First the helmet came off ... followed by the wheels

I remember "Beer Night" at Cleveland Stadium. It was June of '74. Nobody was paying to watch a marginal Indians team play baseball, but the deep thinkers who ran the Tribe's promotions department figured folks just needed a little encouragement, so they came up with a 10 cent beer promotion. Unfortunately, 10 cent beer provided too much encouragement, a riot ensued, and, well, let's just say things didn't go as planned.

I remember "Bottlegate" at Browns Stadium. It was December 2001, only a couple of years after football returned to Cleveland after Uncle Artie shuffled off to Baltimore with what would become the Ravens. The Browns with a very un-Browns-like record of 6-6 were trying to make the playoffs.

Long story short: late in the game, the refs reversed a call on the field, essentially halting any chance for a Browns comeback, and the Browns fans – impatient for a playoff team (tell me that statement isn't laced with irony given what was to follow for almost more two full decades) – pelted the field and refs with plastic beer bottles. Coincidentally, plastic bottles were forever banned from all NFL stadiums when people realized that full bottles could do quite a bit of damage. "Projectiles" – I believe – was the descriptor NFL authorities used.

Now, I will have no choice but to remember "To Helmet and Back: The Defining Moment in Myles Garrett's Career." Understand that this will not be forever remembered by yours truly based solely on the idiotic actions of the Browns' defensive star against an almost as idiotic display of stupidity by the marginal back-up quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers. No, it's never quite that easy.

This will be memorable to me for several misdeeds by the Browns organization that – in my humble estimation – contributed to and led to the Thursday night lunacy. Let us look at a few:

First, the Browns have been an undisciplined group of thugs disguised as football players since they rolled up almost 200 penalty yards in week one against the Titans. It never got much better, as idiotic personal fouls have characterized this team since the start. This is a reflection of the coach, and undoubtedly is likely the final nail in Freddie Kitchens' coffin (which already had more nails than a three bedroom ranch). Freddie reminded me of an old coach of the Houston Oilers named "Bum" Phillips. Bum had that Gomer Pyle "G-o-l-l-e-e"-type personable quality, beneath which lay a highly competent coach. But unfortunately, the only quality Freddie seems to have is the "bum" part. But we can go further up the tree ...

Secondly, John Dorsey, the Browns GM who was still seen as the brainiac "Golden Boy" a couple of months ago, has seen more than a few chinks in the armor since the end of the 2018 season. Remember, Dorsey brought us Kareem Hunt, the guy who had anger issues and seemed to take them out on defenseless women. Anger issues, huh? Oh, probably just a coincidence ... never mind. Dorsey also traded OG Kevin Zeitler for Olivier Vernon. The Browns miss Zeitler terribly and Vernon isn't exactly a household name in Cleveland. Odell Beckham IS a household name here but not because of any great accomplishments in Cleveland. So, yes, of late John Dorsey has looked more like Mike Holmgren than a great GM. But wait, there's more!

Lastly – but not leastly – we have Jimmy Haslam. Anyone who has read me with any regularity (admittedly a test of mettle) over the last few years or so knows my opinion of Jimmy (and they ain't, as they say, complimentary). In the hours that followed the helmet incident I waited patiently for the Browns owner to issue a statement condemning Myles Garrett's actions, as one in power – and especially, control – of a football team should be expected to do. So I waited. Then I waited some more. Jimmy didn't say a peep until the NFL suspended Garrett and others, and THEN – and only THEN – did the owner offer his thoughts, predictable as they were. No display of strength or conviction. In other words, pretty much as expected.

So, Myles Garret deserved to be suspended, and got what he deserved. The coach deserves to be canned as he unfortunately seems to be without hope. The GM has some 'splainin' to do, but doesn't deserve to be tarred and feathered ... yet. The owner? Well, it's his rodeo, and even though the horses change, the results are never as hoped. As long as he's the cowboy, Browns fans can expect to be saddled with ineptitude.

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 11, Issue 22, Posted 9:24 AM, 11.19.2019