On good terms with the Browns

As most of you are probably aware, the Cleveland Browns have started training for the 2013 NFL season. Coincidentally, it has also been brought to my attention that some of you may not fully understand the language of football, at least as it applies locally to Cleveland fans. Not to worry; that's where I come in. See, there's an important distinction between football lingo communicated in the rest of the world versus "football speak" as it pertains to our fair city.

As a public service, I'll take some common football terms and, after indicating what these terms mean to normal people, I'll let you in on what they really mean around these parts.

Snap: To non-Clevelanders, this word represents the simple hiking of the ball to a teammate, typically the quarterback. On the North Coast, however, this usually is an indicator of what Browns fans are about to do after checking the scoreboard and fully digesting just how bad the team is – yet again.

Interception: In other NFL cities this occurs when a pass thrown by an offensive player – once more, typically the quarterback – is grabbed by a member of the opposition's defense. In the-city-which-once-set-its-river-on-fire, however, nowadays it describes what certain employees of Browns owner Jimmy Haslam's Pilot Flying J did to rebate "passes" intended for the hands of loyal trucking customers. (Hey! Maybe we should hire some of those people as coaches of the defensive backs. That is, as soon as they get out of jail).

Safety: In NFL circles, this is a two-point score for the defense, achieved when they tackle an offensive player in his own end zone. In these parts though, it is what the approximately dozen or so fans who haven't self-medicated throughout the Browns game hope for as they try to drive home, sprinkled among about sixty-some-odd thousand fans who are completely hammered. Seriously, they ought to line the Shoreway with bales of hay every Sunday morning the Browns have a home game.

Hash Marks: In most stadiums, they are small marks near the center of the playing field used to assist the officials in the proper placement of the ball. In Cleveland, though, it is usually in reference to what remains in Josh Gordon's bong after a full night of partying (although he'll swear up and down it's from cherry tobacco).

Down: Essentially, a down represents a chance to advance the football towards the opposition's end zone to score points. In this neck of the woods, however, it usually indicates the typical Browns fan's state of mind by halftime. Alternately, it is also used to indicate the Browns' point total in relation to the opposition's. Close your eyes and imagine Jimmy Donovan saying, "A minute and a half remaining and the Browns are down by twenty." Get the picture?

Return: In most cities, this is what a team does with the ball after receiving a kickoff or punt. I'm afraid that's not the case here, mon ami. Unfortunately, it's usually what most Browns fans do NOT want to do after witnessing a game in person.

Much the same as what most readers do NOT want to do after witnessing my column.

Jeff Bing

Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!

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Volume 5, Issue 16, Posted 9:24 AM, 08.06.2013