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.



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.


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.


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.”

The Browns Played on TV Last Night

That’s Jim Brown. In action-figure form. I’m getting married in two weeks, and presents have been arriving from our Amazon registry. Jim Brown is the only gift we’ve gotten that I picked. It’s otherwise been sheets and kitchen accessories like a turquoise teakettle. I wanted Jim Brown, and my aunt Judy in Ohio got him for us. Look at how awesome he is.

Jim Brown is my favorite football player even though I’m too young to have ever seen him play; he retired 16 years before I was born, as an eight-time NFL rushing champion. I worship him because he’s a Brown, and because the Browns are “my team.” Judy is a favorite aunt, so this curse is partly her fault.

The Browns played in prime time Thursday night, against the Baltimore Ravens. It was the only game you could watch. Two things:

1) The Browns have been so consistently terrible that they almost never play at night on national TV.

2) The Baltimore Ravens WERE the Cleveland Browns. Here’s an ad the announcer read during the game, for an upcoming documentary: “Well, in 1995 the Cleveland Browns picked up and dramatically moved to Baltimore to become the Ravens. That move forever linked the football fortunes of these two cities. Wednesday, take an in-depth look at how it changed the course of history for two great franchises and the people who ran them. Don’t miss ‘Cleveland ’95, A Football Life,’ Wednesday at 8 eastern exclusively on NFL Network.”

You wanna know how it changed things for Cleveland? They watched the Ravens win the Super Bowl and become one of the few consistently good teams in the NFL. Meanwhile, Cleveland was given a new Browns, out of thin air, which has had six different head coaches and 18 starting quarterbacks. That’s right. We’ve covered this before.

It’s so hard not to be jealous. The best kind of football is hard-core defensive football. That’s what really cool. The Ravens have been an awesome defensive team. Future-Hall-of-Fame linebacker Ray Lewis would be an absolute God for Cleveland if the team had never left. And Ed Reed is a safety who scores touchdowns. At quarterback, Joe Flacco has won more games in his first four NFL seasons than any other quarterback, ever.

The Browns have Joe Thomas now, a badass left tackle. That was the best thing about them until they drafted Trent Richardson this year. Richardson does just what he was built for: carries the ball at a high velocity while ramming would be tacklers with his knees and huge, rock-hard arm muscles. He hurts defenders, and he has a feel for the end zone. (On his first TD, he did a high front flip over the goal line.) Richardson fights for yards, dragging defenders with him.

Down 9-0, the Browns made a long drive to the goal line late in the second quarter Thursday night. Richardson ran left at the snap, caught a pitch from his quarterback (Brandon Weeden, a fellow rookie), then won a pure foot race against the defense for the corner of the end zone. He scored untouched.

Weeden, though, threw an interception that got returned for a touchdown at the end of the third quarter. It was the difference in the game, which ended as a 23-16 Ravens win. With 15 seconds left in the fourth, Weeden almost hit a long touchdown that would have tied it. Ed Reed, though, flew through the air and tipped the ball away just as it was just about to be caught.

The Browns are 0-4, destined to take yet another quarterback with their top-three pick in next year’s draft. They are young, though, and look like they’ll get better. They have yet to be blown out this year, which is something. And they have Trent Richardson. He’s no Jim Brown, but the team Jim Brown played for is competing for Super Bowls in Baltimore.


Trent Richardson must become a Brown, so he probably won’t

I am obsessed.

The Cleveland Browns have the No. 4 pick in Thursday night’s NFL draft, and I want so very badly for them to pick Trent Richardson, the running back who just won the NCAA championship on an awesome Alabama team. I want the Browns to please, for once, pick a real star player. They always have high draft picks, and they always screw up when they go for a star at a flashy position. The year after the Colts got Peyton Manning No. 1 overall, the Browns got Tim Couch No. 1 overall. The next year, they got Courtney Brown No. 1 overall. Tim Couch and Courtney Brown were not successful. They were not even good. At all.

The Browns tricked everyone when they drafted Gerard Warren instead of LaDanian Tomlinson in 2001. Morons.

Richardson is a dad, I just learned from ESPN. This does not give me pause over his devotion to football, because when he’s playing he can stop and start quite suddenly, mid-run, which drives defenses crazy and makes him a nightmare to tackle. He had 1,679 yards last season, averaging 5.9 yards per carry, and he scored 21 touchdowns. Those are the numbers of a future NFL star. Also good numbers: He can squat 650 pounds and bench press 475 pounds.

The Browns picked a wide receiver once at No. 3 overall in the draft in 2005, an athletic freak named Braylon Edwards. He had one really great season. Then he started dropping touchdowns that hit him in the hands. Then he reportedly punched LeBron James’s friend in the face outside a nightclub. Then he was traded to the Jets. He is not missed, especially considering he got a DUI shortly after that trade.

There was running back William Green, drafted by the Browns in the first round in 2002 and then famously pulled over for driving drunk on one flat tire wearing a sock on only one foot. Reportedly.

Oh, and how about Kellen Winslow Jr., a tightly wound, super-talented tight end drafted No. 6 overall in 2004? He broke his leg two games into his rookie season and needed two surgeries. As he was getting ready for the 2005 season, he wrecked a motorcycle (he was contractually not supposed to be riding) on a curb in a parking lot and blew out his knee, forcing him to miss that entire year. Like many other players on the team, he later got a staph infection in the Browns locker room. He plays for the Buccaneers now.

Being a Browns fan sucks. It SUCKS! Almost every season we stink. We’re boring. There’s so little to get pumped up about, and the team’s been so terribly operated and coached that I have sworn, multiple times, to renounce my allegiance to the team and become a bastard-born-again NFL fan, cheering for players rather any specific team. But then the season starts and I get invested all over again in the stupid Browns.

(These aren’t even the Browns that Jim Brown – the greatest football player ever – ran 5.2 yards per carry for. Those Browns are in Baltimore now. They’re called the Ravens and they won a Super Bowl after moving out of Cleveland and changing their name. This new, expansion version of the Browns has only been around since 1999.)

I have talked myself into Trent Richardson. Completely. To the point of obsession. As a Brown, he shall add desperately needed dynamism to a horrible offense. Cleveland’s defense is actually getting pretty good. We just need a slick player on offense, someone who gets yards and scores touchdowns. That’s right – all the Cleveland Browns require is a player who can get yards and score touchdowns.

There are other Browns fans out there, I know it, who feel the same way. They too are becoming obsessed with Richardson. The draft is Thursday night. Every sportswriter venturing a prediction says the Browns will get him. Browns Nation is getting its hopes up, yet we’re also all wondering what’s going to happen between now and tomorrow to steer Richardson onto some other team.

He would be so perfect for the Browns, and that’s probably why they won’t get him. I’m already angry. Curse you, football gods. Why do you hate Cleveland?

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