When the 'it' hits the fan

If you're a Browns, Indians or Cavs fan, you're probably familiar with the old refrain sung by team management in defense of questionable draft picks and/or shaky talent received in trades. I'm talking about the worn-out line, "[Such-and-such] will be better once we surround him with a little more talent."

I don't know about you, but I'm tired of hearing that line in this town day after day, week after week, year after year. Jeez, if Cleveland were a country, that would be the title of our national anthem. Then again, when you consider the cast of characters on Cleveland's City Council, it would certainly fit, wouldn't it?

In the world of sports, coaches and general managers often refer to something called the "it factor". If you're not familiar with the term, it doesn't surprise me, and only serves to highlight the reason why Cleveland sports seem to be perpetually stuck in mediocrity – or worse. When it comes to sports heroes, rarely do any who represent our city ever possess "it". Why "it" is such an elusive commodity in this town escapes me.

When I speak of the "it factor", I'm referring to that special intangible that enables a person – in this case, an athlete – to respond to the challenges which lie in front of him and raise not only his level of play, but also the level of those who surround him. It's not something which can be taught; you either have "it" or you don't. But that doesn't mean you can't lose "it". Given how fragile the ego of a sports professional is, both internal and external factors can make "it" disappear virtually overnight. 

I'm talking specifically about Brandon Weeden, quarterback of the Browns. For just over a year now, we've been hearing how Brandon just needs to be surrounded by more talent to be a successful NFL quarterback. Personally, I don't buy it. Quarterbacks such as Bernie Kosar and Brian Sipe had "it", and I don't mean because they won right away, because they didn't.

However, they way they carried themselves, their demeanor on the field, and the perception that they were always in total control of the situation, led fans – as well as their teammates – to believe that they were the ones who would take the team to the next level. They made their teams better – at least competitive, immediately – and didn't require an influx of talent to make their respective teams better. You see, they were the influx of talent, not someone else.

Weeden, on the other hand, has never looked all that comfortable while directing the Browns offense. Rather than emitting a vibe of quiet confidence, he looks nervous and jittery; a quality which can't inspire confidence from his teammates. Consequently, I don't see him as the answer, as much – believe me – as I'd like to.

I, on the other hand, have apparently been blessed with "it" for many years now. I mean, you have no idea how many times someone who has read one of my columns has been kind enough to inform me that I'm "full of it".

Sometimes an abundance of talent can be a curse.

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 19, Posted 10:21 AM, 09.17.2013