Johnny Football to the Browns

The grocery-store cashier saw my hat today and said “You a Browns fan?”

“Hell yeah,” I said. “We got Johnny Football!”

Our high five was so authentic and loud that people noticed.

The Browns drafted Brady Quinn No. 22 in the first round a few years ago, and that was a joke. Two years ago, overrated idiot walrus Mike Holmgren drafted Brandon Weeden No. 22, and Browns fans will remember Holmgren forever as an overrated idiot walrus who doesn’t know a fucking thing about drafting quarterbacks.

Drafting Johnny Manziel at No. 22 on Thursday night was different. It was great. It was right.

In February, Johnny Football told the Houston Chronicle “If something happens, and it’s the Cleveland Browns, I’m going to pour my heart out for the Dawg Pound and try to win a Super Bowl for Cleveland. I don’t care if they’ve had 20 starting quarterbacks since 1999. I’m going to be the 21st and the guy that brought them the Super Bowl.”

Yes. Just yes.

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Kevin Costner Kicks Cleveland Browns Fans in the Face

Kevin Costner kissing Jennifer Garner is gross, but it’s not the worst thing about Draft Day. Nor is the disturbing subplot of his flabby neck: Will he undo the top button on his dress shirt to release that pinched wattle? (It looks so painful.) The worst thing about Draft Day is its Cleveland Browns backdrop. The explanation is stupidity or sadism or both. I bet both.

draft_day

I wore a Browns hat to the theater to see Draft Day. I am not objective. My family’s from Cleveland, and feisty relatives have inceptioned me since youth to root for this team. It’s how sports works for honest fans—our teams become our teams through personal (usually familial) connections. Like being born with diabetes, I got the Browns. They lose most of their games every year. Playoffs? Never.

Draft Day begins 13 hours before the NFL draft, an annual event when teams take turns picking the best college football players. Costner plays Sonny Weaver Jr., the general manager of the Browns. The movie details his wheeling and dealing up to and during the draft. He also—that morning—learned his girlfriend (Garner, who works for the team as a budget specialist) is pregnant. And his dad, whom he fired as coach of the Browns the year previous, just died.

Ugh. The girlfriend and father issues are typical bad movie menu items. Whatever. The real problem is its emphasis on the first round as imperative. If Weaver Jr. nails his pick, it’s said, he’ll “save football in Cleveland.” To which I spit a Sour Patch Kid at the screen in hopes it sticks, and scoff loud enough to be shushed by fellow ticket-buying members of key demographics. Browns first-rounders have been good when they’ve been unsexy selections—offensive linemen and a cornerback. It’s otherwise been bust after epic bust year after awful year. The premise of this movie is garbage.

Not that it’s a real movie.

The NFL is a mighty brand peddling one of America’s favorite products: sports on TV. Football gives it best. Fans say thank you by paying extra on our cable bills for all the games, or going to bars and buying food and beer. I gave them money for the ugly Browns hats I wear, and my grandma gives them money for the Browns sweatshirts she sends me each Christmas.

The crafty millionaires and billionaires running this slick corporation want our eyes on days there aren’t games, to satiate powerful advertisers (mostly light beer and pharmaceuticals). Thus the draft has grown into a blockbuster television event, its first round (of seven) airing in a sweet Thursday-night slot. Draft Day is an ultimate commercial for the event: a “romantic” “comedy” and a Kevin Costner sports flick.

Costner and his pinched neck should not be kissing Garner; he looks like her dad. And I don’t think general managers talk this way. “The kid’s got a great first step, I’ll give him that.” “He’s pro-ready. End of story.” Drafting pros in every sport has become an intricate science of statistical data mining, psychology, and physiology. Analytics. Film study. Scouting. In Draft Day, Costner makes decisions based on weird conversations. “None of the kid’s teammates attended his birthday party, Sonny.” If this is really how Browns GMs work, it explains a lot and I’m glad they get fired so often.

High cruelty is filmmakers choosing the Browns for this dumbed-down two-hour ad for the first round of the NFL draft. Cleveland football is the ultimate proof that these deals we’re watching Costner swing are guaranteed to go horribly. Draft Day would have been bad if it featured any team. By spotlighting the Browns, it bends the knee to evil.

(I’ve ranted here about the Browns’ drafts before. Click here for a Flip Side freakout from the year fat asshole walrus Mike Holmgren picked Brandon Weeden over Russell Wilson.)

Dreading Mailman’s Ghost . . . in Fantasy Football

I fear the ghost of Karl Malone. I have two Malone jerseys; there is an action-figure shrine to him above my refrigerator*. When Malone was playing power forward on the Utah Jazz in the ’90s, my mood rose and fell with his play. When he was great, I felt great. And the Mailman was extremely great in regular seasons.

But he always, always lost in the playoffs. It hurt worse every time.

Here’s how I snowboard when feeling especially saucy:

3

My fantasy football team this NFL season, Mingo F*ck Yerself, has the No. 1 seed in the ‘Burque league playoffs. I finished 11-2, the only team with double-digit wins. I won a fantasy matchup in Week 9 by this score: 161.45–153.35. Receiver T.Y. Hilton, Colts. Megatron was on a bye that weekend, and I still won huge. My only loss (since the first game) was Week 11, despite 60 combined from Megatron and Washington Football Team QB RG3. Jimmy Graham and Knowshon Moreno had low games. Fluke. I had the third highest score of all the teams that week.

The dude who beat me then is Daniel. Team name: Eye of Yaweh. We were roommates after college. He’s got Peterson. And Gronk. Daniel’s the No. 2 seed. Because we’re the top two, we both get a bye, automatically advancing to round two. If we play again it’ll be in the championship on December 23. I’ll be with my in-laws for Christmas.

Of the five other guys who made the playoffs (in a 12-team league), three were once roommates. The top three teams all lived together once. A fourth, Marlman, lived in a room I moved into immediately after he moved out, so we just barely missed being roommates.

There’s money, too.

I want to win.

Ming F*ck Yourself just had a season to remember. Now begin the playoffs. The No. 3 seed is my friend and former roommate Nebs. We stayed up late one night, weeks ago, negotiating a trade over G-chat that would have got me Peyton Manning. He backed out the next morning.

Nebs says my only hope to escape Karl Malone’s ghost is to burn my Malone stuff.

I won’t do it. My players have gotten me this far. They’ll come through. Come on, RG3—be amazing.

A shrine. Jesus. I never thought it might actually matter.

Sports is ridiculous.

*

John Stockton running shit. The painting is of Baby Stockton giving a ball to Baby Malone

John Stockton running shit. The painting is Baby Stockton giving a ball to Baby Malone

NFL Concussions and My Conscience

Let’s talk about Reggie Bush.

Football combines speed and strength like no other major sport. You must be able to knock over and/or outrace huge defenders to be an NFL playmaker. This is why the average NFL career lasts under four years—it’s incredibly hard to keep your body strong enough to do it well.

Thus the list of best players often changes from year to year. Once someone like Michael Vick or RG3 or Terrell Owens starts playing really great, they have to give absolutely everything they’ve got, enduring terrible punishment to make big plays. The prime of a career can be just one season.

RG3 last year, right? Young Bruce Willis to Cam Newton’s Arnold Schwarzenegger. Or Adrian Peterson gaining 2,000 yards for the Vikings, willing his team to the playoffs. Remember Randy Moss’s rookie year? Or when Falcons-era Vick won that playoff game in Lambeau? Vick highlights used to be better than “Mad Men.”

My favorite football player in 2005 was Reggie Bush, and he wasn’t even in the NFL yet. On the big-money (wink wink) University of Southern California football team, Bush unleashed what I believe is the best running-back play I’ve ever seen. He has Olympic-sprinter speed, so even when he slows down to put a move on a guy—and his jukes humiliated defenders—he was still blazing so much faster than everyone else on the field. He’d accelerate the whole time, breaking tackles and jumping over guys. He averaged 8.9 yards per carry that year. The average length of his 16 touchdowns was 31.9 yards. Big. Ass. Plays.

(Video highlights!)

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AND YET. The play I think about first when I think about Reggie Bush is this hit he took as a professional on the New Orleans Saints, against the Eagles. Click here for the clip. This is a photo:

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It was such a violent hit, but its immediate aftermath made it sad. Bush stood to walk it off and within two steps was back on his knees, crawling. He was hurt terribly. The guilt I felt watching this hit is more memorable than the joy of seeing him skate around defenders like a demigod at the pinnacle of his magic abilities.

. . . . &*<–

This current NFL season has been really fun so far. Burque league opponents will tell you my fantasy team, Mingo Fuck Yerself, has won seven straight games thanks to Megatron, Jimmy Graham, and an unmatched stable of four RB1-level running backs—Knowshon, Lacy, Fred Jackson, and Giovani Bernard (who just Thursday night broke the best touchdown highlight of the year).

I’m playing the Burque commissioner this weekend, and am leading our game 100.35 to 97.00 as I type this. I’ll remain in first place even if I lose.

Look, do not take a running back in the first two rounds of a fantasy draft. Take the best wide receiver and the best tight end. Take running backs in the middle rounds—rookies and older vets who get a lot of carries.

I am loving fantasy this year. I sit there watching games for hours every Sunday, updating the score on my phone’s fantasy app constantly.

. . . . &*<–

There is this fantastic new book out, called “Slow Getting Up.” It’s by Nate Jackson, who played tight end for the Broncos in the middle aughts. He writes about an injured teammate getting drunk on the sideline during games; about the difference between his weekly salary as a practice-team player ($4,000) and as a member of the official roster ($15,000); about how hard it is for a pro athlete to date but how easy it is to get laid; about camaraderie and friendship among teammates in the face of destructive drama like losing streaks, terrible coaching (Mangini on the Browns), or quarterback controversy (Denver turning on Jake Plummer for rookie Jay Cutler).

And he writes about a practice when he was on a German NFL Europe team:

Players grunt, coaches yell, and pads and helmets crack, creating a frightening symphony of early-onset dementia.

Early-onset dementia.

. . . . &*<–

The PBS show “Frontline” had a blockbuster episode last month called “League of Denial,” about the prevalence of brain injuries in football players and about NFL executives working to downplay the danger. “League of Denial” was full of crazy anecdotes, like former Steelers center Mike Webster, whose mind fell apart after football to the point he was living in a truck Superglueing his teeth into his head and falling asleep by Tasing himself. Junior Seau, an amazing linebacker for the Chargers over the decade I was becoming a football fan, killed himself with a shotgun blast to the chest just three years after he retired. Other ex-NFL players have committed suicide the same way. They do it so their brains can be studied.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a condition football players get from knocking into one another so frequently. Their brains develop spots. The side effects are dementia, memory loss, confusion, depression, and aggression.

When a 21 year-old football player with no history of concussions killed himself, doctors analyzed his brain and found CTE. One doctor tells “Frontline” she wonders if every football player has it.

. . . . &*<–

The Cleveland Browns are playing the despicable Baltimore Ravens as I type this. The Browns are winning. My two-month-old daughter is sleeping in her monkey rocker next to me, wearing the little Browns onesie my badass aunts sent us when she was born. This is great?

A quick check of my phone, and . . . . Yes, I’m still barely winning my fantasy matchup, and I got T.Y. Hilton going tonight for the Colts and beastly Packers playmaker Eddie Lacy going on Monday Night Football. Mingo Fuck Yerself is a hurricane of awesome. This is great?

. . . . &*<–

I see so many head-to-head collisions every Sunday as I watch these games. They happen constantly, hits damaging the brains of these amazing warrior athletes, the gladiators of now.

If I’d lived in ancient Rome I would have watched those gladiators murder each other with swords and spears. The Coliseum’s full whether I’m there or not, right? There’s nothing I could have done to stop the blood in the sand, and they probably put on a great show.

So, what? Keep watching football, right? The NFL is so much fun, and unlike years past the players actually know how much they’re damaging their minds by playing. Maybe that makes it all right.

. . . . &*<–

I want the decision taken out of my hands. The hope is my daughter will get older and we’ll have too many fun daddy-daughter things to do on Sundays, so no time for watching football. Then I won’t have to hear these guys’ heads cracking together so often.

But what if the Browns draft Johnny Football Manziel and he gets them to the Super Bowl? They win the championship, but at the end of the game he takes a head hit so huge it kills him. This far-fetched scenario would be absolutely awful, but there would be a moment when all beleaguered Cleveland fans felt the long-sought joy of truly winning.

It would be sick.

Men Vs. Monster

Derrick Rose is back on the Chicago Bulls after missing all last season with a blown-out knee. He was MVP a few years ago, over LeBron James. He gets buckets at the end of close games, and the Bulls have the best defense in the NBA so their games are always close. D-Rose did it in his second game back, three nights ago, against the Knicks—blasted past one defender with long strides and launched himself into a much taller help defender, Tyson Chandler, a seven-foot former defensive player of the year. Click here for the video. This is a photo:

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D-Rose, on the left there, is nine inches shorter than Chandler, yet you see him shooting from well above the big man’s reach. This was the deciding shot with five seconds left in a one-point Bulls win.

D-Rose is 6-foot-3, 190 pounds. He’s a man. LeBron James is a monster. Six-eight, 270. No one said it would be easy.

Last playoffs, the Houston Rockets’ Patrick Beverly dove into Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook’s right knee as Westbrook was calling timeout. (Video.) Westbrook stood, spun, and angrily smashed his hand onto the scorer’s table. He kept trying to straighten but stayed bent over, holding the knee. Limping terribly. When he did stand, he stared scary-furious down the court at Beverly.

Like D-Rose, Westbrook is a powerful man-sized point guard with impossible athleticism. He needs his right knee for attacking the basket. He had surgery. With the season beginning this week, Westbrook can’t come back because of complications with the stitches, necessitating additional surgery. Sigh . . . .

Westbrook is much less disciplined than D-Rose. Westbrook shoots a lot more. He’s less efficient, but he can dominate and score 40 points. And he isn’t even the best player on his team! The Beverly hit cost Kevin Durant his best teammate: Westbrook the warrior wing man and weapon.

Before last season the Thunder stupidly traded James Harden, aka “Pappa Smurf Beard.”

IFWT_James-Harden-beard-4

Pappa Smurf Beard is a scoring-machine shooting guard in a league with very few good shooting guards, and the Thunder dumped him for lesser guys because the Oklahoma City owner/bosses couldn’t afford to pay another superstar’s salary.

Durant is so fun to watch and so easy to root for. He’s taller (6-9) than LeBron, and way smoother. The ball looks light in Durant’s hands, and his shooting form is feathery perfection, hand curling into the cookie jar every time. He’s the top scorer in the NBA, but he’s screwed if Westbrook’s knee can’t recover.

You have to have good teammates. Jordan had Scottie. LeBron left his home-town team in Cleveland to play for the Miami Heat so he could team up with Dwyane Wade. Durant needed James Harden, and now he definitely needs Russell Westbrook.

D-Rose had to take a whole season off to get his knee right. Now he is the tip of the spear that may be the only hope to beat the Heat.

Durant is doomed in his quest to beat LeBron if Westbrook can’t come back much faster than D-Rose did.

Watch these knees. LeBron is a monster. You need nice knees to take him down. You have to be able to fly.

Browns Winning Despite Vandal Bosses

I miss Trent Richardson so much. Why? WHYYY?! Why did you trade him?

The Cleveland Browns played against the Bills on TV last night. Tied at 24 in the fourth quarter, the Browns got to the goal line, one yard from the go-ahead touchdown.

Trent Richardson is a running back who can bench press 500 pounds and squat 700. Last year was his rookie season with the Browns (following a national-championship run as Alabama’s best player). He doesn’t have a high yards-per-carry average, but that’s because he’s a sledgehammer. You can’t throw a sledgehammer very far, but you can smash through whatever’s in front of you. Double digit touchdowns last year. Richardson bull rushes straight ahead wielding cannonball muscles like weapons, and he has an intangible feel for getting into the end zone. The Browns traded him to the Colts three weeks ago for a draft pick.

That just looks right. Dammit

That just looks right. Dammit

So they got to the goal line Thursday night on NFL Channel against the Bills. 24-24. Disturbing quarterback Brandon Weeden (the sort of terrible player the Browns usually draft in the first round, particularly at quarterback, and you MUST have a good quarterback), handed off to Willis McGahee, the old (he’s my age), oft-injured running back they signed to replace Richardson. McGahee can’t bench 500 pounds. A defender met McGahee, easily pushed him backward, and tackled him for a loss. Terrible first-round quarterback Weeden threw an incompletion and Cleveland wound up with a field goal.

They won 37-24 Thursday night and it was fun to watch, but they’re fucked because of this trade. They have a big, fast game-breaker receiver (Josh Gordon, who’s 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds), and good players on defense for the first time since I can remember. Barkevious Mingo (who’s 6-4, 240) is terrorizing quarterbacks as a freaky athletic stand-up end rusher, and Joe Haden shuts wide receivers down. The win-sealing score against the Bills was a defensive touchdown off an interception by Browns safety T.J. Ward. Like Richardson, these guys (and budding-star return man Travis Benjamin) are young.

This is the AFC North, where defense and tough, buff play prevail. Steelers. Ravens. Both Browns rivals have won multiple Super Bowls in the modern era of Browns dreadfulness. After Thursday’s win, the Browns lead the division. They’ve won three games straight. Cleveland’s a better team right now than Baltimore or Pittsburgh. (!)

At halftime the Browns had a ceremony for Jim Brown, the only player to ever average more than 100 yards per game. He won a championship in Cleveland and is considered the greatest football player ever. HE PLAYED RUNNING BACK.

I watch this year’s badass Browns team and I miss Trent Richardson so much. It’s infuriating. Maybe the Browns will make the playoffs this year, but they’ll be going in with a weaker team than they would be with Richardson. Browns management—stuffy CEOs Mike Lombardi and Joe Banner—made a surprise contender worse. Buttholes.

The Meaning of Life

Whelp, we watched the Browns. My daughter mostly slept. Instead of her Cleveland Browns dress (see last post), she wore a gray-and-white onesie with two smiling koala bears—little bear clinging to the back of a bigger bear. It says “I love hanging out with mom.” Check it:

koala

I watched the Browns with hate in my heart. Not for the football team and its players. I hate Browns management for trading turbo-truck Trent Richardson last week for a draft pick. These are old white men with huge egos. They decided it was OK to give away an entire year of football, because they’re so smart they can fix the team with draft picks.

They made the team worse on purpose. Who the fuck are these guys—Mike Lombardi and Joe Banner—that they don’t think they should be judged for the product on the field right now?

Against the Vikings yesterday, the team started quarterback Brian Hoyer, who has started one NFL game (a loss) and been cut by three teams. His first possession was a one-yard three-and-out. His second possession, Hoyer faded back and threw the ball directly into the ground, like a spike. It slipped. Landed a foot in front of him.

But then something crazy happened. The Browns started playing pretty well. Two plays after the spike, Hoyer threw a deep touchdown along the left sideline to Josh Gordon, a beast receiver newly returned from two-game drug suspension. Gordon is 6-foot-3, 225, and fast. A touchdown! More followed.

With one minute left, the Browns were losing by three points. They had the ball seven yards away from the end zone. Trent Richardson was far away, getting ready for his first game with the Colts. His replacement on the Browns, Willis McGahee, had nine yards on eight carries.

One minute. Ball on the seven. Down 3. Hoyer’s first pass goes out of the end zone. Hoyer’s second pass goes over the end zone. My wife, sitting beside me with baby in her arms, says “And they have no one who can run it, right?” Right.

Hoyer’s third pass is a perfect lob, over the defender and into the big waiting hands of tight end Jordan Cameron. TOUCHDOWN! The Browns won, 31-27. Their inexperienced quarterback threw 54 passes. Trent Richardson’s first carry for the Colts was a touchdown.

So, yeah, I couldn’t quit the Browns. Sue me. It’s in the blood.

I sent the previous blog, about the Richardson trade and my three-week-old daughter wearing a Browns dress, to Cleveland Plain Dealer sports columnist Terry Pluto. His response was this:

All I can say is someone with a good wife, family and daughter has a lot to be thankful for..

As I get older, I have learned that the hard way…dealing with my dad’s stroke, and then him dying…my mother died instantly of a heart attack. I My wife of 36 years is one of God’s great gifts to me…

Family is there long after whatever the Browns do or don’t do.

terry

Jesus, dude.

I guess that’s true. The Trent trade’s done, right? Over. And anyway we’re talking about guys playing a game.

They make these beer commercials about whether fans can do superstitious little things to help their teams win. If it is possible to harness Universe Power for our favorite teams, it can’t happen through complaining and being angry. And If I’m pissed off and rude and negative about football, my daughter is probably going to wind up disliking the sport because it made daddy’s eyes bulge.

If you’ve been around sports fans who scream or smash stuff when plays go badly, you know how terrible that can be. Little children are sensitive to rage.

It turns out this year’s Cleveland Browns can win. Now they just need to find a running back. I’m sure they will. Laah.

Those assholes managing the team better hope they nail next year’s draft. Somewhere in their arrogant souls they know they’ve got basically a coin flip’s chance. Maybe the picks will be so good they win the Super Bowl.

 

Cleveland Browns Management Hurts

For a lot of reasons, I wasn’t gonna put pictures of our baby on the internet. But when the Browns traded Trent Richardson today it made me so mad I can’t really control what I do. God dammit, the Browns are bad to their players and fans, including my adorable daughter. Just look at her.

sydbrowns

My badass Cleveland aunts got her those clothes. The photo’s from Sunday. First football Sunday with dad. The Browns lost 14-6 to the Baltimore Ravens, who are the original Browns because the team Jim Brown played for moved to Baltimore in 1996 and became the Ravens and won Super Bowls.

It isn’t the Browns players’ fault this team loses. I truly believe that. It’s the fault of stupid managers putting players at a disadvantage. Even Brandon Weeden knows he shouldn’t be playing NFL quarterback. Weeden’s thrown three interceptions and one touchdown in this young, 0-2 season.

Weeden graciously hurt himself last game and won’t be playing this Sunday. That was the news before the Richardson trade. The team has two backup quarterbacks. One is Jason Campbell, an eighth-year veteran who has played in almost 80 games and thrown 24 more touchdowns over his career than interceptions. The other is Brian Hoyer, who has thrown one touchdown in his two career games and been cut by multiple teams. They picked Hoyer. BECAUSE THEY’RE IDIOTS!!!

It is not easy to find a great running back in the NFL, where a solid run game is still a sweet weapon. Trent Richardson is a truck. He can bench press 500 pounds. He’s fast. He can tenderize a defense and open things up for the passing game. The Browns need to fix the quarterback. It’s so obvious. We liked Trent Richardson. We liked Trent Richardson. His rookie year, last season, he rushed for nearly 1,000 yards and double-digit touchdowns. With broken ribs. He’s 22 years old. We liked Trent Richardson.

Why do you keep doing this, Browns management? Why do you keep hurting the team? Just make a nice team. You have good young players. Help them win. Try to win. Stop making the team worse. Try making them better.

I don’t want my daughter beholden to the whims of arrogant assholes. I don’t think she’ll be wearing her Browns dress again.

Can I stop rooting for the Browns? I feel like I’ll care no matter what. It’s in my blood. But if it is possible to quit your team, I’m done. My family renounces the Browns. We wish their players the best; I love some of those guys. But their bosses are evil. They do wrong by everyone, including themselves.

They do wrong by the cute little baby fans. Just look at this one. . . . There’s even a Dawg Pound photobomb happening. . . . This is who you’re hurting, Mike Lombardi and Joe Banner. You politicians. Shaaaame.

dawg pownd

. . .

Here’s my doodle of Richardson from before last year’s draft:

https://flipsidesf.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/trich.png

It was fun while it lasted, Trent. Good luck in Indy. You’re in much better hands. Your old teammates are probably jealous.

I cannot believe the player they kept out of those two first-round picks from that year is Weeden. This is bullshit.

Fantasy Football: What the Hell Did I Do?

Seven NFL seasons ago, my fantasy team Pee Hole Fisters went winless. My only victory was in the consolation bracket of the playoffs. Friends say that doesn’t count, because the consolation bracket is flushed piss. Consolation-bracket rosters rarely get managed.

The embarrassing 0-fer was compounded by my job that year. I was copy chief of the sports section at The Albuquerque Tribune, a bastion of creativity and aggressive journalism much missed in New Mexico. (The Tribune, an afternoon daily, closed in February 2008. Tough time.) I would work every day with designers and photo editors to make a sports section, but on the side I wrote features, blogs, movie reviews, and a fantasy football column.

So I wrote a weekly fantasy football advice column the same season my team went 0-13. I can’t find any of those old clips, or I’d pick the most humiliating one and paste it here. I did find this critique of a fantasy draft blog I wrote during my Trib days. I agree that I am “criminally unfunny”—the team was called “Pee Hole Fister,” after all.

As mentioned here before, Yahoo judged my draft this year as our league’s worst. It projected me to go 0-13. I thought that unlikely until the first games started. My No. 2 tight end Zack Sudfeld, in the flex spot (that’s right), had zero catches for zero points. Starting running back Giovani Bernard managed 30 yards for the Bengals. My No. 1 overall pick, Calvin Johnson, had a touchdown waived off and scored 3.7 fantasy points.

Matthew Berry told me not to take Megatron! So what if he’s wrong more times than he’s right? At least you’re following something if you follow Matthew Berry. Hubris annihilates empires; of course it can destroy a fantasy season. Who am I? A Santa Fe goofball. I have no business ignoring the sage advice of professionals.

I drew a cartoon depicting my fantasy opponent as a crying baby. Hubris! Now I need RG3 to score 10 touchdowns on Monday Night Football.

In non-fantasy-football-related news, Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden threw three interceptions and lost a fumble against the Miami Dolphins. The Browns’ improved defense played fantastic for a while, but then it got unpleasant to work so hard only to see their quarterback come in and hand the ball right back to the other team.

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Weeden makes football miserable for his teammates. And fans. This isn’t entirely his fault, though. Even he probably thought it was crazy for the Browns to draft him over Russell Wilson. Even he probably thought it was crazy to throw 53 times and hand the ball to their opponent-punishing running back Trent Richardson 13 times. 53 throws, 13 runs.

Uhg. Fuck football. Two 0-13 seasons would be pretty amazing.

Spitting Ignorant Broncos Fans — RG3 — Cowboys — Quitting the Browns

A Broncos fan spit on me last Christmas in Denver. On the plus side, I’d been praying all game for pass-rushing Beast Von Miller to injure Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden, and in the fourth quarter it happened.

Security saw the spitting and told the guy to get control. My wife (our first football game) told me I’d been spit on. I put my hand on my back into sticky goop. A dipper. Nice.

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The dip-spitting Broncos fan apologized and said it was an accident. I was angry. “It’s cool,” I said. “We’re just here to have fun.” Earlier one of his friends had given me shit for my jersey. “Number 32? Who is that, anyway?” This Broncos fan who didn’t know who Jim Brown is got straightened out by my wife in humiliating fashion.

She’s a Broncos fan, my wife, because she loves Peyton Manning because he’s funny in commercials she likes. She eagerly anticipates Von Miller’s return from a drug suspension.

. . .

I wanted Panthers quarterback Cam Newton for my fantasy team. He’s my second-favorite NFL player.* It didn’t work out and I ended up with Redskins QB Robert Griffin III.

RG3 is more fun. He’s the biggest story in the NFL this season, and you’ve got a front-row ticket if he’s on your fantasy team. As a rookie last season he was the fleet, laser-armed savior of a proud franchise that’s been mired in mediocrity for years. His jersey was the league’s top seller.

The Andrews on the left

That’s Andrews on the left

Then his knee blew out, and he kept playing. The highest-profile sports doctor in the county was on the sideline of a playoff game, hidden in a special shed with RGIII. RGIII was limping but the coach called quarterback running plays. The knee was wrecked.

Cam Newton is huge. He’s Arnold Schwarzenegger. RGIII is young Bruce Willis. He’s who I wanna run with this year. It all depends on the surgery Dr. James Andrews performed on that knee.

. . .

Questions for Thunder, my hard-core-Cowboys-fan friend:

1) Can Miles Austin catch 14 touchdowns this year?

2) Will the rookie center from Wisconsin, Travis Frederick, be able to buy Romo precious time?

The end of close NFL games can get crazy. The defensive linemen, already some of the fiercest animals out there, start spitting and twitching and get insanely intense for their rushes at the quarterback. The offensive linemen must elevate their play to hold the animals back.

This is when the Cowboys lose games. Romo hasn’t been clutch because he never has time in the clutch. Maybe Frederick will make a difference.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys-Rookie Minicamp

Thunder’s reply:

No way Austin catches 14 TDs.  Maybe 8-10.  Dez will catch 15+.

Rookie center looks good but they have shit Guards. They just signed Brian Waters 2 days ago who sat out last year but was sick for Patriots – if he can play at that level then they could be decent.

I’m already preparing for a heartbreaking loss Sunday night.

. . .

I don’t want Weeden, the Browns quarterback, to get hurt. I just want him out of the games. Cleveland looks like it might finally be fun to watch on defense. And Browns running back Trent Richardson plays like The Thing in Fantastic Four—a hero made of stone.

FF160-1

It sucks being a Browns fan. My friends and family see the pain it brings and ask why I don’t switch allegiances to another team. I don’t know. . . I just can’t.

Maybe they’ll win the Super Bowl this season.

. . .

* My baby daughter is a week old right now. I’m pretty sure I can get away with watching as much football as I like this season, since she’s so small she doesn’t have any interests I need to indulge. It’s just boob and that’s it. By the end of this one last glorious season, I vow her first word shall be uttered in funny baby voice: “Megatron.” Or “Medatwon.”

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