Saturday, October 16, 2010

Nurse the Hate: Hate the Browns This Week

There will be about 75,000 people in Pittsburgh tomorrow that will waste most of their afternoon watching the Steelers pound the Browns pricks into the dirt. At $55 a ticket, plus parking, this seems like a rather foolhardy investment. Some will be excited to see the Steelers in this big "rivalry game". This "rivalry" concept is nothing but media filling airspace prior to a game. The Browns V Steelers is as much of a rivalry as Vanderbilt v Alabama. They do play every year, it's just that the outcome is pre-destined in one direction. There has not been a meaningful game in this series since the Browns stumbled into their lone playoff appearance since their "triumphant" 1999 return, when they somehow managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory even after posting something like 8,567 yards of total offense that day. I think you have to go back to 1993 for one that meant something before that. It's just brutal.

Yet the NFL has long been an "any given Sunday" situation. Anything can happen! Well, allegedly anything can happen... It is true that totally unexplainable things do happen on Sundays like Alex Smith starting at quarterback, people attending Lions games, and Wade Phillips being employed as a head coach. Yet, I can assure you that this Sunday that the Pittsburgh Steelers will win and cover over the Hapless Cleveland Browns. Why do I know this? It's from years of decoding coach-speak, and one fortuitous moment at a Westlake Starbucks. Let me explain...

Last week when Browns QB Seneca Wallace went down with The Dreaded High Ankle Sprain, the Browns brain trust felt they had a better chance of winning by putting Jake Delomme out there despite his foot being clearly attached to his body by a shred of tendon no thicker than a piano wire. Win with rookie Colt McCoy? Eh, maybe not this week. In the press conference, you heard they always reliable "Jake gave us the best chance to win" spin. Translation: We had more confidence in a 36 year old man on one leg than with this 22 year old healthy as a horse kid we drafted from Texas. That is not a real vote of confidence, is it?

Now flash forward to Monday morning. I'm standing in line at Starbucks behind a Browns player in the defensive secondary. Now, I admittedly didn't recognize him at the time, but the way the girls behind the counter carried on, he was clearly a Brown. He was also a freakishly large guy in sweatpants. Praise be to the Browns web page so I could ID the dude... Anyway, when they asked him about the QB situation in the game this week, he said, "Well, Colt is pretty green... he's pretty green... I'm sure we'll figure out something."

If this guy on Monday morning says "we'll figure out something" instead of "Colt will do great!", you know that Colt McCoy really has to blow. It's not this Browns' player was unaware of Wallace and Delomme being taken out of the stadium strapped to a MASH helicopter the day before. He knows McCoy is the only healthy option they have on the team. He is also aware that starting Colt McCoy against arguably the best defense in football on the road might not work out too well. Even he must have been thinking, "Shit, can we sign Ryan Leaf or Todd Marinovich before Sunday?".

My understanding is the Browns almost cut McCoy during pre-season, but they figured the home fan base would lose their fucking minds if the organization consented on missing on yet another high draft pick. Hence, Brett Radliffe went quietly into the soft night. Until he was picked up off the Patriots practice squad on Monday afternoon that is... My guess is if you want to see Colt McCoy start an NFL game, this will be your only opportunity this Sunday. After that, look for your discount McCoy jerseys available on the sale rack at Dick's Sporting Goods. Pittsburgh -13

Quick Note: Has anyone in the NFL had anything other than a "high ankle sprain" since this term was invented a few years back? I can't recall hearing about a player that had just "an ankle sprain" in years. With all the hoopla attached to the "high ankle sprain", do you think I could get out of work for a few weeks if I roll this thing just right while cutting the lawn today?


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