Don't quote me on this

I held out as long as I could. Really.

As is my way with all my beloved Cleveland sports franchises, I try to maintain a degree of optimism heading into the season. And, as is also my way, I usually find, before long, said optimism to be a complete waste of time. This year, I even convinced myself that maybe – just maybe – Pat Shurmur would figure out this coaching thing and look like he actually knew what he was doing on the sideline during a Browns game.

Now, just to be clear, I wasn't the biggest fan in the world of Eric Mangini, either. But with hindsight being what it is and all, I gotta come clean here: Pat Shurmur makes Eric Mangini look like one of the founding members of Mensa.

He punts the ball on fourth-and-1 in enemy territory; he goes for it fourth-and-1 in his own territory; he burns timeouts as if that is what's providing the heat to keep the team warm on the sidelines in December. He tears off his headset at times with such fervor that I must assume he's terrified because he "hears voices."

Anyway, I was going to compile a list of Pat's most ludicrous post-game comments since the beginning of the season, which alone by themselves are proof positive that the Pat Shurmur Super Bowl Ship will not set sail in 2013. However, I soon became overwhelmed in paperwork – realizing space limitations would not allow me to fully list his pearls of wisdom in the Observer – unless the paper decides to publish future issues in telephone book format. The last thing I wanted to do was short-change the guy – after all, he's chock full of priceless quotes – but I found myself running out of disk space on my hard drive, so I had to abort that quest.

Instead I came up with another approach (I'm sneaky like that), which was to take a couple of famous quotes I'd run across and see if I could attribute any of them to the Browns, which would be a far more positive angle, no? You know, like offering a little bit of hope for the future?

My favorite quote of all time is attributed to Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Theisman, who once said, "Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein." Seriously now, doesn't a statement like that immediately have you thinking "Browns braintrust"?

In fact, I'd hazard a guess that Norman Einstein might still be on the Browns staff, and was the deep-thinker who came up with the white flag promotion for the Steelers game. What's even scarier, to me anyway, is the fact that this little nugget of marketing genius had to go through how many levels of management to be approved, and NOT ONE person questioned the wisdom in a promotion like that?

While the above quote is a favorite, the next one is probably the most appropriate when applied to Cleveland sports. "If it weren't for Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor of television, we'd still be eating frozen radio dinners." That twisted bit of logic can be attributed to none other than Johnny Carson, and while I find it very funny, I also find it sad if translated into the context of our Cleveland sports franchises.

You see, the joke's on us, because thanks to the likes of Mike Holmgren, Chris Antonetti and Chris Grant, we're still eating the sports equivalent of frozen radio dinners.

Pass the bicarbonate of soda.

Jeff Bing

Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits.

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Volume 4, Issue 24, Posted 10:40 AM, 11.27.2012