Thursday, August 18, 2011
NFL ACLB PREVIEWS - #27: CLEVELAND BROWNS
PERTINENT DATA: 5-11 last year; 80 to 1 odds to win Super Bowl XLVI.
BEST CASE SCENARIO (Raven): Mike Holmgren has been in charge for a couple of years now, put the pieces in place, and the Ol' Gunslinger himself was helping Colt McCoy learn the West Coast offense in the locked out offseason (which is kinda funny in itself, the Ol' Gunslinger & Colt McCoy... sounds like a comic book from the '70s), so things should taking shape. The Browns were not the most heavily stocked refrigerator in the league when Holmgren took over GM duties, but he's done what he could, mostly through the draft, limiting the waste of money on free agents, which is never a good way to build a shitty team into a good one. The fool's gold of Brady Quinn is cleared the fuck out of town, and the Baby Belichick Eric Mangini is gone as well. It could be a decent year for the Browns, meaning things could start taking shape. They are still a few years away, if things go well, before they can start trying to legitimately compete with the Steelers and Ravens at the top of the division, but really, there's no reason the Browns should not easily leave behind their cross-state rivals this year, and let the Bengals be the Bengals by themselves, while the Browns move back to a steady 8-8 mediocre team looking to get a few final pieces together to start contending for wild cards in the future.
WORST CASE SCENARIO (Neil): The worst case scenario for the Browns is what it always is: hilarious ineptitude, a legion of depressed and angry fans, a quarterback getting run out of town like he just got caught fucking the mayor’s dog and a bunch of whiney woe as me shit about the Ravens and Steelers, but especially the Ravens. There is a good chance that all of the above ends up happening and then when it’s all over, Bernie Kosar will stagger onto the field, senseless, slurring like the broken buffoon that he is, he’ll piss himself and have to be put to sleep like a common mongrel. This might actually all happen this season. In terms of the standings, this translates into 3-13 or 4-12 which I don’t necessarily see happening but it might and that’s why it’s the worst case scenario, and because it is Cleveland, I figure that has about a 75% better chance of happening than it normally would.
PLAYER TO PULL FOR (Raven): I have run a fantastical football league the past four or five years which goes heavy on defense and special teams, because fuck offense. I am a smashmouth dude, meaning I like to smash things, especially in the mouth, because nothing makes you feel better about hitting another dude than seeing his tooth broke and mouth all bloody. It gets your inner-Bob Probert fired up, ya know? (Haha, Robert Probert... man, no wonder that dude was such a degenerate.) Because of this, I have enjoyed the services of one Joshua Cribbs for a couple years now, because he's one of the best return men in the game, everything Devin Hester is sometimes, Cribbs is all the time. Plus, he looks gangsta as fuck, with some long ass cornrows, and a shit-eating smile that says he probably has a girlfriend in every NFL city, plus six or seven across the state of Ohio, but he's smart enough to not get but his favorite one or two of them pregnant. That's a lost skill amongst many sexually-oriented athletes, getting too many different women pregnant all over the place. I understand not wanting to wear condoms ever, because they're lame, and honestly I haven't worn one in over fifteen years I don't think. (My rhythm has failed me five times, in case you were wondering, resulting in three kids, one bastard, and one abortion.) But you have to dial that down to trying to wear a condom or at least not going full bore with most women, and saving the best for like the ones you really love, which is usually only about three or four of them. Those you can get pregnant, and you won't mind so much. When you are accidentally getting random women you were just fucking pregnant, that will put a damper on your soul. But even if you get three women pregnant, intermittently, a couple times each, if you got love for them, you can make it work. And it's always nice to see how your genetics matches with various other people, but that could just be the scientist in me, always wanting to learn more about myself.
PLAYER TO HATE MOST (Neil): I don’t hate Peyton Hillis, but I do hate what he represents. He is the latest Great White Hype who people secretly uncomfortable with dark skinned warrior heroes cling to in the vain hopes that he’ll deliver them some archaic notion of white man glory. It’s embarrassing and shameful as all hell, but this is the sort of battering ram tough grit merchant who white dudes rally to whenever they get uncomfortable or scared of something like Visanthe Shiancoe’s elephant dong. I mean, there’s a reason why Peyton Hillis is on the cover of Madden this season and it’s not because he’s the best running back in the league. I mean, there couldn’t be a more obvious display of the weird and bizarre inferiority complex angry white dudes have. A Madden cover of Kunta Kinte eating a bucket of fried chicken wouldn’t be more racially charged than Peyton Hillis on the cover. (Okay, maybe it would, but still . . .) His being on the cover is a statement, a terrible and gross statement that says more than we like to about our collective comfort level when it comes to heaping adulation on black athletes. Sure, sure, some of you might be sitting there thinking that I’m overthinking this/being too sensitive/not being sensitive enough/talking out of my ass, but fuck, man, the only reason Peyton Hillis is on the cover of Madden is because he’s the first white dude in a billion years to find legitimate success as an NFL running back. Good for him. But shit, the dude didn’t even finish in the top 10 in rushing last year. Sure, he had 11 touchdowns but that was still only good for a tie for 6th best in the league. That’s a dude who should be on the cover of Madden? A running back on a 5-11 team with stats roughly akin to BenJarvus Green-Ellis? If you tried to put BenJarvus Green-Ellis on the cover of Madden, people would have you beaten on the grounds that you needed to be bled in order to release the “insane humors” from your no doubt possessed body. But everyone’s fine with Peyton Hillis being on there. Fuck, I know this is a dumb thing to get worked up about, and I’m really not. I mean, who gives a shit? But this is in the same family as that Ecksteinian Drew Stanton Grit Merchant shit that drives me absolutely nuts as a fan. I have nothing against Peyton Hillis. I hope he continues to find much success in the NFL, retires with a cheerleader wife, moves to the Florida Keys and shoots rifles at sharks and sends himself to sleep every night on a river of spiced rum. But what he represents is awful and a symptom of the shamefully latent racism which gnaws at our putrid white souls, and which manifests itself in seemingly benign but in all honestly really fucked up ways when it comes to sports. It matters almost because it doesn’t matter. People feel more comfortable letting out their own carefully hidden bigotries because they don’t think that it means anything in terms of the real world. Sports can be revelatory and this is one of the ways in which this is true. I apologize for turning this into a finger wagging, head ache inducing soliloquy but fuck it, sometimes you gotta say this shit. Fuck Peyton Hills. It’s not his fault, but I am uncomfortable with him because I know some Evangelical lunatic who belongs to a whites only country club is cheering on Peyton Hillis like mad, even if he doesn’t quite realize why and I can’t get behind that shit. I mean, I’m white, a lot of you are white, but there is white and then there is the type of pod person alien soulless white who nobody should like and/or identify with. And it’s those sorts of people who are rooting the hardest for Peyton Hillis to succeed, you know? Besides, his name is Peyton, which makes him sound like a sorority girl from Austin.
BEST NAME ON TEAM: Montario Hardesty, because it sounds like Charles Dickens was slurry-typing while drunk.
IN A PERFECT WORLD (Neil): In a perfect world, I chill the fuck out about this Peyton Hillis shit and stop behaving like such a fucking carelord. No, but really, in a perfect world, the Browns would be contracted because Cleveland sucks. It is basically Buffalo and Pittsburgh and all those other cities which are sagging and dying, filled with depressed heart attack merchants who beat their wives and sell their children for hot dog money. Now I know some of you are saying “But, but, Detroit, man.” And yeah, Detroit is maybe the king of the downtrodden and perpetually whipped cities but Detroit has soul, man. Detroit is one of the few cities in this country that is culturally unique and which means something whenever you say it. Cities like Phoenix might be bigger, but what the fuck is Phoenix? It’s just a collection of people massed together in the desert. Detroit is Detroit and all that represents. Detroit is Detroit, motherfuckers and that means something to everybody. You know I’m right. But anyway, Cleveland is a dying city. It’s most notable cultural connection is with losing. If people think anything at all when they think of Cleveland, they think that it’s a town full of sad-sack losers who once set their own river on fire with their disgusting waste and who almost single-handedly crippled one of the Great Lakes. As someone who calls the Great Lakes State home, I say fuck them. Art Modell should buy this version of the Browns and move them to Mexico City or somewhere. This is harsh and I honestly only mean, like, half of this shit. I don’t hate the Browns at all, but Cleveland is perhaps the spiritual capital of Ohio and I am bound by birth, honor and the vows I said atop one of the pillars of the Mackinac Bridge to hate Ohio and everything about it. I didn’t drink the blood of my ancestors for nothing that terrible day, you know? Fuck Ohio and fuck Drew Carey.
PROGNOSIS (Raven): Being in a division with the blood-thirsty Steelers and Ravens is not really fair, but throw into that mix a Brokeback Mountain looking motherfucker like Colt McCoy as your starting QB, and that's a recipe for getting punked out pretty easily this year. Browns will show signs of life, kind of I guess, but only go 4-12, which will make them pretty shitty in the grand scheme of the NFL, but still better than the Bengals.