Another Lo-Def Browns Game

September 21, 2007


49-week2-clecin2.gifAhh, HDTV.  Probably the greatest invention of the 21st century so far.  You’ve spent thousands on your HD setup.  An HDTV, paying your cable company or satellite provider ripoff prices to get the programming, buying expensive wiring to get the best picture, and now you’re ready to watch.  Everything looks amazing in HD.  TV Shows, the nightly news,  Ping Pong tournaments on ESPN,  Crickets mating, etc.  But NFL Football–probably the single sporting event that benefits most from HDTV?  NO!

Well, at least if you are trying to watch the  Browns on CBS.  Courtesy the indespensible NFL Distribution Maps it is apparent that for the second week in a row the Browns will play in the only NFL game not in HD (again, thanks to CBS).  The kicker?  The Browns-Ravens game next week will also not be in HD!  That means for 3 straight weeks watching the Browns on your giant HDTV that you paid good money for, and probably pay over $1oo to your cable company each month will not get you the nation’s most popular sport in HD. 

The irony here is that the very same day you can tune in to the Cleveland Indians at 1pm and watch them play a random sunday afternoon game (1 of 162) in HD!  That’s right, some 2 year-old tiny cable network who’s only real programming is Indians games somehow has gotten their hands on the advanced technology to make it possible to see every Indians home game in HD, but the mega-giant that is CBS can’t afford to put all of their games in HD. (I’m sure there are some animals mating in HD on Discovery Channel as well, but I didn’t have access to a TV guide prior to writing this)

This is the third year that Fox will broadcast all of their games in HD. Espn/ABC broadcast all of theirs in the preferred format as well.  But somehow CBS, one of the “Big Three” networks can’t manage to roll-out more than 5 or 6 games in HD per week.  Not only do they not put all of their games in HD, but they still haven’t figured out what it takes to make a broadcast look good either.  When you do get a Browns game in HD on CBS, you’ll notice that the images aren’t nearly as detailed as those on Fox or ESPN/ABC.  Even NBC, which barely has sports at all these days, still puts out a great looking HD picture ( you can almost see the grimmace on TD Jesus as he overlooks those putrid ND games).

What amazes me most is that the NFL, which is pretty much dominating the world theses days, allows CBS to present their product with such a low production value.  Almost every aspect of the game presentation on CBS (Broadcast quality, announcers, graphics, number of cameras, pre/post game shows, etc) pales in comparision to that of the other networks that broadcast NFL games–and it’s not even close.

The good news?  CBS does plan on presenting all of their games in “stunning” HD by next year.  CBS should really just call their HD product “motion sickness” instead.  But congrats on stepping into the 21 Century CBS–you’re only about 5 years behind.


Calling Out Big Dawg

September 17, 2007


F U Chad

(Photo Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)    

 Incredible game yesterday, and i’m sure you can find dozens of people breaking down the game elsewhere.  What I want to know is how Chad Johnson gets into the Dawg Poung–the Freaking DAWG POUND– and gets away with his gold teeth and helmet intact?  It appears that Big Dawg and his company were perfectly fine with this, they were even hugging and conversing with Ocho Stinko before the game.  I would even go as far as to call it an ’embrace’ that they gave him when he lept into the pound after scoring his second TD.

Now, the fans in the above picture clearly have the right idea, as does the guy who made the perfect beer pour on 85’s back.  In fact, that guy is now my new favorite Browns fan.  But c’mon Big Dawg, you were a big part of what made the pound a special place, and one that gained recognition around the NFL.  You even testified in front on congress as a representative of the Browns fans.  I’m pretty sure I don’t want you to represent us anymore if you’re going to welcome the opposing team into our pound. 

I suppose after a win like that my first post shouldn’t be negative, but does it bother anyone else that he was able to get away cleanly?  Anyone who sat there in the 80’s have a problem with this?

On a brighter note, football was actually fun on a Sunday in Cleveland for once, and there is reason to believe that the season is not lost–which is the best news we could have recieved after last week.

A Laughing Stock

September 11, 2007

FryedI can guarantee that is probably what 90% of people in the league think of the Browns right now after learning that we just traded away Charlie Frye after 1.5 quarters of football in 2007. Let’s get this straight: this was the guy that they put all of their faith in last year by cutting Dilfer and having no experienced back-up, then named him the starter after mini-camp, OTA’s, and a full training camp of QB competition, only to cut him after less than a half?

I’m not arguing that we should have kept him, but something is seriously wrong there. That the powers that be (Savage, Crennel) would bad this guy for 2 seasons, declare him the winner of the competition after all that evaluation time only to cut him after 1 quarter of bad football? Either they are extremely terrible at judging talent and evaluating their roster, or they are terrible decision makers. Frye can not shoulder all of the blame for this fiasco. If he was that bad, so bad that he warranted being traded so early, it should have been plainly obvious to all involved that this was the case a long time ago.

Situations like these don’t happen on other NFL teams. Other NFL teams have management in place to make sure that sound decisions are made–the Browns simply don’t. It’s quite possible that the entire brain-trust of the Cleveland Browns (Crennel, Savage, and Lerner) are all in over their heads. In business it’s called the Peter Principle–that in an organization employees tend to rise to one level above their own competence. At this point it’s appears that Romeo is a much better D Coordinator than a Head Coach, Savage is a very good scout or player personnel director, and that Mr. Lerner is good at inheriting his father’s fortunes.

No offense to any of them. I would give a ton to be an NFL scout, D coordinator, or billionaire, but they are clearly not cut for the positions that they are in. And if they can’t deliver something respectable to such a loyal fan base with such a great tradition something needs to give. It’s one thing to deliver a losing team–that is at least acceptable for a while. It’s quite another to deliver something that is totally inept, dysfunctional, and brings shame to the organization, city, and fans associated with it.

This was once a very proud franchise, and with every humiliation it gets harder to say that you are proud to be a Browns fan. For a team built on the pillars of such legends as Otto Graham, Jim Brown, Paul Brown and the like, this is a complete disgrace. Everyone can handle losing to a certain extent, but nobody–especially a fan base that has given so much to the organization–deservers to be continually embarrassed publicly in the worst possible ways. It would be hard to write a script as disheartening as what the Browns have delivered to their fans for the last 15 years.

Oh yeah, and while they continue to embarrass you they will be charging you insane amounts for tickets, make you purchase a ‘license’ to buy said tickets, rip you off on merchandise, lie to you continually, and make sure you don’t have fun while you’re at the game. This is our reward for being so loyal that the NFL decided we deserved another franchise after having the first one ripped from us? The joke is on us.

The bottom line is that it starts at the top, and if Randy Lerner can’t devote himself to running an organization then he needs to step aside. Clearly lacks the understanding of what it takes to run a football team, why the Browns are special to Cleveland, and why the Browns once had a great tradition. Unless he can surround himself with people that can do right with the fans, the city, and the tradition of the Cleveland Browns then he needs to do what Art Modell promised us he would do-sell the Browns and get out of Cleveland.