Probably Should Have Seen That Coming
Did Randy Lerner suggest Phil Savage drive his personal vehicle to Pittsburgh Sunday for the Browns season finale against the Steelers or did Phil just have a feeling that the bus ride home would be an uncomfortable trip?
Either way, following an embarrassing 31-0 loss to the Steelers on Sunday, Savage was unceremoniously fired from his GM gig with the Browns. There are reports that Phil left Heinz Field before the game was over and made the drive home in his own ride.
Now clean out your desk sir. And turn off the ^&%$#@* lights when you're finished.
Here's a great big kick in the ass to take with you too. It's not that Browns fans aren't appreciative of the upgrade in talent that you brought here. We're fine with Joe Thomas, Shaun Rogers and your young DBs. We're also pretty high on Brady Quinn and still hold out hope that Braylon Edwards will get his head out of his butt in time to be the player he was in 2007.
It's really more that you strike us as an unlikable megalomaniac who demanded control of the game day roster, who didn't bring enough talent in during your tenure and who brought in players that were nearly as underachieving and unlikable as you are. This is a miserable team to watch, listen to and be associated with and you own that.
As one renowned ex-NFL GM once famously almost said, "%$#@ you, go ruin Buffalo."
The Debacle that Preceded the Debacle
As was mentioned above, the Steelers paved the roads that Savage drove home by thoroughly dominating the Browns in a 31-0 laugher on Sunday.
It was a lot closer than that.
Not the final score. That wasn't actually indicative of the severity of beat down the Browns received. I'm talking about Phil Dawson's heroic FG attempt that would have gotten the Browns on the board. That thing had the distance but the wind pushed it left. Otherwise the score would have been different.
My neighborhood was hit with high winds Sunday morning and lost electricity. So I dialed up a friend and watched the game there. We vowed to drink a celebratory shot every time the Browns scored given it was the last game of the year. Well, I left his house as sober as a judge.
I should have stayed home and sat alone in the dark, maybe just watched trees blow down and yard furniture sail across the road. But I didn't. Instead I watched Bruce Gradkowski look just like a guy who was available for any team in the league to bring in during December of a football season. I watched Jamal Lewis reach the 1,000 yard mark with pride. I mean, it's a feat for a man to rush 600 times for 1.4 yards per carry so a tip of the cap to JLew. His off-season program must consist of getting into full pads and helmet and running hard through his bedroom doorway. He can see the light of the next room ahead but one of his kids slams the door shut before he can get through. Over and over again.
But at least we're back to familiar territory with this club. No one, not fans, network personnel, players, coaches or front office folks, handled the relative success of the 2007 Browns very well. No one knew what to do with a team that showed heart and character and the ability to light up a scoreboard and energize a town.
But disaster and chaos are much more familiar to all involved. Savage is gone and Romeo Crennel will be by Monday afternoon. Then the organization can do what it does best because they've done it so often. They'll ultimately hire a new GM and a new coach. Doesn't matter who those guys are because the organization will trumpet them as the Moses's who will lead the franchise to the Promised Land. There will be releases and articles touting the new guys as the next big thing.
Then the Browns will tell us all how much they appreciate our passion as well as the fact that they are deeply in tuned to the fact the Cleveland area is truly feeling the effects of the economic downturn. They'll cut us a break and tell us that there will be no ticket price increase this season. They may even keep the $7 beers at the same price (while reducing the size of the cups). After that (but before the draft) they'll ask for the 2009 season ticket money.
And it will pour in.
It will pour in.
We'll then hear about how Player X and Player Y, selected in the draft, are ready to come in and turn this team around. We'll hear about how those players drafted are committed to Cleveland and about their potential and those players will tell us about how they thrilled they are to play here, in the cradle of coaches and for this proud franchise.
And people will go to Berea in August to watch the team that will turn it all around. They'll go to CBS for the August pre-season game and toast the fact that RAC and Savage are gone with their smaller $7 beers and talk about the good times ahead.
Hey, maybe this time won't be like every other time this has happened in the last 10 years. Maybe this time they'll get it right.
Yeah, I'm sure this time they'll get it right.
This joyful interlude has nothing to do with Ben Roethlisberger getting his bell rung and being taken off the field on Sunday. Although, I'm not going to lie; there was a vicious part of me that wanted the cart that took him off the field to hit the goal post and overturn.
No, the joy between the Savage and Crennel firings was once again supplied by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Because now they're just showing off.
Now they're winning games they really have no business winning and now they are toying with teams like a cat batting around a mouse in a bathtub. Once they get bored with lesser opponents they flip the switch, get to work, kill the mice and then move on to the next game.
Such was the case on both Thursday night, when they toyed with and then dispatched a Washington team that had outhustled and outplayed them for most of the game, and again Sunday night when they let Miami stay around to make things interesting and then stuck a few daggers in their hearts before leaving Quicken Loans Arena with a couple more wins.
Much has already been written and said about the Cavs and their winning ways in this corner and in others. But all you need to look at to know what this team is all about is in the final 10 seconds of the game against Miami on Sunday night.
With the game won and the score 91-86 Delonte West was at the line for the second of his two free throws. West missed the free throw. Rather than concede the rebound and start the 15 minute post-game handshake ritual the Cavs stayed busy. Anderson Varejao missed the tip in attempt. Then he missed it again. Then he missed it again. Ben Wallace joined the party and missed a put back as well. Then Wallace missed another one. Finally, Varejao tapped the ball one more time and scored on the 6th tip of meaningless missed free throw attempt at the end of a decided regular season game.
When Varejao's final attempt went in there was a celebration on the court. Varejao and Wallace got hugs from LeBron James. That was after the chest bumps. Then they got hugs and chest bumps from nearly the entire Cavs team and coaching staff.
That's the kind of effort and joy that makes you stand up and applaud those giving it. That's the kind of team you can take pride in. That's the type of club that isn't firing their coach and GM in a 24 hour period.
Sit up and take note fans. This Cavs team is giving it up for you and for each other. They wear their cuts, bruises and floor burns proudly and as a symbol of the effort they're putting forth. That's a nice change of pace around these parts these days.
Have a safe and healthy New Year.