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A More Deserving Protest
A More Deserving Protest
After reading and hearing so much regarding the upcoming Monday Night Walkout, Dave Kolonoch has had his fill of hearing about Dawg Pound Mike and his constant chum, French Fry Guy. And knowing that each of these two fans will be prominently featured throughout next week's ESPN telecast just further creates the kind of agony that's often better associated with yet another Browns loss. Resigned to the sad fact that the only way a Browns fan can get their voice heard in this city is by organizing a meaningless "fan walkout", Dave offers up his own counter-protest to the planned fan protest.
Perhaps I'm just acting a little petulant, but after reading and hearing so much regarding the upcoming Monday Night Walkout, I have to admit that I've become somewhat jealous of all the attention being lavished on Dawg Pound Mike and his constant chum, French Fry Guy. And knowing that each of these two fans will be prominently featured throughout next week's ESPN telecast just further creates the kind of agony that's often better associated with yet another Browns loss.
Or, in other words - since the only way a Browns fan can get their voice heard in this city is by organizing a meaningless "fan walkout", I offer the following counter-protest to the planned fan protest, which is simply this:
I am protesting the fact that the Browns are being featured on Monday Night Football.
I don't want the Browns anywhere near Monday Night Football for the foreseeable future.
Call it Early Flex Scheduling, but something needs to be done.
Now, before you cry treason, at least consider that some of my favorite Browns memories have occurred on Monday Night Football. I include the following as highlights of my Browns fandom:
1. 1985 - The Browns defense dominates the Steelers on the dirt infield.
2. 1986 - The Browns avenge their playoff loss to the Dolphins.
3. 1987 - Felix Wright leads the Browns to a win over the Rams.
4. 1988 - Mike Pagel beats the Colts.
5. 1989 - The Browns dominate the Bears.
6. 1993 - The Browns upset a still very good 49ers team.
7. 2003 - Kelly Holcomb goes all Kelly Holcomb in a Browns loss.
8. 2008 - The Browns destroy the Giants in a game for the ages.
And with the exception of Kelly Holcomb's 2003 performance (the fact that Cleveland even got a MNF game was monumental), all of the above mentioned games are benchmarks in my short history as a Browns fan. Just the mere idea that several games in the Marty Ball era were highlighted on what was then the league's biggest weekly stage gave a young Browns fan such as myself a tremendous amount of pride - and helped to validate my team in the eyes of the league.
However, in 2009 - in less than a week - the Browns will once again play on the league's Monday Night showcase - only this time the inclusion of "pride" into the equation may not surface.
Besides the fact that the Browns have stumbled to a 1-7 start, featuring a style of football that is utterly unwatchable at times - the organization is crumbling as traditionally weak-kneed owner Randy Lerner has reemerged from his season-long slumber to begin tearing up a structure that was never really built in the first place.
Gone is Mangini loyalist Erin O'Brien, but ever-present are constant rumors regarding our current coach's future with the team. Throw in the recent top-secret "firing" of GM George Kokinis - who debunked the "no man is an island" theory - and top it all off with a near decade of fan frustration and sheer agony threatening to flood Lake Erie, and you may just come to the conclusion that the Browns are indeed not ready for prime time.
And if all that wasn't enough, prominent Browns fan/blowhard Dawg Pound Mike (research has shown that this is not his Christian name) has decided that this Monday Night showcase is a perfect opportunity to highlight the staggering levels of dysfunction found in our once proud organization.
Or, at least Dawgpound Mike will exhibit this frustration, as ESPN's cameras will focus on him roughly 75 times a quarter. Get that bone nice and shiny, Mike.
And if you're still not convinced that the Browns should not be featured on Monday Night Football, how about we suspend all talk of front office and back channel intrigue and just state the following:
Our current collection of Browns are absolutely no match for the Ravens.
In terms of coaching, although Mangini is certainly hamstrung by his team's utter lack of talent, the Ravens - although merely a 4-4 team - have enjoyed the kind of rare stability that makes them a constant league contender. The results of this can be seen in the team's subtle transformation into a sometimes dynamic offense. And of course, in comparison - the Browns are still trying to figure out who should start at quarterback.
Talent-wise, these Browns have no business playing on a Monday night. With the exception of Joe Thomas and Josh Cribbs - who about 2,000 fans will stupidly not be able to see perform in the first quarter - the Browns do not offer a national viewing audience anyone worth watching. Unless of course, legions of Division III college football fans tune in to watch Jason Trusnik make his first NFL start.
But casting talent aside - much like the Browns' brain trust does every April - perhaps the biggest reason I feel that this game should be shifted back to Sunday afternoon is the presence of Mangini.
Again, although I may appear negative towards Mangini at times - I truly do understand the approach he is taking in attempting to rebuild this team. Obviously, Mangini's methods leave a lot to be desired, but in terms of having an overall vision, he's probably the most enlightened coach we have had in Berea since the team's return in 1999.
However, do you think anyone working at ESPN will spend half a second reflecting on this?
Instead, look for ESPN's announcing trio, sideline reporters and self-promoting pre-game hosts to instead continually ram speculation regarding Mangini's future with the team down the throats and ears of viewers. And if you're a betting man, if Vegas comes up with an over/under on how many times ESPN's cameras zoom in on Mangini pouting - take the over at 580.
But really, for me - it all comes down to this.
The main reason I don't want to watch the Browns on Monday Night Football is because of the following phrase:
"Because they deserve it."
As for who deserves what - the who is naturally long-suffering Browns fans and the what is simply a winner.
Over the course of the past decade, national media types who don't regularly follow the Browns - i.e., watch any of their games or talk to real fans - often rely on the cruelly demeaning and incredibly patronizing phrase that "Browns fans deserve a winner."
While technically true, I tend to view this statement as suggesting that the entire city of Cleveland, the Browns franchise and all of its collected fans are complete losers. This kind of empty, cliched garbage does nothing but paint our team in a negative light - and of course, shows the irrelevance of modern sports journalism.
Of course, I'm not suggesting that any media coverage ignore the fact that our beloved team is suffering through one of its lowest points in history. However, to only offer a meaningless attempt at sympathy does not in any way improve our situation.
Much like the completely flawed "Walk-out" protest, the message fails to strike at the root of our team's problems - which of course, begin and end with Randy Lerner's inability to create a structured organization.
But instead of getting to the root of the illness, ESPN will mainly showcase the symptoms, which include a coach who has quality big-picture ideals, but doesn't possess the skills to actually obtain such lofty goals and a talent base that alternates between overly raw and stinking rotten.
And of course, the poor, poor fans - led by an assclown known as Dawg Pound Mike - will be shown throughout.
I ask you, Browns Nation - do we really need to go through all this - as a national TV audience watches?
So, how about this for a protest? Flood the phones and email servers of ESPN. Tell them you don't want to see your Browns on Monday Night Football.
Because we deserve it.
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