greater than the 1950 N.F.L. championship squad, and probably the greatest pro football team ever up to that time," he wrote in his 1990 book, "PB: The Paul Brown Story" in collaboration with Jack Clary. "Since we didn't play in the N.F.L., it didn't count. I know this, though: the Browns, 49ers and Yankees were better than any of the N.F.L. teams that year, and we beat those other two teams twice."In addition to Brown, who later guided the Cincinnati Bengals to two Super Bowl appearances as general manager, six early Browns are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Graham (one of four quarterbacks on the N.F.L.'s all-time team along with Sammy Baugh, Johnny Unitas and Joe Montana), fullback Marion Motley, wide receiver Dante Lavelli, center Frank Gatski, middle guard Bill Willis and Groza, who was a kicker and offensive tackle."The real measure of our '48 team," Brown wrote, "was its ability to play and win three games within eight days, something no football team before, or since, ever has been asked to do."All three games were on the road. On a Sunday in New York before 52,518 at the Stadium, the Browns beat the Yankees, 34-21; boarded a 16-hour flight to Los Angeles, where they stopped the Dons, 31-14, before 60,031 in the Coliseum on Thanksgiving Day; then edged the 49ers, 31-28, three days later before 59,785 at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco."The main thing about Paul Brown," Lavelli said from his home in the Cleveland area, "was how articulate he was and how everything had to be perfect."Lou Saban, a linebacker on the '48 Browns who later coached the Denver Broncos and the Buffalo Bills, recalled asking Brown why he made his players create a new playbook every year at training camp when it was mostly the same plays."When you write it, you remember it," Brown said.

Around that time, Brown turned running back Dub Jones into what most historians consider football's first flanker back."I had been the man in motion, but one day, Paul just told me to set out there on either side," Jones said.Mike Brown, Paul's son, who is the Bengals' president, hung around the '48 Browns as a 13-year-old. The only Browns photograph in his office is the 1948 team photo. And he keeps hoping that someday, the N.F.L. will insert all those All-America Football Conference statistics into its record book."It would be a fitting reminder of how great those Browns teams were," he said.Especially the forgotten '48 Browns, who were 15-0 long before the Dolphins were 17-0 and six decades before the Patriots would be shooting for 19-0.

03 January, 2008

Moron Columnists

Take Home Talk

The first three minutes of the DVD Tressel sent home with the players to watch over Christmas. I get fired up just watching this!


26 December, 2007

Pass Interference?

2003 Fiesta Bowl analysis of the famous play:


21 October, 2007


Damn...I don't even know what to write. I am a realistic, even optomistic person, in most areas of my life. When it comes to sports, however, I am usually very negative. My roommate and another one of my good friends are Red Sox fans, yet I said nothing when we led 3-1. Why? Because of tonight... and Mesa, Red Right 88, the Drive, the Fumble, the Shot, the Move, the Disaster in the Desert, etc, etc, etc. Let's face it, being a fan of NE Ohio sports is a succession of kicks to the groin. The worst part is the pain. Yeah, this sucks. I want one Cleveland team to win a championship before I'm dead. And for two weeks, I've had to listen to BoSox fans whine about their past, when they have 2004, Tom Brady, Bobby Orr, and the Celtics. We had Jim Brown, who retired before my mom and dad graduated HS. We have LeBron, who shows up cheer against his hometwon team and taunt his own fans. And we have pain...I wear it like a badge of honor...it, in a perverse way, shows my loyalty and the loyalty of the Cleveland fan. The Red Sox have some true fans (my two fans are die-hards) but that bandwagon is on the verge of collapse from the weight. The true fans will not taunt, but those goddamn bandwagoners will. Bandwagon jumpers are like child molesters and snitches in prison...the lowest of the low. And damn it, I know it's only sports, but this is not fun. You know, I'm almost 28 and it seems like this builds every year. The Browns suck, the Tribe chokes, the Cavs ahve regressed, and do you really believe in the Buckeyes this fall? I still don't, but my teams beat me down. I can't even get excited, because when I do it all crashes down again. I remember '97, when my buddy Dan and I discussed our celebration after we won game 7. You know the story, unfortunately. My father is 58 and a life-long Tribe fan, and I now wonder whether he'll ever see a World Series title. He likes to say it doesn't truly matter, but I recognized the pain in his voice during this latest collapse. I know when Cleveland breaks its curse, I'll celebrate for an entire week....but until then, it's sorrow. I recall a movie (don't remember which one at the moment) where a major character talks about missing pain once its gone. Well, I almost revel in the pain, which shows I've truly suffered as a Cleveland fan. My friends who are not NE Ohio fans don't get it and don't understand why I was so negative....maybe now they do. All I've wanted is to watch my teams, and enjoy or suffer through it all. But to have to hear it...and not from the loyalists. Do some people live just to talk shit? I tell myself someday, and there's always next year....but after this ALCS, I'm not sure there is. Someone is always destined to lose, and apparently that is our destiny, as we are from Ohio....

15 April, 2007

Jackie Robinson

Today is the 60th anniversary of Mr. Robinson's debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Jackie has long been a hero of mine, and I have read several books, including the most recent biography by Arnold Rampersad. I have been looking forward to tonight's game on ESPN when Jackie would be honored. However, I should have realized that the network would fuck this up. How did they do so? Well, in light of the recent events with Don Imus, leave it to ESPN to have known racists Jesse Jackson and Spike Lee, former Minnesota basketball thug Dave Winfield and moron (who had some poor comments this week) Stuart Scott involved in their tribute. What a shame that espn would mess this up...Oh and where's Al Sharpton?

29 March, 2007

It's been awhile....

...and I have had little desire to post. January 8 was a day that shook this Buckeye fan to the core....and I still don't know the reason it fell apart. I knew we were in trouble when I was at my parents' house in Ohio over Christmas break, and I saw an ad in the Columbus Dispatch advertising the presale of January 9 editions. It was then I felt we were over-confident and ripe to be picked off. I just had no idea it would be by 4 touchdowns. I know one thing about this team...they will be back, as strong as ever. Tressel will wil another national championship (possibly multiple titles). Other than that, I don't care to rehash that night too much....but damn, I get sick of seeing gator shit everywhere. Did not see near as much before January 8, but I digress.
The basketball team has taken us on a roller-coaster ride these past two weeks. Regular season and tournament Big Ten Champions were great achievements, but those all seemed for moot with 2:54 remaining in the round two game against Xaiver. And then, a near-miracle comeback capped by Ron Lewis's tying three with :02 left! That was our close call, right? Not so fast, as during the Sweet 16, the Buckeyes spot Tennessee a 20 point lead with :30 left until halftime. At this point, I made the same speech to my father over the phone I'd made during the Xavier game ("We suck, led Thad go to Kentucky, let Oden go to the NBA, we're a disgrace, bring on Spring football, etc."). But David Lighty gets a 3 point play to reduce the halftime deficit to 17. Doesn't matter in my mind; we're still SOL. But the Buckeyes stage an even more incredible comeback to beat Tennessee by one! Just an incredible game; probably the best Buckeye basketball game since either the Elite 8 game against St. John's to go to the 1999 Final 4, the 2000 game in MSG over SJU when Scoonie Penn blocked a shot at the buzzer to seal a double-digit comeback in the final 3:00, or either the Illinois game in 2005 or the LSU game in December 2005, both ended by Matt Sylvester 3's. And now, another Final Four birth after a relatively easy (in comparison to the past two games) win over Memphis. Georgetown gave OSU their worst NCAA beating ever last March, and I have no idea who will win. G'town is the best front court OSU will face all year, and Hibbert is the one guy in CBB who has the size to take on Greg Oden. Should be one hell of a game.
Elsewhere, I gave up on the CBJ 2 months ago; another finish out of the playoff chase. They have to turn it around eventually, right? (Well, maybe not, just look at the Cleveland Browns!)
Speaking of the Browns, the draft is still a month away and I'm sick of the damn thing. I don't want a QB (yet I don't know if Frye or Anderson is the answer). Football is won at the line of scrimmage, and the Browns desperately need OL help. Either Joe Thomas, or trade down. And as for the Cavs, whenever I write them off, they get hot and win in Detroit. And whenever I proclaim they will win the East (my early season pick) they lose to Charlotte and the NY Knicks. I have no idea what to expect any given night. Honestly, I watch all the OSU basketball I can here in Florida, but I can't even be motivated to watch every Cavs game on TNT or ESPN. And the sport I've watched most of all since the debacle in Glendale has been soccer, specifically the FA Premier League. Last, I have been to several spring training games and was in Winter Haven to see CC get hit by the liner yesterday. I am not near as optimistic as SI, but I have a feeling Cleveland can contend for the Central. And if they can sneak in, baseball's playoffs are a crap shoot, and Cleveland may just have the rotation to make a run at the pennant...if the bullpen holds up its end of the deal, of course. Opening day is Monday, but the excitement builds toward Saturday, when its OSU-Georgetown.

28 December, 2006

OSU basketball

They will perform better soon. I didn't have too much to say after the ass-kicking in Gainesville, but I still feel this team is a favorite (along with Wisconsin) in the Big Ten and a contender for the Final Four.

Why the NCAA sucks

Read this column by Todd Jones. He is able to sum up some of my feelings on the sham that is the NCAA and amateurism. Amateur athletics is largely a relic that dates to a time when athletics was a pursuit reserved for the leisure time of the wealthy. I love the OSU football team and greatly enjoy college football. But I can't get past the fact that there is injustice here.

Hopefully, this holds true

Thank God...It looks like Pittman and Wells should be OK.